York Town Square

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Book about York County parks teaches 4 ‘Ps’: Parks, People, Preservation, Public Policy

South Central Pennsylvania parks

In her 150-page book ‘Parks, People, Preservation, and Public Policy,’ York County, Pa.,’s Eleanor Boggs Shoemaker traces the origin of York County parks from the department’s beginning in developing Rocky Ridge in 1968 to acquisition of Native Lands County Park in 2009. Also of interest: Local county and state parks: York County’s best idea? and With hot controversy cooled, Highpoint offers Susquehanna River view for the ages and About phone pole playground at Rocky Ridge: ‘Children’s heads got caught in between the logs’

York County commissioners, Sylvia Newcombe and other York County Department of Parks and Recreation members were looking over land near Jacobus that York Barbell’s Bob Hoffman had offered as a donation.
They were canvassing an old farmhouse on the property, a reported gathering place for young people.
The group entered what appeared to be the former living room and were shocked at the graffiti, specializing in four-letter words, that covered the walls.
Mrs. Newcombe was the one to break the embarrassed silence… .

“Well,” she said, “at least they know how to spell.”
This humorous and nostalgic moment from the late 1960s was recounted by former York County Planning Commission director Reed J. “Jack” Dunn in Eleanor Boggs Shoemaker’s “Parks, People, Preservation, and Public Policy.”
The paperback book is packed with stories about the park’s first four decades and then filled to the top with facts, dates, lists and photos.
And valuable history.
For example, Shoemaker places the start of the 11-park county system after 1965, when Jack Dunn came to the county planning department.
In those days, York County was a manufacturing hub but population growth was largely contained in and around York City, Hanover and the West Shore.
Interstate 83 carried motorists through, but not necessarily to, destinations in York County.
Route 30, the old Lincoln Highway, was good enough even in those days to allow travelers to move from Lancaster to Gettysburg without even stopping for a cup of coffee in York.
Still, Dunn stuck to his predictions that the interstate, completed in 1959, would spell exponential growth for the county.
Enter orchard owner and new York County Commissioner P. Joseph Raab, who lined up with Dunn.
“However, as Dunn continued to describe the importance of acquiring and preserving land for parks, recreation, and conservation,” Shoemaker wrote, “he recognized an ally in Raab, who declared he would dedicate himself to the recommendations of the Planning Commission – and he did.”
Rocky Ridge County Park came up first in 1968.
Then Richard M. Nixon park.
Sans graffiti.
For more information
For details about the $15.95 book, contact the York County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Also of interest
York Town Square regularly explores county and state parks. Here’s a sampling of links from past posts:
With hot controversy cooled, Highpoint offers Susquehanna River view for the ages.
Private, public interests built Lake Marburg for manufacturing, recreation.
How Sam Lewis State Park sightseers view Highpoint’s dome .
Wildflowers at Shenk’s Ferry glen sprouting despite centuries of encroaching civilization.
Native Americans help clean up Dritt family cemetery in new York County park.
Iron-mine-turned-into-party-spot turned into York County park.
Pioneering sisters operated York County grist mill.
York native, Pa. Gov. George Leader cleared dam plan.
Is that Pidgeon or Pigeon Hills in western York County?
About phone pole playground at Rocky Ridge: ‘Children’s heads got caught in between the logs’.
Rail trail ribbons criss-crossing York/Adams.
Richard Nixon’s visit to his namesake park sparks memories.
For additional posts on parks and other landmarks of interest in York County, click here.