Proposed Development

Construction of an Environmental Education Center
Trail Development and Parking Expansion
Educational and Interpretative Signage and Mapping

It is unknown what directions the trustees issued them, but in March 2000 a consulting company, The RBA Group, of Mechanicsburg, PA released to them a General Development Plan for Governor Dick. Since the contents of this report was the basis of the approved funding from the Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania for the proposed development, it must be assumed that anything within it is fair game, and may still be entertained for implementation ultimately, if not immediately.

So, there is a potential plan, as embodied in the report and which because of possible future implementation in part or whole may not be ignored, and the immediate shorter-term plans of the trustees, the details of which vary as the board evolve their ideas and react to feedback and events.

The Report

The final General Development Plan as submitted to the trustees is available on this website for download or perusal in ‘Resources’ .

The following is a précis of their recommendations apropos the proposed nature center, other developments and suggested activities potentially impacting the park.

A three-phase sequence of park improvements was suggested:

  1. Construction of an Environmental Education Center
  2. Trail Development and Parking Expansion
  3. Educational and Interpretative Signage and Mapping

Environmental Education Center

The site was chosen on the bases of “Accessibility, moderate slopes, southern exposure, and diverse natural site resources . . . Chickies Creek, several large rock outcroppings and a great diversity of plant material are within walking distance . . .”

An initial proposal was for a 5,250 sq. ft. building; this would have consisted of 2,000 sq. ft. for residence (residential caretaker / ranger) and office, a 2,500 sq. ft. classroom, and a 1,000 sq. ft. exhibition area. An estimated cost of $556,500 was given.

A subsequent proposal was for a 1,200 sq. ft. residence/office, in conjunction with a 1,344 sq. ft. classroom/exhibition area, totaling 2,544 sq. ft., to be constructed of “. . . environmental friendly material as well as employ “Best Management Practices” and maximize solar lighting”. This came to an estimated $322,960.

A racetrack-shaped loop adjacent to the building would be provided for parking up to 25 cars and 4 school-bus size vehicles, an asphalt road connecting this to Pinch Road.

Amongst other elements upon which an environmental education program would, according to the report, be based are:
  • Creation of a pond for “educational opportunities in bio-engineering, watershed stewardship, wetland habitats, and sedimentation and erosion control practices.”
  • Consideration of “diversifying habitat by increasing field/open areas and planting of conifers for cover.”
  • The establishment of a heirarchical trail system (described below) “to encompass all natural resource and educational sites.”
Suggested also were:
  • The provision of restrooms at the tower and the education center.
  • Observation deck, boardwalk and interpretative sites.
  • Outdoor natural amphitheatre and interpretative area.
  • Chickies Creek connection to trail system, boardwalk/bridge arrangement.

Conditions for the sanctioning of organized bicycle racing, group tenting (at the old radar site, although the report seems confused as to where that was) and orienteering are discussed.

Heirarchical Trail System

The proposal is to create a “three-tiered” system for the existing trails (and presumably the new ones necessary to “. . . encompass all natural resources . . .”, above). In short, these tiers are:

  • Footpaths – much as the existing narrow trails in the park, supplemented by stone in low-lying areas, some possibly re-routed to reduce erosion.
  • Multi-Use System – intended for hikers, bikers, horses and skiers; they would be maintained at 6’ to 10’ wide in 12’ wide clearance, and with 14’ vertical clearance. The trail surface would be improved for drainage and “. . . to limit damage to the existing terrain . . .”. Relocation and stabilization of trails suffering high erosion suggested.
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Accessible System – similar specifications to ‘Multi-Use’ excepting the surface will be maintained “. . . smooth, compact and well-drained . . .”; asphalt or compacted sand are suggested.

What the Trustees Intend Implementing

. . . or have begun already so doing. The trustees are proceeding quite firmly within the guide-lines laid down by the report. The main building was scaled down to 2,200 sq. ft. of log construction, with no accommodation but with kitchen facilities, office space, classroom, and display area for memorabilia; a separate and as yet not constructed unconnected workshop / machinery storage facility has been discussed. No natural history exhibits as suggested in the report or laboratory/research facilities have been instituted. As would be expected, the expansion of parking facilities was moved forward from the report’s ‘phase 2’ to being the first item undertaken.

The site is near the southernmost extreme of the Governor Dick property, the building set back some 700 feet from a new park entrance onto Pinch Road approximately opposite the parking lot for the state gamelands / access to Horseshoe Trail. After logging of several acres to clear areas for the access road, parking loop and a drainage runoff containment basin (close to Pinch Road), the building itself was completed in late summer 2004, remaining substantially forlorn, empty and unused.

Postscript: The text of this section is borrowed from an abandoned Friends of Governor Dick website from 2002; minor formatting and editing has been added. We would love to know who penned these words, if you recognize them, please use the contact form to reach out.