Kinzua Bridge Foundations Executive Board
Mary Ann Burggraf, Executive Director;
New Visitors Center Underway
The next meeting for the Kinzua Bridge Foundation will be Thursday, September 18, 2014 - Barrel House Restaurant, Lantz Corners - 5pm
Celebrating Kinzua Bridge State Park 50th !
10 Year acknowledgement Tornado destruction to Viaduct & Park – 2003
20th Anniversary Kinzua Bridge Foundation - 1993
New 50th Anniversary Kinzua Bridge State Park Shirts!
Thousands attended the 18th annual Kinzua Bridge 2-day Fall Festival on September 21 and 22, 2013. Some 90 plus food, arts and craft vendors along with continuous live musical entertainment, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Kinzua Bridge State Park. Sunday brought a record-breaking attendance of approximately 16,000 attendees.
The 50th anniversary celebration included a 21 balloon salute by children from the skywalk commemorating the 10th anniversary of the F-1 tornado which forever changed the once, "Eighth Wonder of the World". Youngsters, as in the past years, loved their rides in the Zem Zem cars along with horse and pony rides both days provided by the 4H club of McKean County.
Kinzua Bridge Foundation thanks all participants, supporters, and attendees
Kinzua Bridge State Park was designated as State Park of the Year 2012, by the Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation.
Award placed in glass display case at McKean County Courthouse.
The Kinzua Bridge Foundation extends their appreciation to the McKean County Historical Society in displaying the “One Time” Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation 2012 Award.
Ribbon cutting was held Sept 15, 2011 on "Kinzua Viaduct Re-Opening".
4.5 million dollar project - Deck built on the remains of the historic railroad bridge, located at the Kinzua Bridge State Park in northwestern Pennsylvania near Mount Jewett, PA.
From left, state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, and state Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, stand near the site of the future visitor center/park office at Kinzua Bridge State Park near Mount Jewett. State and area officials and local residents turned out for a groundbreaking ceremony.
Groundbreaking Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center
Groundbreaking held on Thursday for a multimillion-dollar, long-awaited visitor center/park office at Kinzua Bridge State Park marks a new chapter in the attraction’s history.
The facility — on the drawing board for five years — will include two exhibit halls showcasing displays like a stylized excursion train car where people can watch a short video.
The approximately $6.8 million construction project is expected to be finished in the fall of 2015.
“It has just been for me — and I think for all of us here today — a journey that began in a very tragic way with the bridge going down and culminating here today with a groundbreaking for something that I think was really the right vision,” said state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway. “And the right vision was a year-round — all four seasons — usage and attraction to this great state park.”
The 2,800-square-foot facility will have two exhibit halls, a lobby, park administrative offices, public restrooms, and classroom space. The project also includes a maintenance building.
Scarnati called Kinzua Bridge State Park a crown jewel of Pennsylvania’s state park system. The state park comprises 329 acres and showcases the remnants of the 2,053-foot-long railroad structure that was rebuilt from steel in 1900.
Kinzua Bridge Foundation executive director Mary Ann Burggraf said the center will be one of a kind, like the Kinzua Viaduct.
At one point, the state park made Pennsylvania’s top-10 list of state parks eyed for closure.
This time, the center will be on the top-10 state parks to see in Pennsylvania, she said.
“The Kinzua Bridge Foundation is thrilled the construction will start soon for the Kinzua Bridge State Park,” Burggraf said. “This will be a real asset to the entire region and a significant positive impact with the visitors, marking another great moment in time for our Kinzua Bridge State Park.”
Officials expect interpretive exhibits for the facility to be completed at the same time as construction. The theme will include geography of the Allegheny Plateau; the viaduct as a symbol of the engineering industry advances that supported the Industrial Revolution, and as an inspiring reminder of the inventiveness, resourcefulness for experiencing natural beautify, observing wildlife and participating in recreational activities at the state park and the greater Pennsylvania Wilds. The bridge and the observation deck will remain open as the center is being constructed.
“The state park plays a vital role in the county,” McKean County Commissioner chairman Joe DeMott said.
DeMott touted tourism in McKean County, saying that in 2012 that brought in $173.4 million in direct sales for businesses.
“About 158,000 visitors annually stop at Kinzua Bridge State Park to stroll out into the valley and peer through the glass bottom observation area on the remaining half of the railroad bridge impacted by the tornado,” said DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “This new center will welcome them and help them understand the history of the bridge and the area, as well as share some things to do in the park and the region.”
Ferretti said the state is happy to be breaking ground on the facility, understanding its importance for McKean County. The general contractor for the state capital project is JC Orr of Altoona.
“This is an investment in our state park,” said state Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint.
Causer said he is looking forward to the exhibits, which will provide education opportunities. People will learn about the area’s history — they’ll see “where we come from and where we’re heading,” Causer said.
In 2003, a tornado toppled sections of the Kinzua Viaduct. In 2011, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) opened a pedestrian walkway with a glass bottom that allows people to see into the Kinzua Gorge. Now a visitor center will be located at the state park.
DCNR announces contract for Kinzua Bridge State Park office/visitor center
“After completing the skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park in 2011, we are now ready to move forward with the next phase of amenities -- a visitor center to welcome people and provide interpretation of the park’s history, and the recreational opportunities not only onsite, but in the Pennsylvania Wilds region," Ferretti said.
This project is part of Enhance Penn’s Woods—a two-year, more than $200 million initiative launched by Governor Tom Corbett to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
Contracts have been awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to JC Orr of Altoona, $4.7 million for general contract work; W.C Eshenaur & Son of Harrisburg, $853,000 for HVAC system; A&MP Electric Inc. of Guys Mills, $614,000 for electrical work; and Rabe Environmental Systems, Erie, $707,500 for plumbing. The funds for the work are provided by the state’s capital budget.
A groundbreaking event will be held at the park on Aug. 21.
“Planning and preparations for the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center have been in progress for the past several years,” Sen. Joseph Scarnati said. “I am grateful to Secretary Ferretti and Governor Corbett for supporting this important investment in our region. This state of the art facility will help to provide numerous recreational and educational opportunities, while also fostering economic development for the surrounding area. I am very pleased to be a part this project and look forward to witnessing the positive effects of the center in years to come.”
The visitor center will house 2,800-square feet of space in two exhibit halls and a lobby; park administratve offices; public restrooms; and classroom space. The project also includes a maintenance building.
The building will seek LEED certification and will include water efficient plumbing fixtures; geothermal heating and cooling system; regionally sourced materials with a high level of recycled content; sustainably certified wood; and diversion of construction debris and waste to recycling centers instead of landfills.
The work is expected to be complete by fall of 2015.
The 329-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park features remnants of the 2,053-foot long viaduct that was first built of iron in 1882, and then rebuilt of steel in 1900. The viaduct, commonly referred to as a railroad bridge, is series of arches that carry the railroad over the wide valley.
The viaduct was toppled by a tornado in 2003. In 2011, DCNR opened a pedestrian walkway with a glass-bottom observation area down into the Kinzua Gorge on the remaining half of the bridge.
The bridge and observation deck will remain open during construction of the office and visitor center.
For more information about Kinzua Bridge State Park visit the DCNR website here or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS.
The Commemorative "Personalize Brick" is an on going fundraising campaign. Orders may be placed anytime. Just print and submit an Order Form
Certificate of Authenticity will be sent to you for your records. Purchase a brick with your business, industry name, organization, group, family name, etc. engraved on it for placement in the new pathway to the Kinzua Viaduct. Thank you for your support and appreciate all donations for the future development of the Kinzua Bridge State Park.
(click image to print)
We love hearing from our visitors. Please e-mail us to share your stories, experiences, and memories
as well as any comments, suggestions, or feedback you may have. We value and truly appreciate your input!
Commemorative Brick Program
Commemorative Brick Order Form
Donations can be made to:
Kinzua Bridge Foundation, Inc.
c/o Hamlin Bank & Trust Company
34 Fraley Street
Kane, PA 16735
Contact for Kinzua Bridge State Park Office:
|533 State Park Road|
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