What to do in Moraine State Park

In the 1800's, settlers cleared the forests and drained the swamps to make farm fields. Sand and gravel deposited by the glaciers were mined and sold. Deeper underground, the discovery of bituminous coal ushered in a boom time for the region. Seven coal beds were deep-mined and later the land was strip-mined. In the late 1800's, gas wells were drilled to extract oil and gas. When the wells dried up, they were abandoned and left unsealed.

Much of the park area lost its topsoil and many streams were polluted with acid mine drainage. The land remained largely unoccupied. In 1926, Frank W. Preston of England moved to the town of Meridian and opened a glass research lab. A leader in glass research, Dr. Preston was also a geologist and naturalist. On a trip to the Muddy Creek Valley, he noticed how the hills changed their shape and attributed it to the glacial periods. Preston studied the land for decades and named many of the landforms after Edmund Watts Arthur, a prominent Pittsburgh attorney and naturalist. With the support of friends, Preston formed the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to purchase land to recreate the glacial landscape and preserve open space. Muddy Creek was dammed to create the modern Lake Arthur as a smaller version of glacial Lake Watts.

Moraine State Park was dedicated on May 23, 1970 offering picnicking, seven picnic shelters, six hiking trails, swimming, ice sports, sledding and snowmobiling. The 3,222-acre Lake Arthur is a warm water fishery. Common species are northern pike, largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie and bluegill. There are 10 boat launching areas around Lake Arthur. Sailing is especially popular. Races and regattas for sailboats are held throughout the summer. Barber Point, near the Lakeview Beach, is popular for windsurfing due to stronger winds and sparse boat traffic. A paved, seven-mile bicycle trail winds near the shoreline between the Marina Restaurant and the Bike Rental Building in the northwest corner of the park. Eleven modern cabins are available for rent year-round. In addition, there are two sites available for organized youth or scout groups.
The park offers a wide variety of interpretive programs. Approximately 13,600 acres of Moraine State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons.

Accessible fishing pier, picnic tables, parking spaces and restrooms are located throughout the park.

In the 1800's, settlers cleared the forests and drained the swamps to make farm fields. Sand and gravel deposited by the glaciers were mined and sold. Limestone and clay were mined to make ceramics. Local shale was used to make bricks. Deeper underground, the discovery of bituminous coal ushered in a boom time for the region. Seven coal beds were deep-mined and later the land was strip-mined. In the late 1800's, gas wells were drilled to extract oil and gas. When the wells dried up, they were abandoned and left unsealed.

The Western Allegheny Railroad transported a majority of these extracted minerals to Pittsburgh. The railroad ran the full length of Muddy Creek Valley and through the Village of Isle, where the Route 528 bridge is today. Abandoned in 1939, the old railroad grade is still visible west of the dam and in the Muddy Creek finger of Lake Arthur.

Much of the park area lost its topsoil and many streams were polluted with acid mine drainage. The land remained largely unoccupied. In 1926, Frank W. Preston of England moved to the town of Meridian and opened a glass research lab. A leader in glass research, Dr. Preston was also a geologist and naturalist. On a trip to the Muddy Creek Valley, he noticed how the hills changed their shape and attributed it to the glacial periods. Preston studied the land for decades and named many of the landforms after Edmund Watts Arthur, a prominent Pittsburgh attorney and naturalist. With the support of friends, Preston formed the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to purchase land to recreate the glacial landscape and preserve open space. Muddy Creek was dammed to create modern Lake Arthur as a smaller version of glacial Lake Watts.

The former Department of Forests and Waters and the former Pennsylvania Department of Mines and Mineral Industries combined forces to reclaim the abused land. Deep mines were sealed, strip mines were back-filled and graded, and 422 gas and oil wells were plugged. Soil was treated with fertilizer, thousands of trees, and grasses and clovers were planted to restore the land. By November of 1968, the dam was complete and two years later Lake Arthur reached its full level. Moraine State Park was dedicated on May 23, 1970.

Recreation
Moraine State Park offers picnicking throughout the park with seven shelters available for rent up to 11 months in advance. Six hiking trails of varying length and difficulty are offered. Ice sports, sledding and snowmobiling are offered during the cold winter months while the warm summer months offer swimming at two different beach locations along the shore of Lake Arthur.

The 3,222-acre Lake Arthur is a warm water fishery. Common species are northern pike, largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie and bluegill. There are 10 boat launching areas around Lake Arthur. Sailing is especially popular. Races and regattas for sailboats are held throughout the summer. Barber Point, near the Lakeview Beach, is popular for windsurfing due to stronger winds and sparse boat traffic.

A paved, seven-mile bicycle trail winds near the shoreline between the Marina Restaurant and the Bike Rental Building in the northwest corner of the park.

Eleven modern cabins are available for rent year-round. In addition, there are two sites available for organized youth or scout groups.

The park offers a wide variety of interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Programs are offered in the summer season. For more detailed information contact the park office. Pontoon boat tours of the lake board at McDanel's Boat Launch.

Approximately 13,600 acres of Moraine State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

A full service restaurant near the Davis Hollow Marina is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day and weekends during May, September and October. Contact the park office for restaurant operating hours.

Accessible picnic tables and parking spaces are designated and located throughout the park. Accessible flush toilet restrooms are located in the Pleasant Valley Picnic Area, Pleasant Valley Beach, Pleasant View Picnic Area, Bear Run Boat Launch, McDanel's Boat Launch, Old Route 422 Boat Launch, Lakeview Beach Area and the Davis Hollow and Watts Bay marinas. Cabin 11 is fully accessible. Accessible mooring is available at Davis Hollow Marina. Accessible fishing piers are located at Bear Run Launch and the Old Route 422 Boat Launch. A paved path into the water is located at the Pleasant Valley Beach.

Location
Located in northwestern Pennsylvania near the crossroads of I­79 and I­80, Moraine State Park is bisected by PA Route 422 running east/west and PA Route 528 running north/south. To access the South Shore Recreation Area, take the South Shore Exit of PA Route 422. To access the North Shore from PA Route 422 East, take the North Shore Exit. There is no access to the North Shore from PA Route 422 headed east from I­79, therefore, take the South Shore Exit, get onto PA Route 422 West and take the North Shore Exit.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Moraine State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
225 Pleasant Valley Road
Portersville, PA 16051-9650

Phone: 724-368-8811

Email: moraine@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Moraine State Park Travel Q&A

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