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Fort Halifax Park

Beginning in 2002, Central PA Conservancy and community members rallied to save an extraordinary farm on banks of the Susquehanna River. Four years later, partners celebrated the +$1,500,000 million acquisition. Having purchased the farm, CPC entrusted the new preserve to the stewardship of Halifax Township. Local citizens have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, each year making progress to transform the nascent preserve into a regional destination.

This special place has been so significant to generations before and is situated at the contemporary intersection of extraordinary conservation values. CPC saw that it was filled with promise to advance the Conservancy’s mission by meaningfully connecting folks with natural and cultural heritage.

The park affords extraordinary experiences of the river and forested islands, situated on the Susquehanna adjacent to Game Lands. An 1840s home and barn on the property are the most striking affirmation of this special setting’s productivity and historic appeal. Beneath foot, though, is the evidence for millennia of indigenous use, making the Preserve and adjacent Clemson Island one of the finest Paleo-Indian archaeological complexes on the Susquehanna.

As frontier tensions erupted into the French-and-Indian-War, colonists erected and garrisoned Fort Halifax on this strategic shoreline. Barges and wagon-trains launched supplies north. Centuries obscured the original Fort–160 feet long on each side–but archaeological investigations in 2021 promise to uncover this element of our national heritage. Ground-penetrating radar, metal detection, and excavation will hopefully reveal the origins of 18th-century artifacts identified by previous field research.

Today, the Park is a peaceful destination. It is frequented by folks sauntering, naturalizing, walking dogs, kayaking, watching wildlife, shooting family photos, and taking in the outdoors. Caring for and celebrating this special place draws together extraordinary people. Citizens incorporated as Friends of Fort Halifax Park, adopted the preserve, and host festivals each year. Living-history reenactments and colonial demonstrations are favorites for guests of all ages.

Presently, the future of the barn and original farmhouse are in jeopardy. For ten years, the structures have sat vacant aside from Township maintenance equipment. Now the Township has taken bids for demolition. The Friends’ vision involves the rehabilitated structures as a cornerstone of the Park’s next stage of improvement. They would be reused for a kayak livery, restrooms, meetings, festivals, and public or private events. Village Restorations, contracted by the Friends, prepared a feasibility assessment, estimate, and phased plans for that alternative. Community support is badly needed to save these iconic structures and support Fort Halifax Park.

For directions: Google Maps

For more information or to support Fort Halifax Park visit: https://www.forthalifaxpark.org/

 

 

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