Boat Launch Discussion Flows at Clearfield Borough Council

CLEARFIELD – Plans to work on a boat launch in Clearfield Borough resurfaced at the Clearfield Borough Council meeting Thursday night thanks to an e-mail from Kim McCullough of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Despite a seemingly unanimous desire to see the boat launch in Lower Witmer Park improved, it was just how to go about doing so that brought about some uncertainty. As it stands, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has provided a three-year grant for the project that is due to expire at the end of next year. The funds are to be used to construct or improve a boat launch and river access point on property owned or controlled by the borough. Problems with the current ramp in Lower Witmer Park are a lack of restrooms and minimal parking.

The Fish and Boat Commission provided a $25,000 grant, and DCNR donated $20,000 to the project.

“Why fix a a little ramp with no parking when we can move it and make it bigger?” asked Mayor Patty Gilliland.

An alternative plan that has been proposed would to create a new ramp across the river from the current site. The opposite bank is home to the river channel, which being deeper, would be more friendly to watercraft than the current ramp location. Sites under consideration, however, are not currently owned or controlled by the borough.

The creation of a new launch would include the restrooms and larger parking, taking care of several objectives simultaneously. However, the downside of this plan was fear that creating a new launch would take longer than the grant would allow, and there are uncertainties if the grant could be extended. 

A possible solution could be to use the existing ramp in Lower Witmer park for small boats such as canoes and kayaks and construct a larger ramp across the river (if an agreement can be reached) for larger watercraft.

Council opted to wait before making a decision on the issue.

Other improvements will soon come to the West Branch of the Susquehanna through work being done by the Riverwalk Committee of Clearfield Borough.

Survey forms to determine what amenities residents want in the riverwalk are available at the borough building and at the Joseph and Elizabeth Shaw Public Library.

GantDaily Editor Dawn Walls contributed to this report.

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