DCNR to Hold Open House to Plan Exhibits for Kinzua Bridge State Park Office and Visitor Center

- Harrisburg – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will hold an open house meeting for stakeholders and interested members of the public on June 18 to help plan the interpretive exhibits that will be included in a new park office/visitor center at Kinzua Bridge State Park, McKean County.

The meeting will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Mount Jewett Fire Hall at 2 Gallup Ave., Mount Jewett, PA, 16740. Attendees may participate in part or all of the session.

“The viaduct at Kinzua Bridge State Park is one of the premier tourist attractions in McKean County and the Pennsylvania Wilds, and we have many partners who over the years have contributed to its promotion and success,” DCNR Bureau of State Parks Director Dave Kemmerer said. “This planning session will be an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to help us form the exhibits and educational information in the new center that will add to a quality visitor experience at the park.”

The agenda for the meeting includes a project overview, presentation of a draft concept plan and an open session where participants can provide comments. Refreshments will be provided.

Anyone interested in attending the meeting is asked to register by contacting park staff at the new Kinzua Bridge State Park at kinzuabridgesp@pa.gov.

Construction on a park office and visitor center at Kinzua Bridge State Park is anticipated to begin sometime this summer, and be completed in the fall of 2015.

The visitor center will house 2,800-square feet of exhibit space in two exhibit halls and a lobby. Themes for the exhibits include:
•The dramatic landscape of the Allegheny Plateau is rich in natural resources. These natural resources have stimulated the regional economy over time and continue to do so today.
•The Kinzua viaduct as a symbol of the engineering industry advances made in the late 1800s that supported the Industrial Revolution.
•The viaduct as an inspiring reminder of the inventiveness, resourcefulness and “can do” spirit of the people of the late-1800s.
•The unique opportunities for experiencing natural beauty, observing wildlife, understanding cultural history, and participating in recreational activities at Kinzua Bridge State Park.

The 329-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park features remnants of the 2,053-foot long viaduct that was first built of iron in 1882, and then rebuilt of steel in 1900. The viaduct, commonly referred to as a railroad bridge, is series of arches that carry the railroad over the wide valley.

The viaduct was toppled by a tornado in 2003. In 2011, DCNR opened a pedestrian walkway with a glass-bottom observation area down into the Kinzua Gorge on the remaining half of the bridge.

The bridge and observation deck will remain open during construction of the office and visitor center.

For more information about Kinzua Bridge State Park visit the DCNR website at www.dcnr.state.pa.us (choose Find a Park) or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS.

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