York Town Square

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Where exactly is the York/Lancaster border? Part 2

The view from Highpoint, the Highpoint Scenic Vista and Recreation Area, includes this one to the north toward Wrightsville, showing the bridges crossing the Susquehanna River. Somewhere in that river, York County’s border meets Lancaster’s. Background posts: Murals of York get another colorful panel and How Sam Lewis State Park sightseers view Highpoint’s dome and For years, York countians have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams.

York County’s Lou Carpenter has been an active bird watcher, sometimes called birders, since 1977.
He is at or near the top in the county in number of species seen in 2010 and all time and is the high-count record holder for York County in Cornell’s eBird database with 43 species.
The retired information technology consultant noted that even birders have their controversies, mostly friendly. This one involves a falcon and the Susquehanna River… .

He e-mailed:

“A lot of us ‘birders’ like
to keep lists of which bird we have seen in our home county. When a nice
bird flies up the (Susquehanna) river, there is sometimes a dispute about which county the bird was in, because this affects the lists we keep. The matter came to a
head for me when a Peregrine Falcon was seen on various locations on the
route 30 bridge. No one really knew exactly where the boundary was.”

To bone up on the boundary, the Manchester Township resident went to the library, the York law library, talked to local historians and river planners. He visited the court house to examine the deeds of some riverfront properties.
And pulled it all together with an article, complete with illustration, on his website, York Birdman:
Here’s his conclusion:

“Reduced to a nutshell, the two counties have agreed that York County is responsible for west shore boat launches. So until a typical boat, carrying a typical load, launched from the west shore lifts off the riverbed bottom, it is still touching land and therefore is still in York County. Thus the exact point at which the hull lifts off the riverbed marks the border between the counties. However, there are additional pre-conditions that must be met and exceptions that must be considered.”

And Lou wrote in conclusion:

“One final thought. In reality, it is the courts that have final jurisdiction in boundary disputes. And so I may state with metaphysical certitude that the exact location of the boundary between York and Lancaster Counties is precisely where the judge tells you it is in his ruling. Of course he will follow the precedents, described earlier, in reaching his decision. Much of the boundary has never been litigated, and so much of the boundary is still, 250+ years after being codified, up for discussion and dispute.”

And what were Lou’s conclusions about the falcon in dispute?
“From this illustration I can see that the falcon, perched about one-third of the span from the west shore, was indeed in York County, even though the Lancaster Newspapers boasted otherwise.”
Also of interest:
Part I: Where exactly is the York/Lancaster border?
All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)
York Daily Record/Sunday News photo