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Who We Are

 For years, the area around the Kernsville Dam has been enjoyed by the residents of Berks and Schuylkill counties.  The combination of mountain and river produced an area unique in its diversity of both wildlife and outdoor recreational potential.  In 2001, this diversity was threatened by development.  That threat helped bring together a group of concerned citizens to form Blue Mountain Wildlife Incorporated.

Blue Mountain Wildlife seeks to encourage those who have discovered the treasures of this area to join with us in an effort to maintain and improve it.  We also seek to introduce the area to those who might enjoy its splendors.  Blue Mountain Wildlife is cultivating strong relationships with other organizations, both public and private, to help us in our goal of preserving this area for ourselves and for future generations.

Blue Mountain Wildlife is not just about the preservation of one area.  We have partnered with the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area to help maintain the Hamburg-to-Port Clinton portion of the Bartram Trial, a walking and bicycle trail that will connect Philadelphia to the Coal Region.  We sponsor educational programs to enlighten both young and old as to the wild treasures of the region.  And we aid other like-minded individuals and groups in the region to preserve, protect and maintain our diminishing wild areas.

We invite you to join with us.

The Kernsville Dam Recreation Area

As of August 25, 2016, the owner of the property, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, has closed much of the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area to the public.  The following areas remain open to to the public:

The Monument Parking Lot and surrounding area

The Bartram Trail and Trailhead

The desilting basin and Cabela's Wetland Trail

The Therman Madiera Switchback and the area between the desilting basin and the Schuylkill River

The Schuylkill River remains open to the public, but may not be accessed from land in areas that are closed to the public.

The area immediately around the Kernsville Dam may be used ONLY for the portaging of watercraft around the Dam.

All other areas within the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area are now closed to the public.  Individuals found in areas closed to the public may be cited for trespassing and fined in accordance with Pennsylvania law.

The Kernsville Dam Recreation Area is a day-use only park.  No overnight camping is allowed. 

Dogs, horses and other pets are welcome, but must remain under the control of the owners at all times.  Please be considerate of others and clean up after your animals, particularly on trails and parking areas. 

The reservoir has been designated a "no-wake zone" by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

The desilting basin has been designated a "Wildlife Study Area" and any hunting, chasing or otherwise interfering with wildlife within the basin is prohibited.  Vehicular traffic within the basin, except for non-motorized vehicles (bicycles and the like) on the Cabela's Wetland Trail, is prohibited. 

All of the publicly-accessible trails are open to all non-motorized traffic.  Motorized traffic is not permitted off of Kernsville Dam Road and adjacent parking areas. 

There is no electrical access onsite. 

There is a porta-potty available at the Monument Parking Lot between April and October. 

Please use the trash containers at the Monument Parking Lot when disposing of trash generated at the Recreation Area.  Volunteers empty the trash containers - please help out by taking your trash with you and disposing of at home whenever possible.  The onsite disposal of trash generated outside of the Recreation Area is prohibited.  Please don't use our park as a dump.

The Monument Parking Lot is also a trailhead for the John Bartram Trail, part of the Schuylkill River Trail

The Kernsville Dam area encompasses approximately 252 acres and approximately 2 miles of the Schuylkill River, which has been designated as a “Scenic River” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Kernsville Dam Recreation Area includes:
183 acres in Tilden Township (72.6% of the Kernsville Dam area)
44 acres in the Borough of Hamburg (17.5% of the Kernsville Dam area)
18 acres in Windsor Township  (7.1% of the Kernsville Dam area)
7 acres in West Brunswick Township (2.8% of the Kernsville Dam area)

    
    
 

 

Blue Mountain Wildlife’s History

 Two Thousand Fourteen also saw its ups and downs.  Blue Mountain Wildlife and Berks Parks and Recreation Department started a relationship that opens the Kerny up to Berks Rec programs, bringing more visitors to the Kerny. In February, BMW also launched an online store, www.BlueMountainWildlifeStore.com, to support fundraising efforts. The BMW Trail Race Series took over as BMW’s main fundraising events and drew 203 runners and earned over $2,300 from the three races in April, May and June.  Repair work on the Kernsville Dam Road continued, with work by BMW volunteers, the Tilden Township Road Crew and Bridge Church Community Explosion volunteers during the late summer.  September’s Dine & Dash drew 37 participants, its highest total to date.  In October, BMW constructed several hundred yards of new trail along the rim of the Monument Parking Lot hill and made repairs to the Cabela’s Wetlands Trail and Monument Parking Lot.  BMW also faced challenges from illegal camping, vandalism, vehicular mischief, dumping  and other criminal acts.  In October and in December trail signage was destroyed and stolen.  In 2015, the Kerny hosted “Snowshoeing with Your Sweetie”, the annual Earth Day Clean-Up, “Let’s Go Camping with Cabela’s”, two Invasive Species Walks, Environmental Education Day, a Butterfly Garden Photography class, “Walk with Dragonflies", and the Fall Clean-Up and Cook-Out.  BMW also participated in the 11th Annual Membership Banquet, the Hamburg Arts & Crafts Fest, Bear Creek Festival and “Get Outdoors” Day.

 

 

Two Thousand Fourteen saw the end of an old tradition and the beginning of some new.  The BMW Race Committee, after many years of struggling with the problems unique to bicycle events, decided to end the Northern Berks QUAD Games at the conclusion of its ninth season.  The QUAD Games drew 257 participants in 2014, but the attendence never exceeded its first-year numbers and the Race Committee decided to try a new direction.  2015 will be the first year of the Trail Race Series, BMW's new main fundraiser.  2014 did see a number of new events.  On April 12th, BMW joined the Schuylkill Headwaters Association to clean up the beach across from "The Rock".  On May 3rd, BMW and the Tilden EAC coordinated an Electronics Recycle Day at the Tilden Municipal Building.  Two "Owl Prowls" were held at the Kerny in 2014, one on June 20th and one on October 3rd.  And on September 14th, BMW presented a history of the Schuylkill River as part of the Andulehea Concert presented by the St. John's Church in Hamburg. With the closing of Kaercher Creek, Berks County Parks and Recreation contacted BMW looking for an alternate location for the "Let's Go Camping With Cabela's" Day and BMW happily accommodated the event.  The May 31st event went so well that Berks Parks and Rec and BMW plan to expand the number of events held at the Kerny in 2015.  In 2014, BMW's normal activities continued unabated.  Repair work on the Kernsville Dam Road continued, with work by BMW volunteers, the Tilden Township Road Crew and Bridge Church Community Explosion volunteers on four days in August and September.  The final Northern Berks QUAD Games returned to draw 257 participants and the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival Dine & Dash Burgers & Trails Race drew almost forty participants during its third annual run.  The Basin hosted another “Walking With Dragonflies” tour in August.    BMW participated in a record number of community events in 2014: the Annual Banquet in January, three Earth Day Clean-Ups in April; Tilden Recycle Day, Central Berks Community Day, Bear Creek Festival, and "Let's Go Camping" Day in May and Environmental Education Day and "Get Outside" Day in June.

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Peace Rock Beach Clean-Up
Let's Go Camping With Cabela's at the Kerny
Dragonfly Walk
The U Can DU It Duathlon Caps the Final QUAD Games

 

Two Thousand Thirteen witnessed the completion of a number of smaller projects.  In January, the raptor nesting pole was erected in the Basin.  In April, a permanent gate was installed at the Upper Parking Lot, completing a project that took a year to design, fabricate and install.  During June and July, work crews installed the trail signage onto the bases that had been installed in 2012.  A game camera was installed near a perennial dumping site in an effort to catch and deter illegal dumping and vandalism.  Repair work on the Kernsville Dam Road continued in 2013, with work by BMW volunteers, the Tilden Township Road Crew and Bridge Church Community Explosion volunteers in April, July and September.  The Northern Berks QUAD Games returned to draw 188 participants and the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival Dine & Dash Burgers & Trails Race returned for a second successful run.  The Basin hosted a “Walking With Dragonflies” tour in August and BMW’s Pat Adams led a tour of “The Moving of the Schuylkill River” in October.  Eagle Scout Candidate Charlie Cravotta designed, constructed and installed two bat boxes during the fall.  BMW participated in a record number of community events in 2013: the Annual Banquet in January, the Earth Day Clean-Up in April; Central Berks Community Day, Bear Creek Festival and Environmental Education Day in May; and Fun In The Sun Day, Get Outside Day and Let’s Go Camping With Cabela’s Day in June.

Raptor Pole Installation
Upper Parking lot Gate Installation 
Trail Signage Installation 
Bat Boxes Installation
Raptor Nesting Pole Installation
Upper Parking Lot Gate Installation
Trail Signage Installation
Charlie Cravotta Bat Box Project

    

 Two Thousand Twelve saw a number of small projects come to fruition.  Funding from a “Trails Town” grant allowed BMW to move forward with a pair of signage projects: an informational sign describing the creation of the desilting basin was installed in the fall on the Cabela’s Wetlands Trail and in the late summer and early fall work crews installed the bases for trail name signs.  In late summer, Bridge Church Community Explosions helped fill more potholes in Kernsville Dam Road, bringing it up to the best condition it’s been in over a decade.  Finally, the January 2013 installation of the raptor nesting pole capped the year-long planning and fabrication effort.  The Northern Berks QUAD Games returned to draw 257 participants and a new race, the Dine & Dash, was introduced at the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival.  In March, Berks County Conservation District honored BMW with their Conservation Group of the Year.  BMW participated in a record number of community events in 2012: the Annual Banquet in January, ThawFest and Earth Day Clean-Up in April; Central Berks Community Day, Bear Creek Festival and Environmental Education Day in May; and Get Outside Day and Tilden Township’s 125 Anniversary in June. 

 

Monument Parking Lot Upgrades
2012 Conservation Organization of the Year 
  2012 Dine & Dash Burgers & Trail Races
Desilting Basin Informational Sign
Monument Parking Lot Upgrades
Berks County Conservation District's 2012 Conservation Organization of the Year Award 2012 Dine & Dash Burgers & Trail Race at the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival
Desilting Basin Informational Sign

     

 Two Thousand Eleven saw some ups and downs.  Blue Mountain Wildlife was challenged by a number of thefts, acts of vandalism, and repeated flooding throughout the year.  But the good outweighed the bad.  In the early spring, Tilden Township donated a day’s worth of labor and equipment to the maintenance of Kernsville Dam Road, markedly improving the road near the Upper Parking Lot.  On May 12th, BMW and Schuylkill River Heritage Area hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the two miles of Schuylkill River Trail between Hamburg and the Bartram Trail.  On July 16th, BMW celebrated its tenth anniversary with a party at the Monument Parking Lot, which drew over two hundred people.  The Northern Berks QUAD Games were put on hold for retooling but, due to popular demand, the Dutch Country Bicycle Races were held on July 30th.  Other projects and events included: the Annual Membership Banquet on January 28th; a cold and wet Earth Day Clean-Up on April 23rd; a warm and sunny Environmental Education Day on June 3rd; flood-damage repairs to the Therman Madeira Switchback in May and September; the completion of the second outdoor classroom by Eagle Scout candidate Danny Capitelli in May; more road repairs by the Bridge Church “Community Explosion” volunteers and the Tilden Township road crew in July; a tree planting in the Cabela’s Wetland in November; and volunteer service by Alex Hartman.  BMW also participated in Hamburg ThawFest, Central Berks Community Day Fair, Bear Creek Festival, and the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival.

Bartram Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Blue Mountain Wildlife 10th Anniversary Party Outdoor Classroom Number 2 Alex Hartman Volunteer Project
Bartram Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Blue Mountain Wildlife 10th Anniversary Party
Outdoor Classroom Number 2
Alex Hartman Volunteer Project

 

Two Thousand Ten saw a number of circumstances converge, to the great fortune of Blue Mountain Wildlife and the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area.  Pennsy Paving Company, which was completing the reconstruction of the State Street Bridge, was approached with a request to assess the repair work needed on Kernsville Dam Road.  Pennsy Paving volunteered a day’s labor and equipment to repair as much of Kernsville Dam Road as possible, given the materials available.  BMW approached several supporters and secured several thousand dollars in donations, with which additional materials were purchased.  Two of the worst portions of Kernsville Dam Road were milled and repaved, and the Bartram Trail Trailhead was milled, reconfigured and landscaped.  At about the same time, Schuylkill River Heritage Area received a sizeable donation for trail work and decided to use some of it to complete the topping of the Therman Madeira Switchback.  Finally, BMW also received a promise of a donation from Tilden Township of a day’s labor and equipment to repair two of the worst sections of Kernsville Dam Road remaining, which is scheduled to be acted upon in 2011.  Other projects, events and noteworthy items included: the coordination with the Tilden Township Environmental Advisory Council on two Township-wide Clean-Ups—in April and November; the 2010 Northern Berks QUAD Games, which brought in 245 participants and earned approximately $3,800.00; the construction of the Environmental and Historical GPS Trail by Eagle Scout Candidate Casey Schneck; the 2010 Annual Membership Meeting and Banquet, twice postponed due to inclement weather; Environmental Education Day, hosted once again at the Kerny; participation in the Schuylkill Watershed Congress, Bear Creek Festival, Hamburg Community Day and the June Hamburg Art Stroll; and community service volunteered by Penn State senior Alex Sung, Hamburg High School students Corey Furhman and Nick Meyers, and “Community Explosion” volunteers of Blue Mountain Academy and the Bridge Church.

2010 Earth Day Clean-Up
Casey Schneck GPS Trail 
2102 Road Work 
2010 Bartram Trail Trailhead Improvements

2010 Earth Day Clean-Up

Casey Schneck GPS Trail 

2010 Road Work

2010 Bartram Trail Trailhead Improvements 

   

Two Thousand Nine saw the completion of the previous year’s projects.  The parking lot improvements included the completion of the informational kiosk and the installation of trash barrels.  Additional sections of the Therman Madeira Switchback were topped, and the Donald Waldron Footbridge was completed and a dedication ceremony held on October 24th.  Eagle Scout candidate Kurt Kissinger constructed an outdoor classroom at the north end of the Cabela’s Wetlands.  Despite three wet races, the fourth annual Northern Berks QUAD Games brought in 236 participants while earning over $2,000.  Inclement weather also caused the cancellation of the Annual Membership Banquet and forced the relocation of the expanded Environmental Education Day (now including Perry Elementary) to Tilden Elementary School on May 29.  Other events included Earth Day Cleanups scheduled on each Saturday in April, the Bear Creek Festival on May 17th and Hamburg Community Days on July 3rd and 4th. 

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Two Thousand Eight saw another set of projects begin.  BMW secured two grants to top the Wetlands Trail and parts of the Therman Madeira Switchback, as well as to construct a footbridge at the Industrial Drive pump station.  Work on the Cabela’s Wetlands continued.  Construction was begun on an information kiosk at the Monument parking lot.  An updated draft Open Space Plan was created and comments from all stakeholders solicited and collected.  The BMW website was updated by KDS FX Design and BMW took over the domain name and the upkeep of the website.  In its third year, the Northern Berks QUAD Games brought two races back to the KDRA and brought in approximately 280 participants to the four races.  Other events included the Fourth Annual Membership Banquet on April 25, the Earth Day Clean-Up on April 26, the Bear Creek Festival on May 18 and Environmental Education Day on May 30.   

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Two Thousand Seven saw the continuation of our successful projects.  The Cabela’s Wetland Project continued and flourished.  On May 11, Environmental Education Day again brought 120 5th graders from Hamburg Elementary School to the Kernsville Dam area for a number of outdoor educational opportunities.  The Northern Berks QUAD Games experienced its second year as the organization’s primary fundraiser and brought in approximately 300 participants to the four races.  BMW also set about updating its 2001 Open Space Plan  and made presentations at the four surrounding municipalities inviting them to participate.  Other events included the Third Annual Membership Banquet on January 11, the Kutztown Earth Day Celebration on April 19, the Earth Day Clean-Up on April 21, the Bear Creek Festival on May 18 and the Pulpit Rock Beach Clean-Up on November 8.  Scout projects included the KDRA sign by Austin Hartman and the Kernsville Monument beautification by  Junior Girl Scout Troop 114.


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Pulpit Rock Beach Clean-Up

 

Two Thousand Six saw three major projects come to fruition.  After at least three years of discussion and negotiation, the Cabela’s Wetland Mitigation project gained approval and was implemented in September.  Approximately one-half acre of new wetlands and one-third mile of new trail were constructed in the desilting basin north of the Monument.  On May 24, Environmental Education Day brought 120 5th graders from Hamburg Elementary School to the Kernsville Dam area for a number of outdoor educational opportunities.  The Northern Berks QUAD Games were inaugurated as the organization’s primary fundraiser and brought in approximately 300 participants to the four races.  Other events included the Second Annual Membership Banquet on January 12 and the Earth Day/Outdoor Appreciation Weekend on May 20 and 21.  On March 22, 2006, Blue Mountain Wildlife completed its 501(c)(3) probationary period and its non-profit status was confirmed and made permanent.  

 

Two Thousand Five saw the establishment of a number of Blue Mountain Wildlife “annual traditions”.  The first was the Annual Membership Meeting and Banquet, held on January 13.  The second was an expansion of the Earth Day activities beyond the Clean-Up.  April 23rd and 24th’s activities also included the improvement of approximately three-quarters of a mile of trail above and approximately one-half mile of trail below the Kernsville Dam, a bird walk and a raptor presentation.  The third was the first of many fund-raising races.  On May 28 a 5K Fun Run/Walk was held at the Monument and on September 24 a 5K/10K Run was held in conjunction with Hamburg Heritage Day.  Other major events included selling Kerny Monster Burgers in the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival and selling ice cream and hosting historical tours of the Kernsville Dam area during Hamburg Heritage Day.

 

Two Thousand Four saw the completion of Blue Mountain Wildlife’s biggest project to date—the construction of the one-mile Therman Madeira Switchback Trail, which will be a link for the Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s "Bartram Trail" which will eventually run from Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River to above Pottsville.  The project was completed with the funding from the Berks County Open Space and Recreation Grant secured in the previous year and matching funds from donations of money, materials and time from the organization’s many supporters.  The second major project of the year, the construction of the Butterfly Garden, began in the spring.  This project is ongoing and improvements continue to this day.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission took up Blue Mountain Wildlife’s request to establish a “No Wake” zone on the Kernsville Dam.  Blue Mountain Wildlife took the bold step of declaring the desilting basin a “Wildlife Propagation Area”, prohibiting hunting and other disruptive activities so that wildlife may flourish there and spread elsewhere along the Schuylkill.  Blue Mountain Wildlife representatives attended the Hamburg Hunting and Fishing Expo.  Major events included the Earth Day Clean-Up on May 1 and 2, participation in the Schuylkill Sojourn in June, the Helping Wheels Unincorporated tour of the Therman Madeira Switchback on July 11 and participation in Hamburg Heritage Day on September 25.

 

 Two Thousand Three saw Blue Mountain Wildlife's first major fundraising event-the Spring Rail Ramble sponsored by the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad on May 31st.  Blue Mountain Wildlife representatives attended the Hamburg Hunting and Fishing Expo on February 21-23, the Bear Creek Festival on May 18, the Northkill Watershed Meeting on July 23 and Hamburg Heritage Day on September 27.  Major events included the Earth Day Clean-Up on April 26 and 27, Tilden Elementary School's Field Day activities on May 9 and participation in the Schuylkill Sojourn on June 1.  Greg Kohl & Associates created engineered drawings of the improvements proposed by the 2001 Open Space Plan to support Blue Mountain Wildlife's application for the lease of the Kernsville Dam area.  On September 30, 2003, Blue Mountain Wildlife was granted a lease for the area from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation. Blue Mountain Wildlife applied for and later received a $25,000 grant from the Berks County Open Space and Recreation Commission. The grant required 50% matching funds which was to be met through fund-raising, donations and in-kind services.  By the end of the year, Blue Mountain Wildlife had contracted with Pet Net Designs to provide webhosting for a website (www.bluemountainwildlife.com).

 

The Beginnings

The roots of Blue Mountain Wildlife Incorporated, go back to the early 1980’s.  Mr. Ron Cassler founded Hamburg Ecology Life Patrol (H.E.L.P.), which cleaned up the Kernsville Dam area, rebuilt the restrooms, and maintained trash removal and grass mowing on a weekly basis.  H.E.L.P. relied upon limited funding and volunteer labor provided by its members.  H.E.L.P. was active throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and several members are active participants in Blue Mountain Wildlife today.

  In November, 2000, the first series of public meetings presenting plans for intensive development of recreational facilities in the Kernsville Dam area brought together a group of concerned citizens to form the “Friends of the Kernsville Dam”.  Throughout the series of public meetings the “Friends of the Kernsville Dam” offered several pre-existing alternative sites for recreational facilities as possible ecological solutions.  None of these were incorporated into the proposed plans.  The “Friends of the Kernsville Dam” circulated a petition in opposition to the proposed plans.  Approximately 1,300 signatures were collected.  The “Friends of the Kernsville Dam” approached nearby municipalities with the petition to solicit support in opposition of the proposed plan.

  On June 29, 2001, the “Friends of the Kernsville Dam” officially incorporated as “Blue Mountain Wildlife, Incorporated” to help solidify existing support to preserve the wild area around the Kernsville Dam and develop alternative locations for recreational facilities throughout northern Berks County.  Blue Mountain Wildlife consulted with and received support from nearby property owners and businesses to develop an alternative plan.  The Reading, Blue Mountain,  and Northern Railroad Company became a corporate sponsor.  On October 10, 2001, Blue Mountain Wildlife presented its plan for the preservation of the Kernsville Dam area at a press conference to various agencies and organizations.  The 2001 Open Space Plan included many hiking & biking trails, nature trails, butterfly & hummingbird gardens, wheelchair accessible fishing locations & fishing pier, a boat launch, picnic areas, etc. Our plan was well received by the local municipalities and by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the state agency that administers the Kernsville Dam area.

In March 2002, Blue Mountain Wildlife Incorporated applied for and was granted probationary 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status.  The organization spent a great deal of the year promoting public awareness of its plans.  Representatives attended the Hamburg Hunting and Fishing Expo, the Schuylkill Watershed Congress, Hamburg Sidewalk Sale and Hamburg Heritage Days.  Major events included the Earth Day Clean-Up and participation in the Schuylkill Sojourn.  Blue Mountain Wildlife also devoted much time and effort in negotiating with Northern Berks Recreation Council and other organizations to provide acceptable solutions to the issues of preserving the Kernsville Dam area while providing additional active recreation facilities in Northern Berks County.