Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday announced Pennsylvania now has 121 state parks with the addition of Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County.
The 500-acre park that lies along the Delaware River was transferred to DCNR from the PA Historic and Museum Commission as part of legislation that supports the state budget and fiscal code.
"Many of our state parks protect areas or buildings that have cultural and historical significance, so we are equipped to take on the responsibility of conserving the site of George Washington's dramatic boat crossing of the Delaware River during the American Revolution," Dunn said. "Washington Crossing also provides the community and visitors with many types of outdoor recreation, which is a natural fit with DCNR's mission."
Dunn said George Calaba, most recently an assistant park manager at Delaware Canal State Park complex, is now the park manager at Washington Crossing.
DCNR has been working with PHMC since 2013 to plan for the transition.
"DCNR possesses the extra resources needed to maintain the vast natural areas of Washington Crossing and continue the preservation of the site's historic legacy for the public's education and enrichment," said PHMC Executive Director James Vaughan.
Also involved in the transition agreement are major stakeholders, including the Friends of Washington Crossing Historic Park, which currently operates the visitor center; and Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, which is included on the property.
Calaba began his career with DCNR in 2000 as a park manager trainee. Since then, he has held management positions at several state parks including Keystone; Nockamixon; Chapman; and the Colonel Denning and Delaware Canal park complexes.
Calaba is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with advanced degrees in geography and regional planning.
"I am thrilled for this opportunity to build on what the PHMC has accomplished over the past decades and look forward to the challenges of managing this most valued historic, educational, and recreational resource," Calaba said. "Only through continued partnerships, will we ensure its future success."
Washington Crossing Historic Park is a National Historic Landmark. The park has an upper and a lower section. Together they include Colonial buildings that give many clues about living conditions during the Revolutionary era.
Opportunities for recreation include river access for boating; fishing; walking trails; and pavilions for picnicking. The park provides historical and environmental education programs, as well as hosting special events and re-enactments.
Washington Crossing was originally established as a state park in July 1917. The park was transferred to PHMC in 1971, and now returns to the state park system to be managed by DCNR's Bureau of State Parks.For more information, visit DCNR’s Washington Crossing Historic Park webpage. Click Here to sign up for updates on park activities (bottom of the page).