DCNR Breaks Ground for New Economically Sustainable Visitor Center at Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County

October 25, 2018

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined Bureau of State Parks officials on Tuesday in breaking ground for a new visitor center at Hickory Run State Park, near White Haven, Carbon County.

“The visitor center will serve as a main contact point for visitors providing new exhibit space, comfort facilities, campground registration, and park administrative services,” Dunn said. “This new park facility will also offer visitors expanded environmental education and the latest in energy efficient heating, cooling, and lighting.”

In line with the Wolf Administration’s initiative stressing energy efficiency and sustainability, the structure will be built incorporating key Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria.

In cooperation with the state Department of General Services, its construction on a six-acre site will incorporate proven, economically sustainable techniques and technologies including:

Lobby timber trusses and wood paneling made from reclaimed timber and siding;

Rain gardens for onsite storm-water collection and infiltration;

High-performance geothermal heating and cooling;

Maximum utilization of daylighting, combined with controlled, automated user-demand lighting.

Providing modern public comfort facilities, interpretive displays, an in-door classroom, and park administrative areas, the new building will be the hub and primary contact point for information and activities in the park. It will serve as the base of the park’s Environmental and Interpretive Program, enabling staff to oversee year-round programming, group activities and special events, enabling visitors of all ages to better appreciate the natural world around them.

New exhibits will provide a starting point for visitors, equipping them for a variety of meaningful experiences at Hickory Run and Lehigh Gorge State Parks. Exhibits will be designed to entice visitors to explore the parks’ natural and cultural history, while fostering safe, respectful behavior and encouraging conservation of the park for future generations.

Visitors enjoy many activities at Hickory Run State Park Complex including fishing, hunting, swimming, boating, camping, hiking, orienteering, and sightseeing. Two unique activities specific to Lehigh Gorge are whitewater rafting, conducted by four licensed commercial outfitters, and biking along a 26-mile section of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Winter activities include ice-skating, sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Either educator directed or self-guided, the new exhibits, classroom, and teaching porch will provide both indoor and outdoor learning environments designed to create a welcoming atmosphere for park visitors of all ages.

The surrounding environs of the new office will provide the park visitor with outdoor classrooms, wildlife viewing opportunities, over forty miles of nature trails to explore and access information for fishing and hunting excursions within the park.

For more information on Hickory Run State Park and Pennsylvania’s 120 other state parks, visit the DCNR website.