In 2012, the County conducted a thorough review of the 2010 Master Plan and determined that a new strategy was needed to accomplish and fund major phases using grants already received and future Act 13 funding.* The strategy is to reprioritize critical work based on existing conditions, safety and liability issues, visitor amenities and resource protection. The goal is to maximize implementation of primary projects park-wide and conduct a cost-savings analysis of individual projects.
Master Plan Goals
The Berks County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to the stewardship and enhancement of Antietam Lake Park. Goals include developing Antietam as a County Park to preserve natural and scenic ecological resources, while promoting sustainable public use and passive recreation and environmental education.
Phase 1 includes the restoration of the Antietam Lake Dam in 2010-2011 and the restoration of the Valve House, to be completed in Fall 2012.
Phase 2 focuses on the Angora Road Trailhead. Design development is underway in 2012 with construction slated for 2013.
Phase 3 is one of the most complex implementation steps with design scheduled for 2013 and construction spanning 2014-2015. Projects include safe pedestrian access from the Angora Road Trailhead to the Mother Tree as well as upgrades to the Mother Tree area, including accessible fishing landings. The Upper Mudcatcher Parking Lot will be completed and linked to the northern trails via a Pedestrian Bridge across Bingaman Creek. The Seidel Road Trailhead project will include restoration of the Stone Walled Creek, removal of the Hinnershitz Dam and parking and trail amenities.
As recommended in the Master Plan, Phase 4a is the removal of the Caretaker's House due to advanced deterioration and safety and liability issues in 2013-2014. The massive stone retaining walls will become the footprint for a scenic overlook in Phase 4.
Phase 4 features the restoration of the Bingaman Nature Center as a focal point for visitors, education programs and community groups. It will also include completing the North Creek Valley Trail and the development of a scenic overlook platform above Antietam Lake. Design for this phase will begin in 2013, with construction scheduled for 2015-2016.
Phase 5 advances construction of the Viewing Platform above the Seven Step Dam with design in 2014 and construction in 2015-2016.
Phase 6 adds pedestrian boardwalks along major trails and in wetland areas to protect sensitive ecosystems. The design portion of this phase is scheduled for 2015, with construction in 2016-2017.
This phase includes demonstration areas to remove invasives and plant native species as part of a forestry management plan throughout the park that is expected to be ongoing beginning in 2014 through 2017.
*Act 13 is a state law signed in February 2012 imposing an unconventional gas well fee, also called a drilling impact fee, from the production of natural gas from a geological shale formation such as Marcellus Shale. The law outlines a percentage of the fees that will be directed for local and state purposes; Berks County will receive some funding for parks projects.