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Pennsylvania Dutch Country near Hanover, Pennsylvania holds a spectacular recreational resource called Lake Marburg. This 1,300-acre reservoir combines the needs of local industry with water-based opportunities for area residents. The lake's creation came about in an unusual collaborative effort between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and P. H. Glatfelter Paper Corporation; the company and the people of Spring Grove needed a reliable water source, while residents and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wanted an additional state park with recreational lake. With the damming of Codorus Creek, a 1,275-acre water resource for boating, fishing and wildlife habitat was created, surrounded by a new 3,452-acre state park.
Nearly all of the lakefront is within the confines of Codorus State Park. P.H. Glatfelter owns and controls the dam and water releases. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission controls boating and fishery management. Lake Marburg, also known as Codorus Lake, is now a noted fishing destination for anglers seeking largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, muskellunge, catfish, northern pike, and bluegill. This warm-water fishery is complemented by cold water fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout on the east branch of Codorus Creek. Lake Marburg is in the Big Bass Program, meaning that largemouth and smallmouth bass must be a minimum of 15 inches long to be harvested, and the daily limit is four fish of either species, combined. Lake Marburg sport fishing has recently been threatened by unauthorized planting of white perch which have begun to impact food supplies for some of the more highly-sought-after bass. Local fishery managers have been encouraging anglers to catch and keep these interlopers, stressing their desirability as 'fish fry' fare and their attractiveness to children and beginning fishermen. Bottom structures have been installed to encourage breeding of the larger species. In winter, ice fishing is available everywhere on the lake, but is often most productive on some of the arms of the reservoir.
All types of boats and watercraft are permitted, with a speed limit of 20 horsepower. All watercraft must be property licensed. A marina concession rents several types of boats, including canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, fishing boats, pontoons, party barge and bass boats. Seven boat launch ramps are provided, with the one located in the camping areas available only to registered campground users. Sailing Lake Marburg is very popular. Boat storage facilities are available and include canoe and kayak racks, sailboat racks, sailboat dry storage, small marina slips for boats up to 17 feet long, and large marina slips for boats up to 26 feet long. Ice boaters must obtain a state park launch permit. Scuba diving is permitted in one cove with appropriate registration through the Park office.
Because Lake Marburg is used for water supply to the paper industry, summer draw-downs sometimes result in water levels being reduced by as much as 22 feet. Due to irregular water levels, beach areas cannot be adequately constructed, so a swimming pool offers a swim area with a handicap-accessible ramp. Swimming in the lake is prohibited for safety reasons. A spray park delights younger visitors. Three picnic areas with covered pavilions, grills, picnic tables and rest rooms are scattered throughout the park. A seasonal snack bar offers hot and cold foods and beverages. Other amenities include two 19-hole disk golf courses and two bonus 9-hole courses, one a cross-country course. Codorus State Park also offers 19 miles of trails dedicated to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Two of the trails are 'hiking only'. All trails are within the area of the park that is open to hunting in season, so hikers are encouraged to wear fluorescent orange vests during fall and winter. The most common game species are ruffed grouse, eastern gray squirrel, wild turkey and white-tailed deer.
Codorus State Park does not close in winter; the trails are available to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in certain areas. A downhill sledding slope is popular, and a 10-acre lighted ice skating area is maintained when ice conditions are deemed safe. The campground is open from April to November. Nearly 200 campsites, some handicapped-accessible, offer a variety of amenities, including hot showers, flush toilets, boat launch, shoreline mooring and a sanitary dump station. Camping cottages and tent yurts are available for rent, but reservations must be made as they are quite popular. The same concessionaire that operates the marina area offers day camping for children during the summer. The Friends of Codorus State Park, an association of volunteers, produces a series of events at the park year-round, including a fishing symposium, a family fishing 'fun' day, children's fishing activities, Easter egg hunt, Halloween party, 'Breakfast With Santa', musical productions and other events.
Only three miles from historic Hanover, Lake Marburg is a popular weekend spot to find cool breezes and enjoy the wildlife. No private housing is available along the shoreline, but some nearby developments outside of park boundaries have great views of the lake and nearby wooded areas. Hanover holds all of the amenities any visitor desires and includes several points of interest, particularly to history buffs. All of York County is awash with Civil War history, with the Gettysburg Battlefield not far away. In Hanover, a self-guided walking tour commemorates the Battle of Hanover, a Civil War battle that occurred the day before the Battle of Gettysburg. The Hanover Fire Museum features antique fire equipment dating as early as 1770. There are even some local stops featured on the UnCork York Wine Trail. Hanover is filled with quaint shops, artisan galleries, restaurants and farmers markets, making a trip to Hanover an enjoyable side-trip from a stay at Lake Marburg. Several hotels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts and guest facilities offer full-service lodgings for those not inclined to camping.
Lake Marburg gains its name from the small village of Marburg that now lies under its waters. In periods of extreme low water, the streets and some of the buildings of the old town can still be seen. Codorus State Park encompasses the former Mary Ann Furnace property which manufactured munitions, including cannonballs and grapeshot for the Revolutionary War soldiers. Captured Hessian soldiers were employed at the foundry to free up native fighters. Nothing is left of the former historic site, but one of the hiking trails within the park crosses the site and is named the Mary Ann Furnace Trail. So, come to Hanover to re-live history and to Lake Marburg to enjoy its many recreational offerings.
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