Work to save an historically significant cemetery from collapsing into the Allegheny Reservoir is scheduled to get underway as soon as the weather breaks, according to U.S. Forest Service officials.
The Riverview-Corydon-Cornplanter Cemetery, located on a bluff above the reservoir in Elk Township, contains the remains of relatives and descendants of Seneca Chief Cornplanter, along with residents of Corydon and the surrounding area.
The cemetery was moved from its original location in the Corydon Valley during the construction of the Kinzua Dam in the 1960s. Over the years, waves and fluctuating reservoir levels have eroded the soft sand and silt bank that protects the cemetery. Officials estimate that water has cut away the shoreline by 70 to 90 feet.
Forest Service officials met with members of the Riverview Cemetery Committee in late January to confirm the agency's plans to protect the cemetery from future erosion.
"Really, everything is in place as far as everything we need," Bradford District Ranger Anthony Scardina said. "Things are looking very good."
Scardina said the project would be broken into two phases. The first phase involves removing vegetation.
"We've got some trees that are hanging down," Scardina said. "If they aren't cut now, they are going to bring more shoreline down with them. We'll do that as soon as the weather breaks."
The second phase of the project, scheduled for fall or early winter, will consist of riprap being installed along the shoreline, along with backfill behind it with vegetation on top for stabilization.
"That will cut the waves from causing more erosion," Scardina said.
According to Scardina, the Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a memorandum of understanding that both agencies will carry through with the project.