The Raystown Lake Master Plan needs to be revised and residents are concerned what the changes could mean.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting Wednesday night in Saxton, Bedford County to discuss the revision process. The Corps is required to update the master plan, which dates back to 1994.
The Corps is looking for public input about ways to improve the lake. The revised master plan will determine the lake’s future for the next 15 to 25 years.
Some residents were concerned that changing the lake or adding recreational areas would disturb the peace of the untouched nature.
“It would bring in too many extra people. Too many extra boats. It would just be maddening,” said Gayle Schuster, who lives on Terrace Mountain right by the lake.
The revised master plan will focus on preserving the environment and increasing recreational opportunities.
High boat traffic, protecting natural habitats and the potential development of the Hawn’s Bridge area of Raystown Lake were just some concerns residents expressed during the meeting.
“The concern is that it might be taken out of its native state and turned into campgrounds and restaurants. We would like to see it stay the way it is right now,” said Mark Schuster, Gayle’s husband.
Last year, the Corps rejected a development proposal there because it wasn’t in the master plan and lacked public support.
The lake sees up to 1.5 million visitors each year and residents said it’s already too crowded.
The Corps will conduct environmental and boat congestion studies this summer before drafting a plan, which will be presented to the public in August 2018. The final revised plan won’t be complete until 2020.
“I hope that they use all the feedback they got from everybody and use that to develop the plan better,” said Deb Simpson, a Duncansville resident.
“I’ve been coming here since I was three-years-old. People come here because it’s beautiful, it’s untouched. And you know, keep it that way,” said Gayle.
There will be another public meeting on Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m. in the Huntingdon Area High School auditorium.
Anyone who would like to send in comments or concerns about the Raystown Lake Master Plan can email: RaystownMPrevision@usace.army.mil or visit the Raystown Lake Master Plan revision website.