Jamestown, PA – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined other state officials and Bureau of State Parks representatives in dedicating a newly restored dam and gatehouse at Pymatuning State Park, Crawford County.
Both structures are essential to controlling the pool level of the park's 17,000-acre lake, a popular fishing destination with a 158-square mile-drainage area.
"Almost everything about Pymatuning State Park is big -- its land mass, its reservoir, and the enjoyment so many visitors receive they come here to swim, boat or fish," Dunn told an audience gathered on the dam breast.
"These completed projects go far beyond historic renovation; they are an investment in the future of one Pennsylvania's iconic state park."
Completed in mid-May, the renovation work followed in-depth diving and engineering studies that showed the dam's historic gatehouse dating back to the mid-1930s was not functioning properly and affecting lake water level controls.
"DCNR concluded that this structure was in fair to poor condition, nearing the end of its design life, and should be replaced," Dunn said. "A state grant subsequently was obtained to fund the reconstruction of the tower. Several rehabilitation options were entertained, ranging from complete demolition and reconstruction, to construction of a precast tower upstream of the existing structure, to in-place tower rehabilitation. The last option was selected to preserve the historic character of the structure you see today."
Noting cost of the project exceeded $9 million, Dunn said, "This was a needed investment in the lake's future. The lake is the reason Pymatuning State Park ranks second only to Presque Isle State Park in annual visitors, drawing almost 3,375,000 visitors a year."
The secretary cautioned her listeners about possible negative impacts to park upkeep that a House GOP-proposed budget might have, including crimping future necessary projects like the Pymatuning dam work.
Primary purpose of the dam and reservoir is to regulate flows in the Shenango and Beaver rivers; secondary roles are recreation and flood control. About 1.5 miles north of Jamestown, the lake measures 17,888 acres when at full pool, and is the largest impoundment in Pennsylvania.
The dam is a historically significant structure, eligible for listing with the National Register of Historic Places, and the gatehouse has become an iconic landmark. Gatehouse work, undertaken by Mercer Construction Inc., included: a new, stronger interior structure; an improved unwatering system; and building facelift to include new windows, masonry repointing and new roof shingles.
For more details on Pymatuning and Pennsylvania's other 120 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ (Select State Parks.)