Landenberg, PA – State Senator Carolyn Comitta today joined Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and state and local officials for the celebration at Big Elk Creek State Park in Chester County, one of three new state parks just added to the Pennsylvania system.
“We are thrilled to have one of our new state parks right here in Chester County. Increased opportunities for outdoor recreation, like the new Big Elk Creek State Park, contribute to public health and wellness, environmental conservation, local economic activity, and the overall quality of life in our communities,” state Senator Carolyn Comitta said. “I thank Governor Wolf, Secretary Dunn, and all those who joined us in working to make it a reality.”
Big Elk Creek is 1,712-acres and was acquired with the assistance of the Mt. Cuba Center and Chester County. It features 3.5 miles of the Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. Big Elk Creek was an important transportation and natural resource corridor for indigenous people for thousands of years and an important area for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad to the North.
“We are proud to welcome Big Elk Creek into our wonderful network of state parks,” said Dunn. “The addition of this park in one of the fastest growing areas in Pennsylvania will provide healthy, safe access to the outdoors for generations to come. We are grateful to Governor Tom Wolf and the state legislature for prioritizing the health and wellness of Pennsylvanians in this region.”
“Chester County is beyond pleased that the commonwealth has chosen Big Elk Creek as one of its next state parks,” said Chester County Commissioners Chair Marian Moskowitz. “We know the investment will further highlight the land’s natural attributes and habitats and become a place that our residents and visitors will love. When it comes to parks, trails and open spaces, Chester County ‘gets it.’ Our businesses and employers value them, our families love them, and we have proven that our 30-year investment is paying us back in dividends, environmentally and economically. We thank DCNR for ensuring this beautiful area gets the resources needed to make it a state park that everyone can enjoy.”
Big Elk Creek joins Susquehanna Riverlands in York County, Vosburg Neck in Wyoming County as the three new additions to Pennsylvania’s state park system, bringing the total number of state parks to 124. The names are temporary, as final names for the state parks will be decided during the planning process.
Including the addition of Washington Crossing to the state park system in 2016, Governor Wolf has added four parks to the system during his eight years in office. This is more than any governor has added in the past 40 years.
In keeping with the state park selection process, each of the new locations has criteria that warrants conservation. The Vosburg Neck site will be Wyoming County’s first state park, while the Big Elk Creek location is under significant pressure from residential and commercial development. In York County, the Susquehanna Riverlands site adjoins and builds on large tracts of already preserved open space. Also, each site is within a half-hour of heavily populated areas where land for recreation use is often at a premium.
People can access Big Elk Creek and the other new state parks; however, all have limited visitor amenities such as parking and trails. A master planning process for each park will include evaluation of natural resources, visitor amenities, and recreation opportunities, and the chance for the public to provide input.
Find more information about Pennsylvania state parks on the DCNR website.