Lackawanna State Park - Pennsylvania

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Description

The 1,445-acre Lackawanna State Park is in northeastern Pennsylvania, ten miles north of Scranton. The centerpiece of the park, the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake, is surrounded by picnic areas and multi-use trails winding through forest. Boating, camping, fishing, biking and swimming are popular recreation activities.

Recreation

Picnicking:

Much of the main picnic area overlooks the lake. Grills and modern restrooms are throughout the area. Additional, smaller picnic areas can be found at the Bullhead Bay Boat Launch and States Creek Mooring Area on the northern and southern ends of the lake.

Two picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. If not reserved, the pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Swimming:

The 160-foot diameter pool is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless posted otherwise. A bathhouse and snack bar are adjacent to the pool.

Boating: electric motors only

The 198-acre Lake Lackawanna is popular for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. There are three boat launches around the lake. A limited number of boat mooring spaces are available on a seasonal basis. A boat concession near the swimming pool area rents various types of boats.

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Fishing:

The 198-acre Lackawanna Lake has cold-water and warm-water fish. Common fish are trout, muskellunge, walleye, channel catfish, bullhead, pickerel and largemouth bass. The 2.5-mile long lake has more than 7.5 miles of shoreline. The fishing pier by the main boat launch is ADA accessible. The 3-acre Trostle Pond, in the northern end of the park, is open to youth fishing only (ages 12 and under) and hosts a variety of warm-water species.

Hiking: 18 miles of trails

A series of looping trails limited to foot traffic wander through the campground and day use areas of the park. Additional multi-use trails explore forests, fields, lakeshore areas and woodland streams.

Mountain Biking: 15 miles of trails

About 15 miles of multi-use trails wind through the park, traversing hills, lakeshore, forests and fields. Trailheads are at the States Creek Mooring Area and on Rowlands, Wallsville and Austin roads. Most trails near the campground are foot traffic only, except North Woods Trail, which is open to biking and horseback riding.

Horseback Riding:

The multi-use trails can be used by horseback riders. Abington Trail is recommended. Trailer parking is available in the northeastern section of the park along Wallsville Road (PA 438).

Stay the Night

Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups

The campground is within walking distance of the lake and swimming pool. The campground offers campsites for tents and trailers: 61 sites with 40-50 amp. electric hookups, modern, centrally located washhouses providing hot showers and restrooms, and a sanitary dump station. The campground opens the second Friday in April and closes the third Sunday in October. The maximum camping period is 14 consecutive days in the summer season and 21 consecutive days in the off-season. All campground restrooms and washhouses are ADA accessible. Fox Run and Maple Lane loops allow pets at designated sites.

Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions

The two campground host sites have 50-amp electric service. Hosts are required to assist park personnel for 40 hours per week with a minimum stay of two weeks. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

Camping Cottages:

Three camping cottages are in the Carpentertown Loop. Camping cottages feature wooden walls and floors, windows, porch, and electric lights and outlets. Each cottage sleeps five people in a single bunk and a single/ double bunk.

Yurts:

Two yurts are in the Carpentertown Loop. Yurts are round, Mongolian-style tents on a wooden deck. They feature a cooking stove, refrigerator, countertop, table chairs, electric heat and outlets, and sleep four or five people in bunk beds.

Organized Group Tenting:

Three areas with a combined capacity of 160 people are open April through October to adult and youth groups. This area has a modern washhouse along with picnic tables, fire rings and water. Advance reservations are required.

Winter Activities

Ice under the bridge is UNSAFE all winter!

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.

Cross-country Skiing:

All trails can be cross-country skied, although Lakeview and most trails in the campground and picnicking areas are recommended.

Sledding:

The gentle slopes by Pavilion 1 are recommended for sledding.

Ice Fishing:

Most of the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake is open for ice fishing, except for the ice skating area, under the PA 407 bridge and near the dam/spillway. Common fish are trout, muskellunge, walleye, pickerel, perch and largemouth bass.

Ice Skating:

The maintained ice skating area is in the cove just south of the fishing pier. The ice is cleared and depth is measured. Contact the park office for ice conditions.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

Programming is available year-round at Lackawanna State Park. The environmental education specialist provides services to schools, communities and park visitors. Educational programs include Watershed Education, teacher in-service credit workshops, community programs, curriculum consultation and resource services. Summertime programming includes DiscoverE and weekend interpretive programs.

History

Lackawanna State Park is named for the county through which the Lackawanna River flows. The word Lackawanna, translated from the American Indian, means "the meeting of two streams." And indeed the 44.9 square miles of Lackawanna State Park’s watershed land contains the meeting of many tributaries that form the four main streams that flow to the 199-acre Lackawanna Lake. Today the lake is the main focal point of the park, but as the following history reveals, this was not always the case.

The park is located in an area rich in local and state history. Within the 1411 acres of the park one can learn many stories. Stories that include ancient American Indian trails, enterprising pioneers, a turnpike road, a county fair and race course, an industrial coal operator and about a reverend who forever changed the future of deaf children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Prior to modern transportation, many horse hooves and moccasins traversed the main road in the area, old Route 407. This route served as an ancient American Indian trail that connected the Lackawanna Valley to New York State. This route proved to be a vital link in the future development of this rural county.

In 1805, the first early settler in Benton Township, Ezra Basset, came here from Plainfield, Connecticut. Ezra built his log cabin in a spot called "Prickly Ash Flats," now covered by the upper end of Lackawanna Lake. North Abington Township settlement came in 1812, with the arrival of Asa Knight. Following these early settlers were Archibald Knight, Daniel Long, Ira Lewis, Peter Cole, John Lewin, Leonard Hopfer, John Kennedy, Alfred Fisk, William Foster and members of the Carpenter Family. The settlements along the old Route 407 in North Abington Township became known as Carpentertown named for this latter family. These ambitious New England Yankees cleared the land and developed farms to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Increased prosperity came to the area with the building of the Philadelphia and Great Bend Turnpike. Built through Northeastern Pennsylvania from 1821 –1826, it followed that same ancient American Indian trail, old Route 407, giving rise to many businesses along the way.

Such businesses included, a stagecoach tavern built in 1825 by Ezra Wall. Ezra also opened the first store and post office in the tavern in 1829. In his honor it was called Wallsville and stood at the end of the road of the present day boat mooring area, as this was the original Route 407. Following suit, across the road, Mark Whaling opened an early blacksmith shop and Abel Harrington started a wheelwright shop nearby where he made wagons and wheels. Benjamin Spencer built a gristmill in 1820 near the present park dam. He ran the mill for 10 years and was succeeded by Samuel States who operated it for the next 50 years. It was from him, the creek was locally known as "State’s Creek" for many years.

With the growing community came two one-room schoolhouses, two water-powered sawmills, and the Wallsville Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was started in the Aylesworth Schoolhouse in 1832. By 1860 the congregation grew and built a church on land donated by Leonard Hopfer. Located by the present day park office on Route 524, the church was closed and sold in 1928 due to declining numbers and later torn down. All that remains is the Hopfer’s family cemetery and what was once the parsonage. It is in this small cemetery that Reverend Jacob M. Koehler is buried.

Reverend Koehler was husband to Ida Hopfer; daughter of Josiah Hopfer who was son to Leonard Hopfer. Reverend Koehler, who was deaf, was born in 1860 in York, Pennsylvania and led a long and distinguished career. In 1882, he established the first classes for deaf children in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is today known as the Scranton State School for the Deaf. His experience teaching deaf children proved to him that although not hearing, children who are deaf could indeed learn. Being a man of vision and persistence, he approached the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD) and presented a resolution at their 1884 convention calling for the support of compulsory education of deaf children in Pennsylvania. The PSAD passed the Koehler resolution, and then went to the Pennsylvania legislature resulting in a bill being passed mandating education for deaf children in Pennsylvania.

While religion and education were a priority for this bustling community, recreation also found a niche. In 1898 several area farmers organized the Maitland Fair and Driving Park Association. Annual fairs and horseraces attracted large crowds for a dozen years. The site of the former racecourse is located in the park camping area on the Woodland Ponds Trail.

The siting for the location of Lackawanna State Park indirectly resulted from an early controversy between the officials of the Scranton Gas and Water Company and the D.L. & W. Railroad over water rates needed for the operation of their steam locomotives in 1912. It seems the railroad felt the water company was charging too much for their water rights so the railroad decided to build their own reservoir and water supply. Agents were dispersed by the railroad to purchase farms located along State’s Creek (as it was then known) in North Abington and Benton Townships. In 1913, 13 farms were purchased from local residents. With this action, the water company had a change of mind that resulted in them lowering their rates. The reservoir was never built and the railroad rented out the land to tenant farmers for many years. In 1946, Robert Moffat a prominent Scranton coal operator purchased the entire parcel, which he rented to families, employed by the coal company until 1968. At that point the state took advantage of the early surveying work done by the D.L. & W., and purchased Mr. Moffat’s 600 acres with two voter approved state bond issues, projects 70 and 500 funds.

These project 70 and 500 parks were developed as part of Secretary of Department of Forest and Waters (now the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Dr. Maurice Goddard’s initiative to have a state park located within 25 miles of each resident in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And as they say the rest is history! Construction began in 1968 with the clearing of 125 wooded acres and the construction of a high dam on the South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek to form Lackawanna Lake. The park was dedicated on June 10, 1972 and the campground was opened in 1975.

Contact

1839 Abington Rd, North Abington Township, PA 18414-9785

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