Summer recreation season starts strong at Quemahoning Family Recreation Area

HOLLSOPPLE – The Quemahoning Family Recreation Area just opened on May 12 for the 2023 summer season, but visitor numbers to date continue to show a strong interest in using the swimming, boating, biking, camping and picnicking opportunities at the Quemahoning Reservoir.

Visitors were enjoying the Quemahoning Reservoir's recreational opportunities on Thursday afternoon.

Tausha Garretson, QFRA manager, presented the first visitor numbers of the season during the Cambria-Somerset Authority's June meeting at the recreation area.

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In May, 909 day passes were sold on-site and RV and tent camping site rentals in May were at 382 nights, an increase of 15% over the previous year, Garretson said. In addition, about 200 season passes have been sold so far this season and single-day rentals for the recreation area's seven pavilions are fully booked until September.

Several local school districts also brought their students to the QFRA for field trips, she added.

The CSA owns and operates the 12-billion-gallon Quemahoning Reservoir along with four other reservoirs, selling industrial water from these properties to business and municipal customers in both counties. Recreational activities at the QFRA are managed for the authority by Summer's Best Two Weeks, an organization that also operates a summer sports camp at the reservoir.

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Increases in visitor numbers at the QFRA over the last three years have resulted in an expansion of the recreation area, adding more parking spaces, three new RV sites, expanding the playground areas, enlarging the swim beach, adding a second shower house/restroom building and two additional rustic cabins. That project was funded by grants and Summer's Best Two Weeks, with much of the work done by Summer's Best Two Weeks staff.

The expansion project is now mostly complete, except for the two new rustic cabins, which are under construction, Garretson said.

At right, James Greco, chairman of the Cambria Somerset Authority, presents a plaque to Earl Waddell, operations manager, in honor of his impending June 30 retirement from the authority.

Other business

The authority board approved formal contracts for legal and engineering fees related to the upcoming Foustwell Tunnel slip-line project. A proposal for $10,000 from Barbera Law, of Somerset, was approved for legal services and a $138,308 proposal from TransSystems, the authority's engineering consultant, was approved for engineering services for the project. The official actions were necessary to comply with requirements on the authority's $750,000 loan agreement with the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or PennVEST.

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The board also approved a one-year service contract, starting July 1, with Laurel Management Co. for repairs to the authority's water service lines. The work will be billed on an as-needed basis through June 30, 2024.

Operations Manager Earl Waddell said the authority is in need of two summer field maintenance workers. Anyone interested in applying for the position should contact the authority at 814-532-8851 or for more information.

At the start of the meeting, authority Chairman James Greco presented a plaque to Waddell in recognition of his "exemplary leadership and integrity" during his 14 years of employment with the authority. Waddell plans to retire from the position on June 30.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Summer recreation season starts strong at Quemahoning Family Recreation Area