PAN Access Advisory:
West Branch of Conococheague Creek,
Below Metal, PA
!! DANGER !!
by Bing Garthright, (301-330-1225) June 9, 2004
On the West Branch of Conococheague Creek in Franklin County, PA, the normal run from Metal, PA (Carrick Road put-in) to Fort Loudon, PA (near US 30) is too dangerous to paddle at present. The main issue is two dangerous fences. There are also reports of harassment from a hunting camp.
About 1 mile below Metal are two massive, dangerous fences designed to keep a private hunting preserve’s captive deer herd from escaping via the creek. These fences are not passable at present, nor is portaging around them an option. In higher water conditions, the risk of broaching, pinning, and perhaps drowning, is severe. They are also some distance away from any road access. The farm operator is reported to be rather unfriendly.
The unfriendly hunting camp is reported to be 1 to 2 miles below the fences, or about 2 to 3 miles below Metal, PA.
Thanks to the efforts of paddler Bob Gross and many supportive staff in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), a solution might come about in 2004 or 2005. A safe replacement for these access-denying gates might get DEP approval and be installed. PAN will keep track of this permit and gate change and issue a new advisory when this stretch can be paddled safely. At that time, we will also inquire about probable dates for hunting on the deer farm, called Longview Farms, so that trip planners can avoid those periods.
At present, we are unaware of whether regular Pennsylvania hunting regulations (regular seasons, primitive arms seasons, no Sunday hunting, etc.) apply to a private hunting farm.
Paddlers wishing to run part of this stretch might consider putting in at the hamlet of Richmond Furnace, off Bricker Road. This is 4.1 miles south (downstream) of Metal on PA 75, or 3.6 miles north of the US 30 / PA 75 junction in Fort Loudon. There is another road to the creek 1.0 miles north (upstream) of Richmond Furnace, but that might not get you below the hunting camp. These roads were located on a map; we have no information if they in fact are viable put-ins.
Thanks to: Bob Gross for pursuing this problem with PA DEP and Ed Gertler for referring Bob to PAN.