This new section is dedicated to the proposed land divestment of Rockview Lands north of Interstate 99. Listed below are various reports, activities and links for your information.
The Supervisors caution this land has not yet been transferred and it is still unlawful to access the area. The Rockview SCI routinely patrols the area and will issue fines to trespassers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
The Supervisors are consistently asked a number of questions regarding the land transfer. Click here to review.
Several years ago, the Supervisors learned State officials were considering a transfer of Rockview SCI lands north of the new I-99 to Penn State. The potential of this land being removed from Rockview holdings made a long time goal of a public greenway corridor connecting Bellefonte to State College along Spring Creek look like a real possibility. The Supervisors began discussing the greenway with both Penn State and Senator Jake Corman. Those early discussions proved fruitful.
Over the years, the land transfer idea waned, until 2005, where it began to pick up momentum at the State level once again. Discussions between Benner Township, Senator Jake Corman’s office and the Department of General Services produced an agreement that would turn the canyon valley back to the public. Legislation to transfer the lands north of the Interstate has been drafted and is ready for introduction in the State Legislature. We expect to see the dream of this land returning to public control in the very near future. Benner Township is slated to receive a 380+ acre parcel consisting of a one-mile stretch of Spring Creek. Penn State is scheduled to receive lands north and south of the canyon tract, totaling 1,200 acres, to support their agricultural research program. The Fish Commission will receive ownership of its Benner Springs Hatchery, now leased from Rockview SCI and some other segments to consolidate the Fisherman’s Paradise Hatchery. The State plans to retain a 250-acre parcel on the east side, near the Juvenile Detention Center on Paradise Hill Road .
Spring Creek Canyon Public Forum
There has been significant interest from many circles regarding these lands and their future use. In light of this interest, the Supervisors held the Spring Creek Canyon Public Forum on January 23, 2006 to allow organizations and individuals the opportunity to express their visions of possible uses for the canyon area. Click here for information on the forum. Following this meeting, Senator Corman agreed to hold a public meeting, held at the Technology Institute.
Spring Creek Valley Ecological Assessment
Because of the public forum in January, the Supervisors pressed to have an environmental assessment of the canyon parcel completed as soon as possible. DCNR stepped forward and approved a grant to authorize a three-part study: an environmental assessment, a management plan and a master plan. The Township was permitted to advance the environmental part only, until land ownership transferred. The study began in May 2006 with the consultant, The Western PA Conservancy, conducting field audits of plant and animal species within the canyon. Benner also received the ok to establish a Citizens’ Advisory Committee to offer input and feedback to the consultant.. The consultant’s final report can be viewed by clicking the links below.
Senator Corman’s Public Meeting
At the urging of citizens’ groups, Senator Corman held a public meeting at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology on June 8, 2006, to obtain input from citizens about the land transfer. The Senator agreed not to forward transfer legislation until the environmental study was completed, which was not scheduled until the end of December 2006.
Citizens’ Advisory Committee
In August 2006, the Supervisors invited various organizations of the community to participate on an Advisory Committee, whose assignment was to assist the Supervisors in assessing what types of activities would be appropriate for the Benner parcel. The Committee has met several times since September to listen to the ecological consultant’s progress.
Master Plan / Management Plan
The results of the Ecological Assessment made it clear to the State that the Master Plan / Management Plan needed to be advanced. In late February 2007, DCNR gave the okay for the Supervisors to prepare a Request for Proposals from qualified firms to complete the plans. Changes to the committee structure were required by DCNR and an expansion of the study area was proposed. Since then, several drafts of the Scope of Work have been developed. A copy of the most current draft can be viewed by clicking here.