Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Wildlife For Everyone: SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority Contributes In-Kind Gift To Centre County Soaring Eagle Wetland Project

On June 30,
SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority re-committed its agreement to build a new railroad crossing at no cost to provide access to the Soaring Eagle Wetland owned by the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation in Centre County. 
The Foundation will enhance the wetland with features that meet ADA requirements for the recreational needs of all Pennsylvanians, notably those underserved due to physical challenges. 

“The railroad crossing is in disrepair and has inhibited access to the wetland,” notes Jerry Regan, WFEF Board member and chair of the wetland design committee. “A new railroad crossing is the first step in opening up the wetland to a greater number of people. We are grateful to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority for supporting this valuable project that meets an important need.”

The JRA has a longstanding commitment to partnering with the community on betterment projects such as the Soaring Eagle Wetland accessible nature area. 

Jeff Stover, Executive Director of the SEDA-COG JRA, was inspired by the project’s intent to open a nature trail for everyone regardless of physical handicap. 

“We are very pleased to support the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation,” asserts Stover. “SEDA-COG will pay for materials and our operator, Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad, will provide in-kind labor to make the entrance over the railroad tracks easier and safer to cross,” he adds

The WFEF Board of Directors approved an $825,000 budget for Phase One that will include an ADA-compliant trail through the wetland to a handicapped accessible fishing platform overlooking Bald Eagle Creek. 

A parking lot, education pavilion, restroom and observation areas are part of phase one. Regan is optimistic that a solicitation for bids will happen in the fall.

$500,000 in state funds from the Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have been granted for the development of the first phase. 

Regan noted that more support from individual donations will be needed to complete the project as designed in addition to educational signage. A 2021 dedication is anticipated. 

Directions to the Soaring Eagle Wetland may be found on the website.  Questions should be sent by email to: info@wildlifeforeveryone.org or call 814-238-8138. 

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation website.

Related Article:

Wildlife For Everyone: Soaring Eagle Wetland, Centre County

[Posted: June 30, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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