Happel’s Meadow Advisory Committee to build Boardwalk

Bobcat Lynx hunting mice at Happel's Meadow, circa 2000, photo by Jay Frech

The Happel’s Meadow Advisory Committee is preparing plans to build a boardwalk and dock. The purpose is to allow many more people to see what an Army Corps of Engineers representative described as “. . . an incredibly diverse site!”. They are looking for people in the community who would like to help make this happen.

The wetlands along Rt 16 east of the Appalacian Trail and west of Blue Ridge Summit was once an agricultural area with a long history serving the Blue Ridge Summit and High Rock resort area. Happel’s Meadow is now a protected wetlands owned by Washington Township and regulated by the Army Corp of Engineers.

Frank Shockey, current chair of the advisory committee, was enthusiastic at a meeting at the Washington Township offices on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. “My predecessors over the past two years have moved us forward a great deal” said Shockey. “We just need a steady hand on the tiller”.

Under former chair Doris Goldman, the committee explored the possibility with the Army Corps and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They walked the area with the Corps, DEP and several local engineers to sort out where and how such a boardwalk could be constructed with little impact on the habitat. This resulted the model briefed to township supervisors in February 2023.

“Model of Happel’s Meadow boardwalk and dock by Don Embly and Rex Benshoff

The committee faces a big hurdle with permitting and studies that need to be accomplished before construction can begin. “It’s a great relief to have the support of the township as we proceed” said Melodie Anderson Smith, a former advisory committee member. “We may find some donors near term so we can get a contractor to help us through the permitting process, but the township has offered help through their grant writer”.

The committee is also grateful for expressions of support from the Antietam Watershed Association.

“That still leaves a lot of details to take care of while permiting proceeds” said Shockey. The committee will announce a follow up meeting to bring everyone up to date on the current status and work to be done.

If you are interested in joining the project, send an email titled “Happel’s Meadow” with your name and contact information to [email protected].

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