Officially, work on the dam at Chapman State Park is in a winter shutdown.
There is no work being done on the dam itself. Still, on Tuesday, there were numerous people working at the site — particularly the spillway.
Work on the project is behind schedule, according to Park Manager Tyson Martin.
The reinforced cement concrete (RCC) embankment work, spillway concrete, outlet pipe concrete repairs, site rehab, and paving are among the contract items that remain to be done, Martin said.
When the shutdown is over, the company will have 57 more days in the contract to complete the work before penalties begin to apply– unless circumstances like problematic weather create the need for further extensions, he said. The shutdown can last no longer than April 1.
April 1 plus 57 days hits Memorial Day.
“We’re hoping to open the beach, if not by Memorial Day, shortly after,” Martin said.
The park could be fully open — with the exception of one parking lot — before the contract is complete.
“They’ll need to say they’re done drawing it down,” Martin said. At that point, “we’re just down a parking lot. Everything else can run.”
The fishing at the lake will not be very good for a while.
Eventually, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will stock the lake, with large trout as it typically has, and with the species that inhabited the lake before it was drained.
For now, the lake, ice skating area, group tenting area, and parking lot one are closed due to the construction. Camping is unavailable and the flush restrooms are closed due to the season. The mooring road is closed due to a shoreline stabilization project with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission that is not expected to take long. “When PFBC is done with the shoreline stabilization, the mooring road will reopen, the warming hut and sledding hill will reopen,” Martin said.
“What is open this minute are the trails, the office, and parking near Penny Run Trail, the Environmental Learning Center, and the office,” Martin said.
Winterfest struggled this year.
With the park not fully open, not all of the traditional events could be held. And, with no snow a week before the event and a major storm that restricted travel immediately before, there were few participants and few spectators for the events that could be held, Martin said.
Martin said he hopes to continue hosting the event.