Woodcock Lake Park: Community gem in risk of closing its gates

By Kaitlyn Kozalla and Nick Archacki, features editor and news editor

Every summer, countless families travel to local hot-spot Woodcock Lake Park to spend some time away from home. Located just south of the Woodcock Dam, the campground is popular for camping, boating, picnics, fishing, and walking on trails.

However, Woodcock Lake Park is in jeopardy of closing its gates at the end of the summer due to insufficient funding.

Since the mid-1970s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been operating and maintaining the park. The 25-year lease ends in May 2024, but the funds required to keep the park operating caused the county to notify the Corps of Engineers that they want to end the lease by January 2020. Commissioners say that expenses exceed revenue, costing the county around $65,000 annually.

The other option commissioners are considering is imposing a user fee for park visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“Would that be enough to offset $65,000? Maybe. Maybe not. We don’t know that yet, but these are the things we’re looking at,” said county commissioner Francis Weiderspahn in a report from Erie News Now.

Weiderspahn took to social media to garner public opinion on a possible fee of $2 per car and $5 for a vehicle with a boat. The response was largely positive.

“I’m disappointed and sad because it’s a very good campground,” junior Dariann Beebe said. Beebe testified to the popularity of Woodcock Lake Park by revealing that she usually has to book a spot during Memorial Day weekend.

Unfortunately, nothing regarding the park’s status is official yet. For now, we are left to speculate about the fate of an area treasure.

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