Preserves

Protecting the land, providing recreation

Holtwood

 

Points of Interest

For a map showing how to get there, click here.

 

Face Rock Overlook

This observation point is located off Old Holtwood Road in Lancaster County. It offers a view of the Holtwood dam, power plant, fish lift and Susquehanna River. Interpretive signs and a map provide visitors with important information about the area. Picnic facilities are available.

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Fish Lifts

PPL and other utilities, in a joint public-private partnership, are helping the American shad make a comeback. Like salmon, the fish spend most of their lives in saltwater but spawn in fresh water. With the completion of the lifts at Holtwood and Safe Harbor dams, more than 200 miles of the Susquehanna River are open to American shad.

The Holtwood facility acts like an elevator, safely carrying the silvery fish over the dam and channeling them into the river, where they continue their upstream migration to spawning areas in the Susquehanna River watershed. The Holtwood facility contains two separate hoppers to accommodate the flow of the river and the layout of the dam and powerhouse, making this the largest operating fish lift in the United States. Lifts are operated during the spring migration season. They are capable of lifting tens of thousands of shad over the dam each season. In 2001, Holtwood's shad lifts transported more than 100,000 American shad upstream. It was the largest spawning run in more than a century, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

American shad have been called the "poor man's salmon." Native Americans harvested shad during the annual spring spawning runs and taught colonists how to catch shad to feed their families. Dried shad have been credited with saving George Washington's troops from starvation as they camped along the Schuylkill River at Valley Forge. By the 1800s shad became one of the most commercially valuable fish in Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. By the early 1900s, water pollution and dams in the lower Susquehanna River depleted shad populations.

Shad spend most of their lives along the Atlantic seaboard from Labrador to Florida. Rising spring temperatures prompt shad to leave the ocean and return to the rivers where they were born. The migration season usually begins in late April and ends in mid-June. Males arrive at spawning grounds first, followed by egg-laden females. A female releases 100,000 to 600,000 eggs, or roe, into the water to be fertilized by several males.

The young hatch in four to 12 days. Fry or juvenile shad spend their first summer in freshwater. Young shad serve as a food source for other fish such as smallmouth bass, bluefish and striped bass. By autumn, the shad swim to the ocean where the cycle is completed.

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Indian Steps Museum

Located a mile south of the Otter Creek Recreation Area off Route 425, the museum and its 10 acres on PPL land are operated by the Conservation Society of York County. It contains Indian artifacts found on or near the site and dating from as early as 2000 B.C. The grounds are dotted with hollies, including a 300-year-old American holly tree reported to be the largest north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The museum is open mid-April through mid-October.Phone: 717-862-3948.

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Lock 12 Historic Area

Lock 12 is one of the most well-preserved locks of the old Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, built between 1836 and 1839 for commerce between the greater Harrisburg area and the Chesapeake Bay. Lock 12 is located in York County along Route 372 near the Norman Wood Bridge. Nearby, several hundred feet up Anderson's Run, is a restored double lime kiln and the remains of a sawmill and its dam, pond and millrace.

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Pinnacle Overlook

This overlook, located on the east side of the Susquehanna River off Pinnacle Road, features a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River and Lake Aldred. It's just the place for a picnic with picnic tables, water and toilets provided. Pinnacle is a popular hiking area and is the northern start/stop point for the Kelly's Run Pinnacle Trail System.

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Shenk's Ferry Wildflower Preserve

Shenk's Ferry Wildlife Preserve is one of the most impressive wildflower areas in the eastern United States and certainly one of the most popular natural locations in Lancaster County. PPL takes pride in preserving the glen as a wildflower sanctuary.

Located just north of Pequea along the Susquehanna River in southern Lancaster County, the 50-acre glen surrounds Grubb Run off of Green Hill Road.

The main wildflower trail is approximately 1 mile long and follows Grubb Run along easy walking path on fairly flat terrain.

At least 73 species of flowers bloom from mid-March until the end of May. More than 60 other species of flowers bloom during the summer and fall. Some of the more common flowers include Dutchman's breeches, wild geranium, wild ginger, Virginia bluebells, mayapple, trillium and spring beauty.

Shenk’s Ferry Wildflower Preserve is open to the public each day from dawn to dusk. Please stay on the trails and help us preserve the area for future generations.

To view or print a Shenk's Ferry Preserve Brochureclick here.

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