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Volleyball Anyone?

In an effort to give back to Trough Creek State Park, members of the Friends of Trough Creek and Warrior's Path State Park undertook its first major project. The group just Wednesday evening completed the rehabilitation of a 30-foot 60-foot volleyball court once located near Pavilion Number 1 at the historic park. The ground under an original volleyball court was left to grow back to sod after many years of disuse. The idea for the restoration of the volleyball court was that of member Pam Rhodes who felt the group needed to do something to give back to many park campers who, throughout the late summer months, have been purchasing bundled wood the group has been providing to raise funds to support the park with projects such as the volleyball court restoration. The wheels on the project began to turn after the group's August 13 meeting. Contacts were made with the U.S. Silica plant at Mapleton to obtain sand for the proposed volleyball court project. The company ultimately and graciously donated 46-tons of sand to the friends group. Permission to complete the project was obtained by park manager Joe Basil who thought it was a great idea. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Basil said earlier in the summer the park witnessed at least 10,000 people in the park over the Memorial Day weekend. Basil had park employees excavate the former volleyball court area in preparation of the sand that was dumped in two subsequent loads. Private contractor Brian Anderson of Three Springs hauled the two loads of sand for the group. Members of the group spent this past Sunday and Wednesday evening raking and leveling the sand within the volleyball court area. Volleyball net will be installed at the court as soon as it comes in. Rhodes said she thought that it would be nice to complete a project that would not only thank park camping patrons for supporting the group through its wood sales but to show them the funds they were donating were used to benefit the park. The group is anticipating not only rehabilitating another volleyball court near the camping area at Trough Creek, but restoring one at Warrior's Path State Park in Liberty Township just outside of Saxton on 2021. The group has also discussed rehabilitating some horseshoe pitches at both parks. These efforts are aimed at trying to give park patrons something to do beside hiking and biking the many trails in both parks. "I feel we needed to more than just go to the parks and clean up. We needed to complete a project to would give patrons something else to do and volleyball at the park was once a popular attraction," Rhodes said. Rhodes thanked fellow friends members for supporting her idea and helping to make the project a reality, park official's, Mapleton resident Mike Corbin for his assistance with the project, Brian Anderson and most of all the U.S. Silica plant for its gracious donation.


Historic Pavilion Gets New Roof

Officials at Huntingdon County’s scenic Trough Creek State Park recently completed renovations on a pavilion that dates back to the park’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp.

Park manager Joe Basil told The Daily News that park maintenance employees removed rotted plywood from the roof of the pavilion constricted by the CCC in the 1930s. The pavilion is located on a hill about halfway through the picturesque park.

Basil said a drip edge and ice guard was added to a new roof placed on the aged pavilion to better protect the plywood from the weather. Around a CCC cobblestone chimney, employees added flashing and roofing tar along the roof edge and chimney to prevent water from dripping down the outside of the chimney.

Basil said these measures will keep the rain out of the pavilion and protect the fireplace from damage under the roof.

The park was one of several CCC Camps in Huntingdon County and was known as Camp S-57. The CCC system was created in the 1930s by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to put young men in this country affected by the Great Depression to work.

The pavilion is one of the projects completed by CCC employees in the scenic park. Another was a beautiful dam that was constructed of natural stone at the end of the Great Trough Creek that was razed by the state Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) in September 2013.

Many of the trails and infrastructure of the park was created by CCC employees. The CCC program ended nationwide at the end of the 1930s when World War II was looming on the horizon and many of these same young men who learned many skills in the program would go off and fight for their country during World War II.

The Trough Creek Story

 In 1998, author Jon Baughman in his book "Men of Iron," chronicled the history of the Iron industry in South Central Pennsylvania between the years 1785-1950. Included in the book is a chapter  on the early history of Paradise Furnace or what is known today as Trough Creek State Park.

 What many may not know about the area surrounding the scenic park is that the property experienced many changes since it was first developed as part of one of Huntingdon County's early Iron producing facilities. Many years after the closing of the iron producing industry there, the property was farmed and later became the site of a government operated Civilian Conservation Corps site.

 In an effort to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Broad Top Bulletin in 2008, published articles on the history  of the program and will chronicle one of the camps known as "S-57" or Paradise Furnace Camp located where the scenic Trough Creek State Park is located today. 

 In the midst of what history has termed as the "Great Depression," in the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, newly-elected President of the United States, had a monumental task before him. In an effort to get the country "back on its feet," Roosevelt, after being first elected in 1933, implemented several programs that would impact the future of the beleaguered nation.

 2008 marked the 75th Anniversary of a program first called the Emergency  Conservation Work, later renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Unmarried unemployed men between the ages of 18-25 were the first enrollees and later the age limit was changed to 17-23.

 Enrollment was for six months and could be extended up to a total of two years. Many of those signing up for the program were hungry and poorly clothed  and they were soon issued uniforms and given three meals a day. 

 The men earned about $30 per month, most of which was sent home to their families. Administered by the U.S. Army, the regimental life of camp was new to most enrollees. 

 A typical day began at 6 a.m. with breakfast at that time followed by sick call and policing of the camp. At 7: 15 a.m. trucks were loaded with men and tools for the day and "local experienced men" usually served as foremen.

 Lunch was usually half an hour and at 4 p.m. trucks headed back to camp for the flag lowering ceremony, inspection and announcements and after dinner, the men had free time until lights out at 10 p.m.

 The U.S. Army ran the camps, but foresters, carpenters and others directed the work. CCC enrollees fought forest fires, planted trees, built roads, buildings, picnic areas, campgrounds and created many state parks.

 When not working, the men socialized and had the opportunity to learn many crafts and skills they would use later in life.

 Each camp had about 200 men including an Army officer and junior officers, camp physician, educational advisor and project supervisor.  The average camp had about 24 buildings including kitchen, mess hall, barracks and quarters for the officers.

 Many camps began as "tent cities" including the one at Paradise Furnace until permanent camp buildings could be constructed. 

 Pennsylvania had the second highest number of camps (113) to California and received so many camps because it already had a plan in place for the camps, thanks to the forward thinking of Governor Gifford Pinchot. Born in 1865, Pinchot became one of the founders of the conservation movement  in the U.S. 

 After graduating from Yale University,  he went to France and became the first American trained in Forestry. 

 A good friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, Pinchot was named Chief Forester of the U.S. Division of Forestry  and served from 1898 to 1910. He became governor of Pennsylvania in 1922.

 Pinchot sought a second term as governor in 1930 and labored for employment improvements during the Great Depression. He set up work camps throughout the state that became models for the CCC program established by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 In 1935, Roosevelt created the Works Programs Administration (WPA) which was similar to the CCC but used local people who lived at home. Many roads, buildings and bridges were built in Pennsylvania State Parks.

 It is known that the CCC camp at Paradise Furnace first opened on June 16, 1933 and closed sometime in 1941. The exact month and day cannot be ascertained. 

 According to a fact sheet about the camp at Paradise Furnace, the closest post office was listed as being at Aitch with express mail, telephone and railroad facilities at Marklesburg and the closest telegraph service at Huntingdon. In 1933, the Huntingdon & Broad Top Railroad (H&BT) would still have been operating and enrollees  going to the camp might have disembarked at the railroad's  Entriken or Hummel stations.

 F.H. Dutlinger was listed as a district forester at the camp while J.H. Kensinger was listed as a superintendent there. The times and years both spent at the camp are unknown. 

 A total of 194,500 Pennsylvania citizens served in the CCC nationwide.The value of the work completed by the CCC nationwide is estimated at $8 billion.

 The outbreak of World War II caused the ending of the CCC on June 30, 1942. 

History Removed...

 Last week Huntingdon County lost another part of her history with the destruction of two buildings in Trough Creek State Park that were built nearly a century ago when the park was a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp.

 Park employees and those from Shawnee State Park in Bedford County began Tuesday tearing down two former CCC-era buildings located in front of an old iron forge that still remains in the park when it was known as "Paradise Furnace." A third smaller building, once used for many years as the park office, was razed earlier this year.

 Trough Creek/Warriors Path/Canoe Creek Park manager Joe Basil said park officials actually decided to demolish these buildings back in 2018 but had to wait until Rothrock Forestry officials finished their new pole building project so park officials could move their tools and equipment out of their own shop and into the Forestry's old maintenance headquarters.

 "We were using the old office building as storage for documents and some paper products for cleaning. The other two buildings were used for our maintenance headquarters and maintenance storage for materials, equipment and tools," continued Basil.

 Once the buildings are demolished, Basil said park maintenance employees will be replanting the area with grass and making Paradise Furnace ruins the focal point of the area through different interpretation methods yet to be determined. Across the road, from the maintenance buildings, Basil said they are creating a meadow habitat/pollinators field. 

 Earlier this year, park maintenance employees removed about 28 old Pine trees from this area and will soon be planting a native wildflower seed mix.

 The buildings were part of a larger complex of buildings built in the early 1930s when what would later become Trough Creek State Park was known as Camp S-57. The CCC program was created in 1933 after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President of the United States which put many unemployed males aged 17 to 23 to work.

 The young men blazed trails through the woods of the Rothrock Forest District that are still enjoyed today by many generations of both area residents and thousands of visitors alike. The park is famous for its many natural sites including Rainbow Falls, the ice mine, Copperas Rocks and of course the celebrated Balance Rock.

First Day Hike

 Fifty individuals and seven dogs participated in the Friends of Trough Creek and Warriors Path State Park 's First Day third annual hike held Sunday, Jan. 1. The event was held for the first time at Warrior's Path State Park. 

 Participants met at the park's number one pavilion where they had two separate hike options, one being a longer hike, the other, a shorter one. Registration began at 1 p.m. and both hikes commenced with the hikes beginning between 1:30 p.m. Participants were welcomed by Friends secretary-treasurer Diane Mansberger and park manager Joe Basil. Basil told children that participated in the event about a scavenger hunt that was geared toward them. Adults that joined the Friends group during the event were eligible to enter a drawing to win a backpack, towel, and blanket donated by Public Lands. Public Lands is a retailer that believes in celebrating and protecting our public lands for everyone through the Public Lands Fund. Ashley Shope of Huntingdon won the merchandise. After the hike, participants enjoyed cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, hot dogs, and s’mores provided by the Friends group. Prizes were handed out to children winning the scavenger hunt. Following the event, Basil thought the event went very well and was pleased with the turnout. Likewise, group chairman Adam Watson said the weather was perfect for the event, the turnout was more than expected, and despite a little mud, hike participants seemed to enjoy their time in the park. For anyone interested in joining the Friends group, membership is $10 for individuals and $15 for families. For more information, please check the group's Facebook page.

Trough Creek Playground Taking Shape!

  Exactly one year after it was announced that a long-awaited playground project would get underway at Trough Creek State Park, the base pad and equipment was installed on Saturday. After a three-year aggressive wood-selling fundraising project, members of Trough Creek and Warriors Path State Park announced that the pad and necessary playground equipment has been installed. Work was completed on the project during the past week. The group hired Tanner Manspeaker of T&C Excavating and Trucking, Inc. of Saxton to come in last week and perform the initial excavation project work. The playground is being created at the campground inside the scenic park. Group member Steve Rhodes was appointed chairman of a committee to head the project after the group was given permission from state Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) to set the project in motion.  Rhodes worked on the group's behalf with park manager Joe Basil in obtaining the necessary permits to allow the project to take place. "After three years of fundraising through wood sales, I'm very happy to finally have the project underway. I believe the entire group feels the same." Completed today (Saturday) was the forming and placement of the foundation components. The next step would be the pouring of concrete to complete the foundations and finish other site work. "Closer to the opening of the campground for the 2023 season, we will then place the equipment and spread mulch," Rhodes stated. Rhodes went on to say he was beginning to get frustrated with all of the delays the group had to endure. However, he’s excited to know the campground patrons will get to enjoy the playground this summer. A dozen members of the group braved cold temperatures to get the equipment foundation work started. This was required in order for Manspeaker to be able to come in this week and do additional work on his part. "I was very pleased that we were able to secure Tanner's services to come in and help us with this extremely important project. While we have sponsored many other projects including our first First Day Hike recently at Warriors Path State Park, this project has been a long time coming." "This project is something we set our sights on almost from the beginning and members worked very hard to achieve this goal. It took a lot of planning and discussion to get to the point," stated co-chairman Adam Watson. The group was formed in August 2019 to support projects in both namesake parks and has held several events since that time including first-day fishing fundraisers, participation in the CHIP committee's annual Street Scene event and of course it's largest fundraiser, the sale of wood that financed the playground project. 

Finishing touches go on Trough Creek Playground!

Since it's formation nearly four years ago, members of the Friends of Trough Creek and Warriors Path State Parks have been dreaming of having a playground in the campground at Trough Creek State Park. On Wednesday, March 29, several members of the group made its dream a reality by putting the finishing touches on the playground that is located at the campground inside the scenic park. After a three-year aggressive wood-selling fundraising campaign, the playground equipment was purchased in the spring of 2022 and stored at the park until the necessary permits to install it could be obtained. Once the permit was received, the group received permission to install its framework. In the interim, group member Steve Rhodes was appointed to serve as playground committee chairman. Rhodes worked on the group's behalf with park manager Joe Basil to facilitate the project. However before the equipment could be assembled, there was a lot of things that needed done including the hiring of a contractor to prepare the proposed site in the campground. This task was laid upon Tanner Manspeaker of T&C Excavating and Trucking Inc. of Saxton who did an excellent job working with the park group with site preparation. Along with landscaping the playground site, Manspeaker installed a required walkway between the playground and a restroom facility located nearby. The playground equipment was assembled on a cold day in January followed by the pouring of concrete to permanently install it in the ground. In mid-March members assembled to rake seed and place straw over the playground area as well as to install landscape fabric as a moisture barrier to keep the playground area dry. One of the last steps was deliverery of a load of playground mulch that was placed and spread by group members on Wednesday. The state Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) provided the mulch for the playground project. "I'm glad we were able to pull together as a group to raise the necessary funds to not only purchase the playground equipment, but also pay to have the landscaping done. The group is hopeful the playground will be maintained by park management so it can provide many years of enjoyment for young park patrons," stated Rhodes. "This was a tremendous project that our group members put their hearts and souls into. It was one that obviously did not happen overnight and took a lot of work that many will never see," Rhodes said. "I commend Steve Rhodes for personally taking a lot of his free time to make this project happen. His management skills and knowing what needed done was a tremendous asset to this project," stated group co-chairman Adam Watson.  Watson said the group as a whole suffered many adversities with this project but endured. The work ethic behind this project was second to none, something the public will never see. Basil also commented on the project. "Trough Creek and the Friends of Trough Creek/Warriors Path State Parks have worked very hard for park visitors. This has been a project that has been a long time coming and I'm glad to see it finally through to fruition." "I know the campers are going to be grateful to have safe play equipment  located in the campground for the children's entertainment. This is a great improvement and shows the commitment to our visitors and improving their outdoor recreation experience at Trough Creek State Park." "I am really appreciative of the partnerships hard work of the Friends group to help make this project into a reality," concluded Basil. Since it formation four years ago, the group has taken on many projects including the creation of a soft boat/kiak launch at Warriors Path, the creation and installation of volleyball courts at each park, rehabilitation of park grills at Trough Creek and many others. It also sponsors several other events such as First Day hikes at both parks to promote hiking and good health and  activities on the first day of trout season. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the playground will be held and will be announced at a later time.

Friends hold playground ribbon-cutting!

 Members of the Friends of Trough Creek and Warriors Path State Parks and special guests assembled Saturday at the campground at Trough Creek State Park to cut the ribbon for a new playground created and installed by the group.

 Group chairman Adam Watson welcomed group members and others that turned out for the ribbon-cutting event. Those present included 81st District State Representative Rich Irvin, Kelly Fedeli, legislative aide to 30th District State Senator Judy Ward, Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation (PPFF) representative Pam Metzger and park manager Joe Basil.

 Watson said those present were there to help the group dedicate the playground that has been a dream of the group since its inception four years ago in 2019. He said it was a long struggle seeing the project to completion and while the group is only small in numbers, it has accomplished many great things and the playground is its greatest achievement. Watson said the project came about after a three-year aggressive wood selling fundraising project. Much of that success Watson said can be attributed to the Steve Rhodes family who took on the project and continues to lead it today making it a continued success. After raising the funds needed through the sale of wood to camping patrons in the park, the group set out to make its dream come true. The group was required to get a permit from the state Department of Labor & Industry to erect the playground in the park. Steve Rhodes was appointed as playground committee chairman to not only research where to purchase playground equipment, but to also work with Basil in following through with the necessary compliance rules they were required to follow. The group then sought out an excavation contractor to begin the grading process and hired Tanner Manspeaker of T&C Excavating of Saxton that came in and done an excellent job performing the necessary excavation work to get the process started. Since the group wished to have the playground installed for the 2023 camping season at the end of March, it was necessary to do a lot of the work during the early to mid-winter season. Watson noted there were days that members spent time in the park over the winter nearly freezing some body parts. Manspeaker later came in and had concrete poured to set the bases for the equipment that was later assembled by group members when the weather got warmer. A generous amount of mulch delivered to the site thanks to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was spread out under the equipment competing the project in time for the opening day of the camping season. Watson said there are many people to thank for the project including the Rhodes family, Basil and DCNR, Steve and Brandon Rhodes for building two wooden park benches in the playground and committee member Dan White for building a beautiful lending library box just recently placed on the playground site. "None of us have done this alone, it has taken a team effort by all and a team effort has been given. I thank all of our working members for their tireless effort in making this project a success,"Watson said. Irvin said it was a great opportunity for him to be there. Recreation, he said, is something Huntingdon County embraces and that residents are very thankful for having jewels like Raystown Lake and Trough Creek State Park. "I think it is very important  that we, as elected officials understand that and further enhance it. And through the Friends of Trough Creek and Warriors Path State Park, you have really made it great for its campers to come here and enjoy themselves," Irvin said. He said it was a pleasure to share in the joy of dedicating the playground that will bring many pleasures in  years ahead. Metzger said that PPFF is the 501c3 umbrella that the Friends group works under. She said they were formed in September  2019 shortly before the world shut down for Covid. Despite this, she said the group worked incredibly hard. She congratulated the group for its worthwhile project and for its hard work and dedication. Basil said the playground is a great addition to the campground. He said that he and Steve Rhodes coordinated with one another on the project and that there was a lot of pieces that needed to fall into place to make things work, but it came together. "It was a long process, but we got it done. This is something this park needed, a little infusion of something to do for the youth in the park while camping here," he said. Basil said this is just the beginning and that there will be more additions and things to do. He said he looks forward to working with the Friends group in the future.

Trough Creek Dam Removal Story

 Prior to the creation of recreational facilities on what would later be known as "Raystown Lake," there were recreational facilities at the scenic Trough Creek State Park or "Paradise" as it was more commonly known. Ten years ago in September 2013 a large stone, masonry dam that stood at the mouth of the Great Trough Creek stream at Trough Creek State Park was razed. The dam was removed by officials from River Logic Solutions of Wellsville. It was explained that the dam was being removed to return the Creek to a free-flowing state, to improve fisheries and to improve the stream to provide additional recreational opportunities. Some dredging work also took place  in the stream above the dam to remove a silt bar that existed there. Prior to the dam being removed, a pre-construction meeting was held with River Logic Solutions officials to review plans for the proposed project.  The project began immediately  following the meeting and by late afternoon of that day, the dam was gone. A public meeting had been held at Trough Creek in mid-May of that year to discuss the project and little to no interest was shown by the public at the meeting. While it was stated at the time the project would not get underway until October, that date was given to give the project some lead time since funding for such projects tend to realize some delays until they are allocated. However, park officials announced that funding came in and they were ready to proceed with the project. They were anxious to get the project completed when water levels were low. It was also stated that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) also re eived a restoration waiver from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This was the last document needed for the project to proceed. Located on the Great Trough Creek stream, the masonry dam was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and originally formed a swimming area last open to the public in 1972. The area was once widely known as "Paradise Furnace." A beach located near the dam was closed following Hurricane Agnes that struck the region during the summer of 1972. The storm heavily damaged facilities at the park and deposited a large amount of sediment  behind the dam. Following the Hurricane, there was some ongoing concern about the water quality of the stream. The beach and swimming area were permanently closed on year later in 1973.

 Great amounts of sedimentation existed behind the dam when it was removed. It was believed this condition was structurally dangerous to the dam. Prior to the Trough Creek dam being removed, park officials indicated that other state parks undertook a number of dam removal projects on dams that no longer served the purpose for which they were intended. The dam at Trough Creek from its inception was for recreational purposes  and hadn't served that purpose for many years and was prone to flooding with the dam area being flooded many times in past years. One of the first things everyone involved including park officials and other agencies looking at the project had talked about was the desire to save a portion of the dam structure itself for people to look at. Since it was an obvious beautiful  piece of handiwork, a portion of the day's weir and the actual dam structure itself will remain in place. 

 The wing walls and abutments on both sides were to remain.didn't. A stone ramp leading to the water's edge will also remain. Park officials envisioned the stone ramp being used for the unloading and loading of kayaks and canoes.