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Shikellamy State Park
Pennsylvania State Park
Natural Monument (IUCN III)
The entrance to Shikellamy State Park's scenic overlook
Named for: Shikellamy
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Counties Northumberland, Union
Townships Upper Augusta, Union
Location [1]
 - coordinates 40°52′50″N 76°48′17″W / 40.88056°N 76.80472°W / 40.88056; -76.80472Coordinates: 40°52′50″N 76°48′17″W / 40.88056°N 76.80472°W / 40.88056; -76.80472
 - elevation 705 ft (215 m) [1]
Area 132 acres (53 ha)
Overlook 1960
 - Marina 1972
Managed by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Nearest city Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Locator Red.svg
Location of Shikellamy State Park in Pennsylvania
Location of Shikellamy State Park in Pennsylvania
Website : Shikellamy State Park

Shikellamy State Park is a 132-acre (53 ha) Pennsylvania state park located at the confluence of the West Branch Susquehanna River and Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania in the United States. The park is divided into two sections. The older part, on a bluff on the western bank of the river, is the 78-acre (32 ha) Shikellamy overlook in Union Township, Union County. The newer part is the 54-acre (22 ha) marina on the southern end of Packer Island in Upper Augusta Township, Northumberland County. Packer's Island lies between the city of Sunbury and the borough of Northumberland at the confluence of the two branches of the river.



Shikellamy State Park is named in honor of Shikellamy, an Iroquois chief. Chief Shikellamy played a major role in the history of the frontier in Pennsylvania. He was a friend of the Native Americans and the American Colonists of the 18th century. Shikellamy's village was located near where the overlook section of the park is today.

Shikellamy State Park was opened in two different phases. First the overlook was opened for visitors in 1960, followed by the marina for boaters in 1972.[2]

Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam

The Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam (also the Sunbury Fabridam or Fabri Dam) is the world's longest inflatable dam and it impounds the Susquehanna River.[3] The dam is located just below the confluence of the West and North Branches of the Susquehanna, between the towns of Shamokin Dam and Sunbury.

The dam is 2,100 feet (640 m) long. When it is raised in the summer, it creates the 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) Lake Augusta, which is used for recreation.[4] The dam and lake are part of Shikellamy State Park.

The dam was named for Adam T. Bower, Chief Clerk of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1967-68 and Director of Services during the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1967-68, by Act 2001-5 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[5]

There are plans underway to add a fish ladder to the dam. The fish ladder is primarily to allow the American shad to access the upper part of the Susquehanna.[4]


Shamokin Dam

On this site there was the earlier Shamokin Dam. This dam maintained an adequate water level for ferry traffic across the Susquehanna from Shamokin (now Sunbury) to the west bank. It was destroyed in March, 1904 by the breakup of 22 inches (56 cm) (56 cm) of ice in the spring thaw. This is the dam that the west bank town of Shamokin Dam is named after.

There is another, existing, low head dam 1.2 miles (1.9 km) down stream, for the Shamokin Dam Power Plant


Scenic Views

Shikellamy Overlook offers two scenic overlooks. They are 360 feet (110 m) above the confluence of the West Branch Susquehanna River and North Branch Susquehanna River. One can get a view of the northern and western rivers as well as a bird's-eye view of Northumberland, Sunbury, and Hummels Wharf.[2] A breeding pair of state-endangered Peregrine Falcons have established a successful nest on the cliffs below the scenic overlook. It is only the third known "wild nest" built by the birds in the state. Most other breeding pairs have been introduced to sites throughout the state by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.[6]


Both sections of the park have a hiking trail. At the overlook there is a one-mile (1.6 km) nature trail. Careful hikers will get the chance to observe some wildlife. They might see white-tail deer, many different songbirds and a wide variety of wildflowers. Hikers can also observe the development of forests at the overlook. The forest changes from scrub forest to mature hardwood forest. The marina is encircled by paved walking paths for those interested in taking a walk along the river and marina.[2]


Shikellamy State Park Overlook is on the bluff overlooking the West Branch Susquehanna River (as seen from the Marina part of the park).

In the early to mid 1800s, the construction of a dam across the Susquehanna River, just south of the city of Sunbury, produced a lake known as Lake Augusta. In 1874 a group of rowers (log raftmen and shad fishermen) from Shamokin Dam and Sunbury competed in a regatta on Lake Augusta, rowing in both singles and doubles. The rowers from Shamokin Dam were victorious that day, winning a barrel of flour, gold sleeve buttons and a silver cup, while the rowers from Sunbury vowed to win in the next year. The most popular event of the day was a "tub" race in which the same rowers sat in wash tubs and paddled over a shorter course.

The sport of rowing became a popular sport in central Pennsylvania, and in 1888 a National Association of Amateur Oarsmen Championship was held on the Lake Augusta. Rowers traveled from as far away as Canada and the Midwest to compete, and reportedly, thousands of spectators lined the banks of the river. The number of spectators was so great, the railroad companies rerouted trains to accommodate the throngs of people.

Rowing in Central Pennsylvania was popular until an ice surge in 1904 demolished the dam that made conditions ideal for the sport. In 1968, a new inflatable dam was installed that allowed rowing to slowly return. By the early 1980s Bucknell University had established a crew team, and by the early 1990s Susquehanna University had its own team. Near the end of the last century, a masters rowing club, the Central Pennsylvania Rowing Association, was founded. The college teams and masters club now share a boat house on Lake Augusta near the junction of Routes 11 and 15, just north of Shamokin Dam.


Shikellamy Marina is on the Susquehanna River. The world's largest inflatable dam is three miles (5 km) downstream from the park. This dam forms Lake Augusta with the banks of the river. Lake Augusta is 3,600 acres (1,500 ha). The purpose of the dam is to provide recreational boating. The river/lake is usually at about 6 feet (1.8 m) in depth at this point.[2]


Boating is very popular at Shikellamy State Park. The river is busy with recreational boaters and water skiing enthusiasts. All types of boats are permitted, provided that are properly registered with the state.[2]


Fishing is a major attraction at Shikellamy State Park. The Susquehanna River is the home of a wide variety of game fish. Anglers will find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappies, catfish, walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge in the waters of Shikellamy State Park[2]


There are many picnic tables available for picnicking spread throughout Shikellamy State Park.[2]

Nearby state parks

The following state parks are within 30 miles (48 km) of Shikellamy State Park:[7] [8][9]

Shikellamy State Park Overlook panorama with the confluence of the West Branch Susquehanna River (left) and North Branch (center) of the Susquehanna River, along with the boroughs of Northumberland (left) and Sunbury (far right). Note Shikellamy State Park Marina unit on Packer Island is also visible, although the docks had already been taken in for the winter when this photo was taken.


  1. ^ a b ""Shikellamy State Park"". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Shikellamy State Park". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2006-10-17.  
  3. ^ "Adam T. Bower Dam". Retrieved 2006-07-29.  
  4. ^ a b Finnerty, John (2005-05-07). "State to fix inflatable dam". The Daily Item. Retrieved 2006-07-15.  
  5. ^ "HOUSE BILL No. 678 Session of 2001". Retrieved 2006-07-29.  
  6. ^ Joe Kosack of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. "Falcons build ‘wild’ nest in Union County". Williamsport Sun-Gazette.  
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Research, Geographic Information Division. 2007 General Highway Map Montour County and Northumberland County Pennsylvania [map], 1:65,000. Retrieved on 2007-07-28. Note: shows Shikellamy State Park (Marina)
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Research, Geographic Information Division. 2007 General Highway Map Snyder County and Union County Pennsylvania [map], 1:65,000. Retrieved on 2007-07-28. Note: shows Shikellamy State Park (Overlook)
  9. ^ Michels, Chris (1997). ""Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation"". Northern Arizona University. Retrieved 2008-04-23.  

External links


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