In July of 2010 the Bradford County commissioners entered into a contract with YSM, a landscape architecture firm from York, Pa. specializing in parks and recreation, to create a parks master plan for Bradford County's county parks. The commissioners wanted to improve our parks system and wanted it to be planned for the present, and also wanted to make sure that they were leading them into the future. This plan was a very large undertaking involving not only the architect but a parks advisory committee that the commissioners formed in June of 2008. The committee worked with the architect who in turn met with members of the community interested in the improvements of our parks. The end result was a plan that gives the county direction for years to come.

The parks advisory committee meets once a month on the first Wednesday of the month. The committee uses the master plan as a guide to prioritize improvements in the parks. They have actively pursued grants from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Bradford County Tourism Committee. One such grant from DCNR helped fund the installation of new restroom facilities at Mt. Pisgah County Park and Sunfish Pond Park. These buildings are designed and built so they fit in with their surroundings. A second grant through DCNR for Sunfish Pond will add playground equipment, a pavilion, storm water management, riparian buffer, a boardwalk, and environmental and cultural interpretive signage. The Bradford County Tourism committee has granted us funds that purchased interpretive and informative signs that have been installed at various vistas at Mt. Pisgah County Park.

The Bradford county maintenance and parks departments have worked closely with the advisory committee over the past several years to make some much needed improvements.

Hornbrook Park

Hornbrook Park, located along the Susquehanna River in Sheshequin Township, has seen some of the fruits of their work. Over the last several years, the county has constructed a new boat launch, newly paved the roads, added 10 campsites, refurbished a pavilion, landscaped the park and upgraded electrical service to the older sites so they are able to accommodate the newer campers. The county is are also currently seeking a state grant that would construct a new pavilion and install new playground equipment. This park has also become a destination for river travelers to stop and spend the night. Other future improvements that are being considered are an upgraded bath house and possible primitive camping on the park's island.

Mt. Pisgah

Mt. Pisgah County Park has also seen its share of improvements with the improvement of the road leading to the top of the mountain. Some very attractive and informative signs have been installed at various locations in the park. This park is home to some of the best vistas for viewing the countryside with some of them offering views up to 50 miles and beyond. This park does not currently allow overnight camping but future plans are to reestablish an existing water well, construct a new well house and install the infrastructure to put water to the future campsites. We are also in hopes of refurbishing one of the pavilions and adding some playground equipment as well. This park is the site of one of the two new restroom buildings that were purchased through a DCNR grant and matching funds from the county. Mt. Pisgah is an approximately 600 acre park that has become a destination for hiking, hunting, bird watching and in the fall, a place to enjoy the views of the beautiful fall foliage. It has adjoining land with Mt. Pisgah State Park which is situated within several miles of our park.

Sunfish Pond Park

Sunfish Pond County Park sits on top of Barclay Mountain in Leroy Township. It consists of 79 acres and boasts an approximately 30-acre-spring-fed pond which has many species of fish, but is also stocked with trout several times a year by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. This park has campsites of which some have electricity and some that do not. There is a bath house with restrooms which we hope to reconstruct or improve in the future. We also have a small parks store on site operated by a contracted concessionaire. This is the second of two parks that received one of the concrete restroom buildings. Swimming is not currently allowed in the pond but is being discussed. Boats are allowed with only battery operated motors. This park will receive a grant soon that will help construct a playground, boardwalk and other things mentioned earlier in the article. There is a fishing dock and a pavilion on site for the public to enjoy.

The commissioners, the advisory committee and all involved are very excited about all the activity and improvements that we've accomplished and expect to accomplish in the future. All three parks have pavilions that can be rented for activities by calling the Commissioners' Office at 570-265-1727. You can contact the parks department at (570) 265-2875 for information; Cindy Chaapel for Sunfish Pond at (570) 971-0565; or Libby Keeney at (607) 742-9930. Any suggestions or concerns may be directed to the Parks Department.

This article was submitted by the Bradford County Commissioners' Office