New State Park Planned for Chester County
HARRISBURG PA – Chester County residents are expected to have access in slightly more than three years to a newly designated state park, located east of Lewisville and which abuts a portion of the Pennsylvania-Maryland state line, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday (Sept. 27, 2022).
A more than 1,700-acre preserve is already available for what is being temporarily called “Big Elk Creek State Park.” It’s set in the county’s southern end, bordered generally by state Route 841 on the west, Appleton Road on the east, Walker Road on the north, and the state line on the south. The property was acquired earlier through The Conservation Fund, assisted by the county and the non-profit Mount Cuba Center in Delaware.
A 3-1/2-mile stretch of Big Elk Creek cuts through the future park. The waterway is described by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as “an important transportation and natural resource corridor for indigenous people for thousands of years, and an important area for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad to the North.” The creek is a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay.
The Big Elk Creek location is under significant pressure from residential and commercial development, the department acknowledged. The property’s transformation into a state park is anticipated by the end of 2026, it added. That’s also when it will receive a permanent name.
Big Elk Creek will receive a portion of $45 million included in the 2022-2023 Pennsylvania budget for the creation of three parks. The other two are the 1,100-acre Susquehanna Riverlands in Hellam Township, York County; and the 669-acre Vosburg Neck in Wyoming County.