The 256-acre Whipple Dam State Park is a delightful and quiet place to visit. The lake is the perfect place to indulge in a refreshing dip, bird watch or just relax. The beautiful day use area is wonderful for a picnic or hike.
Three large picnic pavilions and many picnic tables are in a forest-covered area, close to the beach, lake and snackbar. Hand operated and pressurized drinking fountains, charcoal stoves and restrooms are throughout the park. The three picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
The 300-foot sand beach is open from May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. A dressing room, beach volleyball court and boat rental are at the beach. The 22-acre Whipple Lake is great for canoeing, sailing, kayaking and electric-powered motorboating.
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.
In the summer season, a boat rental offers canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and rowboats.
The 22-acre Whipple Lake and Laurel Run are stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in the spring and winter months. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws and regulations apply.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Park trails and roads, and roads in Rothrock State Forest are recommended for cross-country skiing.
Conditions permitting, park roads, and roads in Rothrock State Forest are available for registered snowmobiles. Roads are shared with automobiles.
The ungroomed ice of the lake is popular for skating. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice fishing is permitted on the 22-acre Whipple Lake
Wildlife is abundant in the area. An alert observer may see white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, waterfowl and many other species of wildlife. Osprey, great blue heron and Canada goose visit the lake. On quiet evenings, muskrat and beaver may be seen on the water.
Feeding wild animals such as waterfowl, deer, bear and raccoons is prohibited. When wildlife looses its fear of people, these animals become pests and dangerous situations can result.
Please do not feed the wildlife.
The park area was originally purchased from the Iroquois Confederation by the Proprietary Government of Pennsylvania on July 6, 1754. The land eventually became part of the Monroe Iron Works, a few miles to the north. Charcoal was produced in the area for use in the iron furnace, and there is some evidence of iron ore mining. In 1868, Osgood M. Whipple purchased a large block of land and constructed a dam and sawmill downstream of the current park dam. The purpose of the dam was to supply a source of water for the operation of an “up and down” sawmill.
Whipple left the lumber business in 1897, but the dam remained for many years and was known locally as “Whipple’s Dam.”
In 1927, the former Department of Forests and Waters was considering a recreation site in the area and surveyed the old log-crib dam. It was decided to construct a new dam upstream at a better location. The new dam was completed in the spring of 1928 and provided a shallow pool. Recreational activities began almost immediately and by the early 1930s, Whipple Dam was listed as a State Forest Public Camp.
Between 1933 and 1941, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a work camp at Owl’s Gap, east of the park. The corps members built pavilions, roads, beach and restrooms during this period. In 1935, the CCC dismantled the old dam and constructed the existing dam and bridge. In 1987, the 32-acre park day use area was designated the Whipple Dam National Historic District. This entry on the National Register of Historic Places recognizes, protects, and preserves the work site of one of the Depression-Era's most important relief programs, the CCC.
The CCC work was performed to guidelines embraced by the National Park Service. The use of native materials and the rustic look exemplify the idea that parks should harmonize with the natural setting and not be glaring intrusions onto the landscape. Today, all construction and repair work is done to complement the design character of the CCC architecture and construction methods.
c/o Greenwood Furnace, Huntingdon, PA 16652-9006