Park brochure for French Creek State Park in Pennsylvania. Published by Pennsylvania State Parks.
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French Creek French Creek State Park A Pennsylvania Recreational Guide for Pennsylvania State Parks Mission The primary purpose of Pennsylvania state parks is to provide opportunities for enjoying healthful outdoor recreation and serve as outdoor classrooms for environmental education. In meeting these purposes, the conservation of the natural, scenic, aesthetic, and historical values of parks should be given first consideration. Stewardship responsibilities should be carried out in a way that protects the natural outdoor experience for the enjoyment of current and future generations. visitPAparks Printed on recycled paper FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK Once an industrial complex for the fledgling United States of America, today French Creek State Park is an oasis for people and wildlife. Straddling the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,916-acre park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City. The forests, lakes, wetlands, and fields are a destination for Pennsylvanians to hike, fish, camp, and bike. Those same habitats are home to many plants and animals that are rare in the southeastern region of the commonwealth. French Creek State Park is an Important Bird Area and Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and also has Pine Swamp, a State Park Natural Area. Directions WILDLIFE WATCHING The heavily forested, scenic hills of French Creek State Park provide habitat for plants and animals in the ever-expanding urban environment of southeastern Pennsylvania. Large oak, poplar, hickory, maple, and beech trees cover much of the park, with a sparse understory of mountain laurel, rhododendron, and other brushy plants. Wetlands and pristine streams flowing through rich, damp creek valleys offer additional habitats for plants and animals. This large, diverse environment supports many animals that take advantage of the high quality resources found at Reservations Make online reservations at www.visitPAparks.com or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday, for state park information and reservations. Entrances are located on PA 345 (south of Birdsboro) and north of PA 23. RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES BOATING: electric motors only Boat launching is provided at the 68-acre Hopewell Lake and the 22-acre Scotts Run Lake. Seasonal boat mooring spaces are available from April 1 to November 1 at each lake. Contact the park office for mooring information. Boat rentals are available daily at the Hopewell Lake pool complex from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends during May and September. Motorboats must display a boat registration from any state. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration from any state; launch permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks that are available at most state park offices; launch use permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Inflatable watercraft devices used on Pennsylvania State Park waters must meet the following requirements: must be made of high quality durable material, consist of one or more inflatable bladders, and be a minimum of seven feet long. Air propeller driven boats, sea planes, air mattresses, and surf boards are prohibited. PICNICKING: Tables are located throughout the park with a picnic area and restroom facilities by each lake. Picnicking near Hopewell Lake offers easy access to a peaceful place for a family picnic. DISC GOLF: The course winds through the woods on the south side of Hopewell Lake. This year-round activity attracts visitors of all ages. Sometimes referred to as Frisbee golf, disc golf is a great activity for individuals and families. The challenge of tossing a flying disc through the woods is unmatched by any other sport. Friendly, local enthusiasts are always willing to give advice to first-time disc golfers. Score cards and maps are available at the course. SWIMMING: Swimming is offered at the swimming pool by Hopewell Lake from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. A fee is charged. The pool is near the shore of the lake and provides a beautiful setting for swimmers and sunbathers. Certified lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open. During the swimming season, a food concession is open at the pool complex. Firewood, charcoal, and other picnic supplies are also sold. A picnic pavilion inside the pool complex is available for rent. Reservations must be made at the pool entrance. All children nine years of age or less must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible person. One such person shall supervise no more than five children. Swimming is prohibited in both lakes. running or walking, orienteering is a healthy, fun way to exercise both mind and body. Maps are available at the park office. HUNTING AND FIREARMS: The combination of habitats at French Creek offers a variety of hunting opportunities. Over 6,000 acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping, and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species include deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant, and squirrel. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information. Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park. The park naturalist leads walks, hikes, and gives evening talks and demonstrations during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Check the park activity schedule on the DCNR online Calendar of Events, bulletin boards, or at the park office for program times and locations. Organized groups such as scouts and schools may schedule activities by calling the park office. HISTORY The forest covering the park has changed since Hopewell Furnace began operation, producing iron for a young America from 1771 to 1883. It required tremendous amounts of charcoal to fuel the large blast furnace. Woodcutters chopped wood from the forest and colliers burned it in “hearths” throughout the wooded hills surrounding the furnace to produce charcoal. To sustain the furnace operations, the entire area now contained in French Creek State Park was timbered repeatedly to make charcoal. The original forest of predominately American chestnut was cleared. Eventually mixed oak forests developed after the furnace closed in HORSEBACK RIDING: Horse-Shoe Trail winds through the park and into adjacent lands. The 140-mile trail runs from Valley Forge National Historic Park to the Appalachian Trail, about 15 miles north of Harrisburg. Horses are prohibited on other park trails. Information on nearby attractions is available from: Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.readingberkspa.com Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau. www.brandywinevalley.com Located adjacent to French Creek State Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site preserves an early American iron-making community that was active from 1771 to 1883. Ore for the products, and timber to fuel the furnace were obtained from the local area. The furnace produced household items including stoves, as well as cannons used by American patriots during the Revolutionary War. The air needed to keep the furnace in blast was provided by water from what is now Hopewell Lake, flowing over a huge water wheel. YURTS: Two round, canvas and wood walled tents are on a wooden deck and sleep four people in two bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, and picnic table. Pets are prohibited. CABINS: Ten furnished, modern cabins, nestled among the hardwoods, offer a pleasant alternative to state park camping. Each cabin features sleeping for six, electric heat, kitchen, private bath with shower, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Bring your own dishes, cookware, and bedding. Cabins can be reserved year round. Pets are prohibited. Hopewell Furnace is open to the public daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM during the summer and Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM the rest of the year, except for certain federal holidays. There are programs and events scheduled throughout the year. Hopewell Furnace does not charge an admission fee. 610-582-8773. www.nps.gov/hofu. Located approximately three miles southeast of the park, State Game Lands 43 consists of more than 1,800 acres of public land available for hunting. A public firing range is located at the end of Laurel Road. Located south of Reading, Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center encompasses more than 665 acres of deciduous woodlands and coniferous plantations. A network of trails makes the center’s streams, ponds, and diverse habitats accessible to both students and visitors. 610-796-3699 Daniel Boone Homestead is a historical site located in nearby Birdsboro that tells the story of Daniel Boone’s youth in Pennsylvania’s Oley Valley. The site and interpreters illuminate the daily lives of the region’s 18th-century settlers through the eyes of the Boone, Maugridge, and DeTurk families who lived there. 610-582-4900. www.danielboonehomestead.org HIKING: see reverse side. FOR YOUR INFORMATION CAMPING COTTAGES: Three cottages sleep five people in bunk beds, and have wooden floors, windows, electric heat, porch, picnic table, fire ring, and electric lights and outlets. Pets are prohibited. Two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were built at French Creek and operated until the early 1940s. The camps built two dams, two group camps, several tent camping areas, beaches, roads, picnic areas, and started the restoration process for the historic core of Hopewell Furnace. In 1946, most of the property and recreation facilities were transferred to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, creating French Creek State Park. The historic core of the furnace operations and some of the surrounding fields and woodlands were retained and are administered by the National Park Service as Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Address: 865 Park Road, Elverson, Pa. 19520 ORIENTEERING: The art of map and compass reading has made French Creek State Park a favorite stop for novices and experts. Considered by some as the “Orienteering Capital of North America,” French Creek has developed a permanent self-guiding course for use by visitors of all ages. The objective is to locate markers in the park with the aid of a map and, if you like, a compass. Traveling in groups or alone, 1883. It is hard to imagine that the thickly wooded hillsides enjoyed by today’s visitors were once barren and treeless. The forest of French Creek State Park played a vital role in America’s industrial infancy. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Federal government purchased much of the land used for charcoal production as part of a national project to reclaim marginal lands. Areas like these were located “in close proximity to the larger industrial centers for use by people of the lower income group and underprivileged children, for family camps, children-group camps, and organization camps.” MOUNTAIN BIKING: Mountain bike riders enjoy more than 20 miles of trails that climb hills, cross streams, and pass through forests. The trails explore most parts of the park and are rated difficult riding due to the rocky terrain. Mountain bikes are prohibited south of Park Road and in Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. Stay the Night CAMPING: hot showers and flush toilets The campground has 200 wooded, modern sites within easy access to shower and flush toilet facilities. Over 60 sites have electric hookups and 16 full service sites have sewer, water, and electric hookups. Camping is available year round at 47 sites. Pets are permitted on designated campsites in C Loop only. Address: 410 Park Road, Elverson, Pa. 19520 French Creek. Observant visitors might see deer, squirrels, raccoons, songbirds, and numerous other small animals and birds. The park sustains good populations of resident birds and animals, but also serves as an important stop for migratory species using the woodlands, streams, lakes, and wetlands for food and cover. The park is an Important Bird Area and an Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND INTERPRETATION Spend the Day FISHING: A fishing license is required for people age 16 and over. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations and laws apply. Scotts Run Lake: This 22-acre lake offers excellent trout and other coldwater species fishing. Hatchery-raised trout are stocked pre-season, during the season, and in the winter. Hopewell Lake: 68 acres of prime water presents a challenge for anglers. A wide variety of Pennsylvania warmwater species are found at Hopewell Lake, including northern pike, chain pickerel, bass, walleye, muskellunge, and many species of panfish. This lake is designated as a Big Bass Lake and specific regulations apply. 2017 ORGANIZED GROUP TENTING: Qualified organized groups can camp in the rustic group tenting area. One site holds 60 people and 16 other sites each hold 30 people. A portion of this area is open year round. Reservations are required. ORGANIZED GROUP CAMPS: Group camps are open to organized youth and adult groups from mid-April to midOctober. These facilities include dining halls, central washhouses, camper cabins, and staff quarters. Group Camp One holds 135 people. Group Camp Two (Clewell) holds 68 people. Applications are accepted after January and reservations awarded after March 1. Access for People with Disabilities This symbol indicates facilities and activities that are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible for people with disabilities. This publication text is available in alternative formats. If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit. Please make your visit safe and enjoyable. Obey all posted rules and regulations and respect fellow visitors and the resources of the park. NEAREST HOSPITAL The Reading Hospital and Medical Center 6th Avenue and Spruce Street West Reading, PA 19611 866-988-4377 • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. In an Emergency Call 911 and contact a park employee. Directions to the nearest hospital are posted on bulletin boards and at the park office. i Information and Reservations For More Information Contact French Creek State Park 843 Park Road Elverson, PA 19520-9523 610-582-9680 email: firstname.lastname@example.org GPS DD: Lat. 40.19843 Long. -75.79327 An Equal Opportunity Employer www.visitPAparks.com Protect and Preserve our Parks Information and Reservations Make online reservations at www.visitPAparks.com or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday, for state park information and reservations. • Be prepared and bring the proper equipment. Natural areas may possess hazards. Your personal safety and that of your family are your responsibility. • Because uncontrolled pets may chase wildlife or frighten visitors, pets must be physically controlled and attended at all times and on a leash, caged, or crated. Electronic fences and leashes are prohibited. Pets are prohibited in swimming areas. • Do your part to keep wildlife wild! Enjoy wildlife from a safe distance and do not feed or approach wild animals. 222 To Harrisburg To Lan caste r eek ycr a H d. R ek cre Hay in n gto len Mul Red 568 625 Co ld 750 45 0 0 50 0 65 600 400 Roa d 0 60 Cold . Rd To Coatesville 82 ow n gt To Do w ni Marsh Creek 282 76 401 n P To 100 CHESTER 23 FRENCH CREEK 100 hi 422 0 65 n Ru Road 0 60 0 65 100 n ow tst e lad ho 0 65 e Tr a il 0 0 80 850 AM 0 90 S ail Tr 950 700 800 850 900 e dg 7 Tr. Ri St. 7 00 0 75 8 0 75 0 70 0 65 0 80 N Road 0 60 0 7 3 550 Run 15 1 Road 550 2 5 Sco 800 82 t ts 1 ad Park Office Tr. 35 34 A 3 50 D 24 345 R o ad 2 345 Road Pool 3 ¼ ll L se - S h o e & Le we e p Ho na ail Tr 81 Co ll 29 ie 0 30 Group Camp #2 Clewell k Par Trail Tra il C B To Warwick, 1.1 Mi. & PA 23, 1.6 Mi. Y NT TY U N CO OU C S RK ER BE EST CH e Pin Creek 950 Entranc e Hor 27 Boo ne 26 See Enlargement . 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Boon l Tr ai R Wo ods 90 pe Tr a i l 800 Le na e Roa d Tu rtl e Rd. tle P 0 nio n tle e & Tur Boon Trail Tu r Pa 0 rk 90 U S co RE 60 Blu e Rd ek e r Road 0 65 Six Pe n Trail ail Tr k ek Cre ee ek re c y Ha e Bethes da tt’s on Ho e Bo k ree l Pi il Tra i Tr a Be t h es da B d oa da es eth Church Tr. rd Pie w 0 75 R Co ed r Rd ner . 0 75 70 0 Mi ll 750 60 80 0 800 UY 0 2 Rd. GPS Coordinates Well s Saint TY UN TY CO OUN C S RK R BE STE E CH 30 0 Ro ad 750 0 SAINT PETERS 3 Sc o l R o ho ad 5. Scotts Run Lake Boat Launch 40.20963, –75.7967 4. Campground 40.2128, –75.78184 3. Pool Parking 40.19881, –75.78425 2. Hopewell Lake Boat Launch 40.19956, –75.78934 1. Park Office 40.19843, –75.79327 200 e 65 0 Tr. 70 0 rs Pete Roa d 250 To Pottstown, 4.2 Mi. 724 To Pottstown, 4.9 Mi. 600 550 0 70 0 65 0 60 550 ¼ MILE 500 450 R oa d enkel Rd. Sch . Temple Rd Road 422 Yocu m Decimal Degree Lat. Long. 0 35 250 Blac k M 300 a tt CONTOURS ARE ON 50 FT. INTERVALS William Penn State Forest Land State Park Hunting 0 45 0 50 ER To Reading, 13.7 Mi. State Park No Hunting or Weapons Restricted Area ek Cre 900 850 CH Hopewell Lake Road ille Harmonyv Pool 700 Cr t in Sa Rd. rs Trail Road Trythall 0 k re e 0 70 Tr. ith Red 80 500 k C r ee 0 750 65 Peters 60 0 S 0 se - B uzza 85 ine r L e w Po 0 450 il Tra 90 400 450 Mill k e Cre l 0 rk Ho r 70 R o ad 550 r ey 600 s te rs h 650 nca He To 700 Rd . Ma tt Bla ck a To L n 0 550 To Phoenixville l Mil 65 0 n ow nt lle A To er Rd. hei s d i v a D 0 60 reek y C Ha 400 55 Camp Road own orrist To N 0 Hill G a re y 40 p Bo on S 750 L Ca m 0 IL V H i ll 75 RI 0 LK Bridge Rd . Road 80 River Coldsprings TURTLE TRAIL: 3.6 miles, white blazes, more difficult hiking Circling through the western portion of French Creek, this trail offers a variety of easy hiking mixed with several challenging sections. Park in the lot along Firetower Road and follow the white blazes in either direction. SIX PENNY TRAIL: 3 miles, orange blazes, more difficult hiking This trail offers visitors a glimpse of the historic Six Penny Recreation Area where dam ruins and the park’s original picnic grounds can be seen. Use the connector trail (orange blazes with a green stripe) from the intersection of Boone and Lenape trails west of campground to get to this loop trail. Most of this trail is closed to mountain bikes. RACCOON TRAIL: 1.7 miles, red blazes, more difficult hiking This trail serves as the most direct route into and out of the eastern portion of French Creek State Park. It starts 0.25 mile east of Hopewell Furnace’s main gate and ends at Mill Creek. MILL CREEK TRAIL: 6 miles, white blazes with a red stripe, most difficult hiking Once leaving the trailhead at Shed Road and PA 345, you will not cross another road on this backcountry-type loop trail. Be sure to carry water and wear proper clothing and footwear. Consider using Raccoon and Lenape trails to add some variety for your return trip. LENAPE TRAIL: 5.5 miles, green blazes, more difficult hiking Begin this hike from the campground contact station, Scotts Run Lake, Hopewell Furnace Visitor Center, or PA 345/ Shed Road. Follow the solid green blazes to stay on Lenape Trail or venture off onto one of the many blazed trails that intersect this enjoyable trail. KALMIA TRAIL: 1 mile, purple blazes, more difficult hiking This mountainside trail provides a pleasant experience through mature forests with scattered mountain laurel. Kalmia is the Latin word for laurel. Mountain biking is prohibited. HORSE-SHOE TRAIL: 130 miles (8 miles in the park), yellow blazes, more difficult hiking For hikers and horseback riders, this trail touches highlights of the park including Hopewell Lake and Scotts Run Lake. Horse-Shoe Trail runs 130 miles from Valley Forge to the Appalachian Trail near Harrisburg. This is the only equestrian trail in the park. BUZZARDS TRAIL: 3 miles, yellow blazes with red stripe, more difficult hiking Branching off of Raccoon and Mill Creek trails, this trail passes through the Baptism Creek drainage area in the eastern portion of the park. BOONE TRAIL: 6 miles, blue blazes, more difficult hiking This loop trail connects all major attractions of French Creek, making it an excellent route to see the park. Start your trip at Hopewell Lake Boat Launch parking lot, Group Tenting Areas 13-18, the campground contact station, or Hopewell Furnace Visitor Center (using connector trails). Several portions are steep and rocky, so wear sturdy shoes. Boone Trail is closed to mountain bikes around Hopewell Lake. PLEASE STAY ON THE BLAZED TRAILS. • Double blazes indicate a change of direction in the trail. • Camping is only permitted at French Creek’s established campgrounds. • Horses are permitted on the Horse-shoe Trail and on the right berm of public roads (except in overnight areas). • Motorized vehicles are prohibited on any park trails. • Mountain bikes are permitted on roads and approved trails only. All trails south of Park Road are closed to mountain bikes. More than 35 miles of well-marked trails cover a large portion of the park’s 7,916 acres. Hikers at French Creek State Park have a wide variety of opportunities for quiet reflection, nature study, and physical challenge. Trailhead parking is located in many convenient areas. HIKING