BERKS, Pa. | On a hike, nature is all around you. Look around and you could see a turtle, or a frog who had just jumped in the lake, or even a family of geese nearby. And all this, just on a morning walk.
Imagine what you'll find at Antietam Lake Park if you're there for awhile.
Environmental Education Programs Supervisor for the Berks County Parks Department, Jennifer Brooks, gave 69 News reporters a tour.
“It is so peaceful. we have a lot of birds, as you can hear, that are migrating through the area,” said Brooks.
Interesting birds fly everywhere in the park, like bald eagles, osprey, and occasionally some loons.
69 reporters parked near the lake, the view local residents probably know, as Antietam Lake Park is mostly in the Lower Alsace Township area.
Antietam Lake Park is part of the Mount Penn Preserve. There are thousands of acres of land to explore in this beloved park.
“The main feature of the park is this beautiful, majestic lake that is stocked by the PA Fish and Boat Commission.” says Brooks.
Back in 1865, the city bought a dam and gristmill on Antietam Creek. They believed it was a good piece of land to buy, because water could flow easily with gravity to Reading. The lake was closed as a reservoir in 1974, and is still in the park today thanks to a push from a local conservation group in the early 2000s.
“There's a waterfall, it's what was constructed as the spillway for the lake where the dam is and it is the only waterfall in Berks County. “ says Brooks.
There's no hiking near it, but you can hear and see it from the road, according to 69 News reporters who visited the park.
The Mud Catcher Trail holds the seven step dam, which was created as an aeration system. As the water travels down, it creates more oxygen and catches the sediment, helping to naturally clean the water.
In the woods, don't forget to look up. The mature forests are home to some beautiful trees, and look down too, you might catch a glimpse of rare plants like puttyroot and the nodding trillium.
There are mountain biking and hiking trails that were originally created as fire trails on the mountain when it was a tourist destination, and there even used to be a resort up top.
“It's right in our backyard and the hiking trails are absolutely amazing.” says Brooks.