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Naturally speaking: Festival marks important milestone at Schuylkill County park

It was in 1923 that the dam breast as we know it was constructed to make the lake that we know of today. Sweet Arrow Lake County Park marks this important event by hosting the Lakefront Festival on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is the second year of the festival, which offers a variety of activities for all ages. Among the highlights is Mrs. U’s Zoo ReVue with live reptiles and Splash the Clown sharing his animal balloon making talents

Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited will have a casting contest, and you’ll be able to learn about fly-tying. Penn State Master Gardeners will have a table and answer fall gardening questions.

The Lakefront Festival is a project of the Schuylkill Conservation District and highlights the recreational and scenic aspects of the park.

“The park is managed and maintained by the conservation district, and we want to showcase by hosting this festival just how important an impact that this county park has made on our county’s quality of life,” said Jenna St. Clair, conservation district manager. “We certainly have seen a surge in visitation these past few years with more people walking the trails, fishing the waters, and enjoying picnicking and birding.”

According to the park’s website: “The lake has a rich history beginning in the 19th century when it served as a water supply for the Union Canal. It brought prosperity to the region by supporting the lumber and coal industries. It also provided recreation for residents of that time; one popular activity was Ascension Day fishing.

“The dam was destroyed during the flood of 1862 and later a new dam was built to support an electric generation plant operated by the East Penn Electric Company in the 1920s and later, PP&L. In 1972 the lake was purchased by the borough of Pine Grove.

“Most area residents have pleasant memories of fishing, swimming, picnicking, boating, and relaxing in the serene beauty of the lake. In 2001 Schuylkill County purchased the lake with the intention of creating a county park.”

That dam for East Penn Electric is the dam breast of today with significant rehabilitation occurring in the early 2000’s. Visitors will recall the lake being drained and fish being rescued.  Another important component of the festival will be the dedication of the stream habitat improvement project that was completed in the upper reaches of the park.

The Upper Little Swatara Creek was flood-prone, and there were many invasive plants vexing the streamside habitat.

A dedication ceremony, featuring speakers with a passion for the park, will take place at 11 a.m. Baked goods will be served courtesy of the South Schuylkill Garden Club. There will be a tour of the Live Stake Nursery of some 60 native trees that were planted in the vicinity by Penn State Master Watershed Stewards.

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward program was established to educate and empower volunteers to protect environmental resources.

Other features of the Lakefront Festival include food offered by Boy Scouts of Pine Grove, a display by Denise “Nightowl” Donmoyer of her late father-in-law’s collection of beautiful bird carvings, Dave “Big Owl” McSurdy features his collection of items from many years of being a naturalist, Master Gardener Jacqui Deibert showcases worm composting and more.

The event is free, open to the public and suitable for all ages.  Free parking is available. Feel free to contact me at or Facebook at Porcupine Pat and call me at 570.391.3326 for additional information.

Come help us celebrate 100 years of the dam breast that makes our lake.

Source: Berkshire mont

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