$2 million project unveiled at Antietam Lake

'This summer, it's going to be fabulous'

LOWER ALSACE TWP., Pa. - Big changes to Antietam Lake Park mean going for a stroll could feel like strolling through Berks County's rich past.

"There's a ton of history," said Christopher Stress, the director of the county's Parks and Recreation Department.

Antietam Lake Park dates back to the Civil War period. Stress said he hopes new changes will encourage more people to enjoy the history.

The roughly $2 million project took more than five years of planning and one year of construction. 

"We went out and went after grant funding sources. Really no tax dollars involved in this," said Stress.

The park unveiled five major renovations.

"Mother trees are in many state and national parks, including at the White House, but this is the first one," Stress said.

The new Mother's Tree plaza across from the original valve house pays tribute to the first mother tree planted in 1923.

The park updates also mean double the amount of parking.

"This was gravel for probably the last 100 years," said Stress of the parking area on Angora Road.

The project updated trails throughout the park, including adding a bridge near the old mudcatcher area, which was used to separate water. 

Renovations also renewed the Bingaman house. It's now a center for educational activities.

"The goal here and the importance of this is to have more people understand their parks," said Stress.

The park has 14 miles of trails throughout its 630 acres.

The project created a new parking lot and walkway along a stream called Stone Wall Creek. Down the path, a sign shows pictures of the Hinnershitz Dam, which was torn down to allow fish to swim upstream.

The revamped park includes more paths, more seating areas, and more historical markers.

"It's a terrific spot, and this summer, it's going to be fabulous. People will, I'm sure, enjoy it. You can already see the grass poking through the snow. It's a good thing.

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