Kinzua Bridge


brochure Kinzua Bridge - Brochure

Brochure of Kinzua Bridge State Park (SP) in Pennsylvania. Published by Pennsylvania State Parks.

Kinzua Bridge State Park History Located in McKean County, 339-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park is home to the reinvented skywalk. The viaduct, once the longest and tallest railroad structure at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high, was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003. Reinvented as a pedestrian walkway in 2011, visitors can walk out 600 feet on the remaining support towers, gaze into the Kinzua Creek Valley, and look down through the partial glass platform at the end of the skywalk. The visitor center and park office features great views, self-guided exhibits, and information on the surrounding area. Construction of the iron viaduct began in 1881, starting with the placement of the stone piers. When completed in 1882, the Kinzua Bridge Viaduct was the highest railroad viaduct in the world. It was constructed as an alternative to laying an additional eight miles of track over rough terrain along the line leading to McKean County’s coal, timber, and oil lands. Built of iron, the original viaduct was approximately 301 feet high, 2053 feet long, and weighed 3,105,000 pounds. The towers were a patented design called Phoenix Columns. The columns were lighter in weight and had greater strength than cast iron columns of similar shape and size. Skywalk Advisory: The skywalk will be closed when weather conditions are unsafe due to frost and ice in late fall through winter. Contact park for current conditions. Directions Kinzua Bridge State Park is four miles north of US Route 6 at Mount Jewett on SR 3011. Use the following address for GPS devices: 1721 Lindholm Drive, Mount Jewett 16740 GPS DD: Lat. 41.75953 Long. -78.58702 Seasons and Hours The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Contact the park office for seasonal visitor center and park office hours. There is no charge to enter the park, walk on the skywalk, or view the exhibits in the visitor center and park office. Recreational Opportunities RECREATION ADVISORY: Due to unsafe conditions around the downed towers, visitors are prohibited from walking near the downed towers and debris field as indicated on the map. SCENIC VIEWS: The skywalk gives close-up views of the viaduct and wide views of the Kinzua Creek Valley. The overlook is excellent for viewing both the skywalk and valley. Both locations are ideal for viewing fall foliage, which usually peaks in the first two weeks of October. PICNIKING: An ADA accessible pavilion that can accommodate up to 60 people is located across the parking lot from the visitor center. The pavilion may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a rental fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free and may be used on a first-come, firstserved basis. This area also contains picnic tables, many of which are in full to partial shade. HUNTING AND FIREARMS: Approximately 275 acres of Kinzua Bridge State Park are open to hunting, trapping, and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are bear, deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, and squirrel. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information. Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during nonhunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park. SNOWSHOEING: Snowshoes in a variety of sizes are available at the visitor center and park office for use on hikes through the park. If you are interested, please call the visitor center and park office to reserve a pair of snowshoes. A valid Pennsylvania driver’s license is required. Snowshoes are available on a first come, first served basis when there is sufficient snow covering (at least 5 inches). Park staff offer visitors a brief beginner lesson and a program on the history of snowshoeing. Current winter conditions can be found at Environmental Education and Interpretation Kinzua Bridge State Park offers year-round environmental education, recreational, and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks, impromptus, and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. TEACHER TRAINING: A variety of natural history and curricula workshops are available to teachers. These workshops are designed to provide information and ideas that can easily be integrated into the classroom. SCHOOL GROUPS: Programs focus on the themes of engineering, environment, nature, energy, and history. They correlate to Pennsylvania Academic Standards, vary in length, and most are STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related. Some programs begin in the school classroom and follow-up with a field learning experience at the park. These offerings are also available for homeschool groups. Contact the park for the program offering brochure, to request a specific topic, or to inquire about availability. All programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the park office. TOUR GROUPS: The park is motor coach, bus, and RV friendly. Buses may drive directly to the entrance of the visitor center and park office to drop off and pick up groups. Participants may explore the exhibits on both levels, join staff for a guided walk on the skywalk, and visit the gift shop. All guided activities must be scheduled in advance using the online form at The Kinzua Bridge Foundation, Inc. organizes a yearly fall festival that is held for two days during the third weekend of September that includes arts, crafts, food vendors, and musical entertainment. By 1900, it became necessary to rebuild the entire structure with steel to accommodate heavier trains. It took 40 to 150 men, working ten-hour shifts, to complete the job in 105 days. The new steel viaduct had the same measurements but now weighed around 6,706,000 pounds. Freight traffic discontinued in 1959. In 1963, Governor William Scranton signed a law that created Kinzua Bridge State Park. The park officially opened in 1970. The Kinzua Viaduct received national recognition when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks in 1977. Beginning in 1987, excursion trains traveled from Marienville, Pennsylvania, through the Allegheny National Forest and stopped at the Kinzua Viaduct before returning to their point of origin. In February 2002, Department of Conservation and Natural Resource (DCNR) engineers determined that the structure needed a full-scale inspection. By June, excursion trains were barred from the bridge. During the inspection engineers found sections of steel were rusted through. In August, the bridge was closed to all traffic, including pedestrians. Engineers determined high winds could create lateral pressure on the bridge, causing it to shift the center of gravity, thus increasing the weight on one side. Such an event could send the whole bridge crashing to the bottom of the Kinzua Creek Valley. In February 2003, W.M. Brode Company of Newcomerstown, Ohio, a national leader in railroad bridge construction and repair, began working to restore the Kinzua Viaduct. Then on Monday, July 21, 2003, at approximately 3:15 PM, an F1 tornado (winds speeds of 73-112 miles per hour) struck the side of the Kinzua Viaduct. Eleven towers from the center of the bridge were torn from their concrete bases and thrown to the valley floor. Today, park visitors can once again walk a portion of the Kinzua Viaduct. Built on six restored original towers, a pedestrian walkway (skywalk) leads to a 225-foot-high observation deck that gives a towering view of the Kinzua Creek Valley. A partial glass floor in the deck reveals a breathtaking glimpse into the steel structure of the bridge. The eleven twisted and scattered towers blown over by the tornado remain at the bottom of the valley. Several benches line the paved walkway to the skywalk. The picture taking platform under the skywalk allows visitors to photograph themselves and the remaining support towers in a 3D effect, similar to what visitors saw prior to the towers falling in 2003 ORGANIZED GROUPS: Programs are also offered for scout, 4-H, church, or other community groups interested in visiting the park and learning more by participating in a program or guided activity. Programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the park office. Special Events Extensive logging from 1890 to 1930 led to the Allegheny hardwood forest that now covers most of the region. The forest in and around the park consists mainly of black cherry, sugar maple, white ash, American beech, as well as other trees and shrubs. These northern hardwoods attract thousands of visitors every fall to the skywalk to view the changing of the leaves. Conifers, including the eastern hemlock (our state tree) and eastern white pine, are also found throughout the region. Areas where swaths of mature trees were blown down during the tornado now contain small trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, providing for a greater diversity of wildlife habitat. Adding to the park’s beauty, wildflowers can be found throughout the seasons. Look for painted trilliums, spring beauties, and trout lilies in the spring, or jack-in-the-pulpits, Indian pipes, and asters during the summer. Local wildlife includes black bear, white-tailed deer, turkey, grouse, coyote, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, porcupine, bobcat, raccoon, saw-whet and barred owls, and numerous songbirds. From the skywalk and other park overlooks, turkey vultures are often seen circling on the summer air currents. In winter, red-tailed hawks can be seen doing the same. Occasionally, a bald eagle is observed flying over the valley. • Walk softly and crouch behind trees or rocks to blend in and break up your outline. WILDLIFE WATCHING TIPS • Film and photograph wildlife responsibly. When watching wildlife, keep in mind the following tips to enhance the quality of your viewing experience. • If an animal shows stress, move away. Fade into the woodwork: • Wear dull colors that will not contrast with your surroundings. Kinzua Bridge State Park Think like an animal: • Imagine how the animal you are seeking spends its day. Check field guides to find out about preferred habitats. • As a rule, the border between two habitats is a good place to see residents from both places. • Dusk and dawn are usually the best times of day for viewing. • Consider the weather. For instance, after a rain, many animals emerge to feed. Let animals be themselves: • Resist the temptation to ‘save’ young animals. The mother is usually watching from a safe distance. • Give nests a wide berth. Your visit may lead predators to the nest. • Let animals eat their natural foods. Sharing your sandwich may harm the digestive systems of wild animals and get animals hooked on handouts. Viewing etiquette: • Leave pets at home. • Observe from a distance. • Stay on trails to lessen impact. • Treat others courteously. • Report inappropriate behavior to the authorities. Visitor Center and Park Office The Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office opened on July 1, 2016. It provides a location for visitors to interact with park staff, explore the history of the viaduct, and learn more about the natural landscape and wildlife. The visitor center features a reception area, gift shop, spectacular view of the skywalk, and two levels of self-guided and interactive exhibits that focus on engineering, environment, nature, energy, and history as they relate to the viaduct and local area. Some of the exhibits are hands-on for the enjoyment of all ages, while others include videos and original artifacts. For More Information Contact: Kinzua Bridge State Park 296 Viaduct Road Kane, PA 16735 814-778-5467 email: GPS DD: Lat: 41.75953 Long. -78.58702 An Equal Opportunity Employer Information and Reservations Make online reservations at or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday, for state park information and reservations. visitPAparks Printed on recycled paper Information on nearby attractions is available from: Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, 800-473-9370. Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, 814-849-5197. Located in the rugged mountains of northern Pennsylvania, the 3,192-acre Elk State Park surrounds the 1,106-acre East Branch Lake formed by the East Branch Dam. Recreational opportunities include unlimited horsepower motor boating, waterskiing, hiking, fishing, and hunting. Situated in a small valley surrounded picturesque hills, the 100-acre Bendigo State Park is located along the East Branch of the Clarion River. The park contains a swimming pool, playground, and playing fields. Recreational opportunities include picnicking and fishing. This symbol indicates facilities and activities that are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible for people with disabilities. This publication text is available in alternative formats. If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit. 2017 Protect and Preserve Our Parks Nearby Attractions Access for People with Disabilities Photo by Lindsey Kerlin The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Kinzua Viaduct, the promotion of the viaduct’s historical and cultural significance, as well as supporting the state park. A Pennsylvania Recreational Guide for Natural History Kinzua Dam, one of the largest dams in the United States east of the Mississippi River, is in Warren County within the Allegheny National Forest. In addition to providing flood control and power generation, the dam created Pennsylvania’s second deepest lake, the Allegheny Reservoir. Recreational opportunities include boating, camping, hiking, and snowmobiling. Allegheny National Forest (ANF), Pennsylvania’s only national forest, is approximately 517,000 acres within Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren counties. Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the ANF is composed of plateau tops with elevations up to nearly 2,300 feet. The motto “Land of Many Uses” captures the national forest goal of a healthy, vigorous forest that provides wood products, watershed protection, a variety of wildlife habitats, and recreational opportunities.  In an Emergency Call 911 and contact a park employee. Directions to the nearest hospital are posted on bulletin boards and at the visitors center and park office. NEAREST HOSPITAL Kane Community Hospital 4372 Route 6 Kane, PA 16735 814-837-8585 Please make your visit safe and enjoyable. Obey all posted rules and regulations and respect fellow visitors and the resources of the park. • Be prepared and bring the proper equipment. Natural areas may possess hazards. Your personal safety and that of your family is your responsibility. • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. • Because uncontrolled pets may chase wildlife or frighten visitors, pets must be physically controlled and attended at all times and on a leash, caged, or crated. Electronic fences and leashes are prohibited. • Do your part to keep wildlife wild! Enjoy wildlife from a safe distance and do not feed or approach wild animals. • Please park only in designated areas and obey all traffic regulations. • Please recycle. Place trash accumulated during your stay in proper receptacles or take it home with you. • Soliciting and posting signs are prohibited without approval from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Hiking: 2.0 miles of trails GENERAL KANE TRAIL: 1.6 miles, easiest hiking The trail begins and ends at the overflow parking area and wanders through hardwood forests of black cherry and maple trees, which have been ravaged and renewed by nature since the 2003 tornado. The loop trail is named for General Thomas Leiper Kane, the visionary behind the Kinzua Viaduct. During the Civil War, Kane assembled the famed Bucktail Regiment. He also supported slave rights and, later, the Latter-day Saints movement as it migrated westward. KINZUA CREEK TRAIL: 0.4 mile (one way), most difficult hiking This steep and challenging trail should only be attempted by visitors with proper footwear and hiking experience. The trail begins on the paved walkway to the overlook and switchbacks to the valley bottom, giving close-up views of the supports for the skywalk and spectacular views of the fallen towers. The trail ends at the far side of the footbridge at the creek. Entering the debris field is prohibited. Hikers must retrace their steps to the trailhead or use the service road shown on the map. Caution: Hikers on the Kinzua Creek Trail should be in good physical condition, wear sturdy boots, and use caution due to steep trail conditions. The following guidelines will help ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience while at the park. • Always wear sturdy boots. Wearing sneakers, sandals, “water shoes,” and “street shoes” can lead to serious accidents. • Give yourself plenty of time for your hike. Plan to be off the trails well before dark. • Let someone know where you are hiking and when you should return. • Stay on the trails. Leaving the trail causes damage to unique natural resources, promotes erosion, and can be dangerous. • Don’t take shortcuts from one trail section to another. Taking shortcuts down switchbacks is dangerous and causes trail damage. 1. Plan ahead and prepare • Find out about the park you’re visiting before you arrive • Plan for a safe trip, but be ready for anything 2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces • Use existing paths to travel between campsites, picnic areas, shower houses, etc. • Park only in designated areas and obey all traffic regulations 3. Dispose of waste properly • Do not burn food and trash in campfires • Place trash in dumpsters, not laundry areas • PLEASE RECYCLE 4. Leave what you find • Observe, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts • Leave picnic tables where you find them • Avoid introducing/transporting non-native plant species. Leave wildflowers in place for all to enjoy 5. Minimize campfire impacts • Use a gas-fueled stove for cooking, it’s easier to cook on and clean up afterwards • Build fires only in designated campfire rings or grills • Extinguish all fires and charcoal completely before leaving a campsite 6. Respect Wildlife • DO NOT approach wild animals; observe from a distance • Never feed wild animals, including ducks and geese • Keep wildlife wild by allowing them to forage for food on their own • Store food and trash securely 7. Be considerate of other visitors • Keep noise down when using the park • Where pets are allowed, keep them on a leash and clean up and dispose of pet waste properly • Be courteous when using trails, yield to other hikers • Always leave the area cleaner than when you found it

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