Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Columbia County Takes Ownership Of Rishel Grove Conservation Area Along The Susquehanna River

Columbia County is now the proud owner of over 130 acres along the Susquehanna River. The Montour Township property was donated to the County by the Estate of Vera Grove Rishel.
Vera Grove Rishel passed away in 2009. Her wish to preserve her land in the way “the Indians would have inhabited the lands,” was a two-step process. The Estate first donated a conservation easement to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, and then donated title to the property to the County.
Vera Grove Rishel studied in London and spent time in Europe, but her heart was always in central Pennsylvania. She and her husband lived most of their lives here and enjoyed living near the Susquehanna River and watching the landscape change with the seasons.
“Vera would be thrilled to know Columbia County owns the property and will be keeping it in its natural state. She enjoyed the property’s history especially knowing Native American Indians used to travel the banks of the Susquehanna,” said Executor Andrew Pruden.
Legion Road runs through the middle of the property. The road parallels the Susquehanna River and is a scenic drive with views of the River and large farm fields. The fields are great areas for birders to catch a glimpse of a variety of birds using the fields and field edges.
A rail line parallels the towpath from the former North Branch Canal through the southern section of the property.
The Montour Area Recreation Commission is coordinating the bi-county effort to develop the North Branch Canal Trail using the old towpath and is actively working now to secure funding to make some of the necessary improvements to make the Trail user friendly. Nearly 1 mile of the Trail will run through the property, allowing views of both the old canal and the Susquehanna River.
According to the Montour Area Recreation Commission’s website, construction began on the North Branch Canal in 1828. The canal served as a shipping route and transportation corridor from 1831 until it was decommissioned in 1901. By 1901 railroads made the canal obsolete.
During its operation, the North Branch Canal carried raw materials and products such as anthracite coal, pig iron, limestone, brick, lumber, and farm products. It also connected the river towns and carried news and gossip.
The canal is a linear channel paralleled by an elevated towpath. Structures such as locks, stone retaining walls and aqueducts are found all along the canal’s channel.
Commissioner Chris Young commented, “There are a lot of birds that use the River during migrations. This property will give people a place to take a walk, enjoy the River, and watch for wildlife. The property has fields that are used year round by hawks and other raptors hunting from the trees at the edge.”
“We’re looking forward to the full length of the North Branch Canal Trail being open. The Project is a great opportunity to create a walking and biking trail linking Catawissa to Danville,” said Commissioner Rick Ridgway.
Commissioner David M. Kovach added, “The trail won’t just link communities, but it will increase recreational options for residents of Columbia County, provide economic benefits to businesses in the County, and connect people to the history of the Susquehanna River and the historic North Branch Canal.”
The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy’s board chair, Steve Schopfer noted, “We’re looking forward to working with the County as they manage the property and work to interpret the canal’s history and the natural environment.”
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy website.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner