Pymatuning State Park - Pennsylvania

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Description

Almost everything about Pymatuning State Park is huge. At 21,122 acres, it is one of the largest state parks in the Commonwealth. The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir is the largest lake in the Commonwealth. In its three campgrounds, Pymatuning has the most campsites in the Pennsylvania state park system. More people visit Pymatuning than almost any other state park in Pennsylvania. But the biggest thing about Pymatuning is the fun you can have boating, fishing, swimming, camping and enjoying other recreational opportunities. In addition to the state park facilities, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission operate a fish hatchery and visitor center, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission has wildlife viewing areas and a learning center.

Recreation

Picnicking:

Picnic tables are available in many areas. Jamestown and Linesville beaches have ADA accessible picnic sites complete with grill and table. There are 11 picnic pavilions that may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Pets in day use areas must be kept on a leash or safely restrained and are prohibited in swimming areas and some overnight areas.

Swimming:

Four public beaches, Linesville, Tuttle, Jamestown One and Two, and the beach for campers in Jamestown Campground are open the weekend before Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather and conditions permitting. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules.

Sightseeing:

Anywhere along the lake, beautiful vistas of this large body of water can be enjoyed. Some of the more unique sights include the dam, the Linesville “spillway,’’ the fish hatchery, the two causeways across the lake and the Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Learning Center. The spillway is perhaps one of the best known locations because the fish are so plentiful that the “ducks walk on the fishes’ backs” to compete for the food fed by the visitors.

Also, Pymatuning is the only known place in Pennsylvania where bald eagles have nested continuously, even throughout the years of their population decline. Today, park visitors get thrills from spotting eagles in the park.

Spillway Concession:

Where the "ducks walk on the fishes backs." 300,000 visitors come each year to feed the fish and view the wildlife in this area. Located two miles south of Lineville on the Hartstown Road, concession has refreshments, souvenirs, and fish food for sale. Generally open weekends mid-April to Memorial Day then seven days per week through Labor Day and weekends again in September. Although fish feeding and wildlife viewing is the main attraction, the scenery and sunsets are gorgeous on this causeway between the lake. For more information, contact the park office at 724-932-3142

Boating: maximum 20 hp motors permitted

The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir has many boat launches along the shores, including an ADA accessible launch in the Jamestown Marina and Manning Boat Launch.

The three Pennsylvania boat marinas have boat mooring and rent pontoon boats, motorboats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks, and have a store that has bait, tackle and snacks.

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.

Jamestown Watercraft Concession:

This facility is located within the 203-slip Jamestown Marina where moorings are administered by Pymatuning State Park. Located in the south end of the park two miles west of Jamestown, PA, a new three-lane launch ramp compliments this facility, which is generally open late March through late October. A variety of rental boats, snacks, bait, tackle and a good selection of fishing gear are available.

Espyville Marina Concession:

A 184-slip marina accommodates yearly moorings April 1 through October 31 in addition to having a variety of rental watercraft available to lease by the hour, day, or even week. Complimenting the moorings and watercraft rentals, this facility has refreshments, bait, tackle, and a good selection of fishing gear for sale. Located on the northeast side of the 2.5-mile causeway, which bridges the state of Pennsylvania with Ohio, it is easily accessible from PA 285. An 850-foot breakwall doubles as an accessible fishing pier and attracts fisherman as well as boaters and sightseers to this beautiful marina.

Linesville Marina Concessionaire:

A 170-slip marina accommodates yearly moorings April 1 through October 31, in addition to having a variety of rental watercraft available to lease by the hour, day, or even week. This facility also has snacks, bait, tackle, firewood and a good selection of fishing gear. Located at the “end of the road” two miles west of Linesville off of West Erie Street Extension, it is complimented by other state park facilities including a beach, campground, and cabin area. A 280-foot accessible fishing pier adjacent to this marina is a popular fishing spot in the spring, summer, and early fall.

Shenango River Water Trail:

This is a canoe and kayak trail that follows the Shenango River from just below the Dam to Riverside Park in Greenville. The trip takes about 3.5 hours to cover the 9 river miles. Conditions are best when the river gage at the Dam is between 4.75 and 5.5. It is not recommended to use the river when the gage is over 5.75. The meandering river shoreline is mostly forested and provides close-up views of many species of ducks, birds of prey, and songbirds. Also be on the lookout for deer, beavers, and muskrats.

Fishing:

The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir is a warm-water fishery. Common species are walleye, muskellunge, carp, crappie, perch, bluegill and largemouth and smallmouth bass. Ice fishing during the winter months is also popular. When fishing by boat, fishing licenses issued by either Ohio or Pennsylvania are honored anywhere on the lake. When fishing from the shore, only Ohio licensed fishermen can fish from the Ohio shore and Pennsylvania licensed fishermen from the Pennsylvania shore. There is ADA accessible fishing access in the Jamestown Day Use Area and an ADA accessible fishing pier at the Espyville and Linesville marinas and the Shenango River..

Hiking: 7 miles of trails

There are trails near Tuttle and Jamestown campgrounds, and the abandoned railroad grade on the Spillway is a flat, wide trail.

Disc Golfing:

An 18-hole, par 66, disc golf course is located in the Jamestown Day Use Area near the park office. Score cards are available at the 1st and 10th hole tees which are along the road leading to Pavilion 4 and Beach 2. The course is set up in two loops (Front 9 and Back 9) starting and ending at Pavilion 4.

Stay the Night

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

There are two camping areas that are generally open from mid-April through mid-October. Contact the park for specific dates. All campgrounds are near swimming, boating, fishing and hiking and have a sanitary dump station. The maximum stay in all camping areas is fourteen days during the summer season and 21 days during the off-season. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

In the northern part of the park, Linesville Campground has modern facilities, including showers, flush toilets and ADA accessible campsites. About half of the campsites have electricity.

On the south shore of Pymatuning Reservoir, Jamestown Campground modern facilities, including showers and flush toilets. About half of the campsites have electricity. There is a boat launch, beach, amphitheater and a playground. Pets are permitted on designated sites.

The Jamestown Campground Campstore and Laundry Concession has a variety of camping supplies including washers and dryers, food, ice, firewood, and an unmatched assortment of “penny” candy for the kids. The campstore is generally open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Free Camping for Campground Hosts: six host positions – three in Jamestown Campground, one in Linesville Campground

The campground hosts are required to assist park personnel for 40 hours per week with a four-week minimum stay. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

Jamestown Campground – 50/30-amp electric service --- Linesville Campground – 50-amp electric service

Modern Cabins:

Twenty modern rental cabins by the Jamestown Day Use Area are available for year-round use. Five ADA accessible, modern rental cabins by the Linesville Campground are open from mid-April to late-October. Cabins have a furnished living area, kitchen/dining area, toilet/shower room and two or three bedrooms. Occupants must bring linens, towels, cookware and tableware.

Organized Group Tenting:

This rustic area can serve groups up to 400 people and is in the Jamestown area.

Winter Activities

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

Cross-country Skiing:

Most open areas of the park are open to cross-country skiing.

Sledding:

The slopes of the dam are good for sledding.

Snowmobiling:

Fries Road Trail by Tuttle Campground and the abandoned railroad grade by the spillway provide five miles of trails for snowmobiles. In the Jamestown area, there are additional trails and open fields.

Ice Fishing:

Walleye, perch and crappie are the fish most often caught through the ice of the 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir.

Iceboating:

Iceboating is permitted everywhere on the lake.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

Pymatuning State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.

Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the park office. Programs are offered year-round. For more information contact the park office.

Wind Turbine:

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) installed small-scale wind turbines to show how alternative energy can reduce pollution and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.

For hundreds of years, traditional windmills harnessed wind energy to pump water or grind grain. Today's modern equivalent – the wind turbine – uses wind energy to generate electricity which has far less impact on the environment than energy generation based on fossil fuels.

Using non-renewable fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to generate energy releases many pollutants into the atmosphere. These pollutants, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and particulates, cause smog, acid precipitation and contribute to global warming which threatens our health and the environment.

Natural Areas

Natural areas have unique scenic, geologic or ecological value and are set aside for scientific observation and to protect outstanding examples of natural interest and beauty. Pymatuning has two natural areas in the northern part of the lake. The 725-acre Blackjack Swamp has unique natural communities, in addition to Clark Island which has 161 acres of mature hardwood and white pine forest. Visitors are welcome to explore these undeveloped natural areas.

History

Early Inhabitants

In the distant past, beyond the period of legend and history, the great swamp that became Pymatuning Reservoir was occupied by the “Mound Builders.” These farmers buried their important dead in large mounds and had an impressive trade network involving goods from all over North America. It is not known what happened to these mysterious people.

The Erie Nation are the first recorded inhabitants of the Pymatuning area. They were ruled by a queen noted for her cunning strategy and crooked dealings.

The Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy conquered the Erie and used the large swamp for hunting grounds. The name “Pymatuning” is derived from the Iroquois, probably from the Seneca, and means “the Crooked-mouthed Man’s Dwelling Place,” with “crooked-mouthed” referring to deceit rather than facial disfigurement.

History of Pymatuning Reservoir

“All human accomplishments begin with a dream.” The Honorable Gifford Pinchot, then governor of Pennsylvania, delivered these stirring words as part of his address at the dedication of Pymatuning Dam on August 17, 1934. Pinchot was fulfilling a Pennsylvania dream that began in 1868 when the General Assembly provided a survey and an estimate of the cost to drain the Pymatuning swamp to create farmlands. The swamp was not drained because it would cripple the industries downstream in the Beaver and Shenango valleys.

A severe flood in 1913 spurred the legislature to action. The Pymatuning Act, signed the same year, appropriated $100,000 to initiate building a dam. The Pymatuning Act states that the primary purpose of the Pymatuning Reservoir shall be for the conservation of waters entering the Pymatuning Swamp and for regulating the flow of water in the Shenango and Beaver rivers. A secondary purpose is to use the dam and lake as a reservoir to impound flood water during periods of excessive runoff from the 158 square miles of drainage area above the dam.

In the next 18 years, public and private organizations raised the $3,717,739 needed to build the dam. On October 6, 1931, 7,000 men began work, turning the dream into reality, and three years later Governor Pinchot gave his inspiring words at the dedication of the 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir.

Contact

2660 Williamsfield Road, Jamestown, PA 16134-3560

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