Pennsylvania Nature Inn Opens at Bald Eagle State Park
Synopsis: Nature Inn at Bald Eagle offers visitors modern accommodations and an up-close experience with nature.1
Author: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Published: 2010-09-02 Updated: 2015-03-07
Modern Facility Showcases Green Technology, is Gateway to PA Wilds Region.
Doors opened today to the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, the first facility of its type in Pennsylvania's nationally recognized state park system, offering visitors modern accommodations and an up-close experience with nature.
"Our vision was to expand the range of overnight accommodations in our state park system to attract new visitors," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley said. "You can now stay the night at a primitive tent site, a yurt, camping cottage or modern cabin, or have modern conveniences provided at the Nature Inn, depending on your preference.
"As a southern entrance point to the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds, this Nature Inn will welcome people to a region known for its wealth of state parks and forests and opportunities for wildlife watching and many other outdoor adventures," Quigley added.
Quigley said new visitors may include busy families staying closer to home and taking shorter vacations; visitors who are looking for modern amenities in their overnight accommodations; extended families taking advantage of multiple overnight choices at the park; businesses or organizations looking for a different kind of retreat or meeting locale; and people with disabilities.
"Along with offering a good night's rest, we also are demonstrating stewardship and conservation by connecting guests to outdoor activities in the park and showing them 'green,' energy efficient building features and how to collect and use rainwater," Quigley added. "We will have accomplished our goals if visitors develop a love of bird-watching and therefore work to protect habitat, or try out one of the 'green' features in their own homes."
Each of the inn's 16 rooms is named for a different bird and features coordinating prints by artists John James Audubon and Ned Smith.
"One reason Bald Eagle State Park was chosen as the first location for a nature inn was the terrific wildlife-watching opportunities at the park that result from its ridges, valleys and diverse habitat that attract many bird species," Quigley said.
Every spring, songbirds including warblers, flycatchers and swallows, display courtship rituals and sing enchanting melodies while searching for nesting spots in the park. Boaters and beach-goers commonly see herons, gulls, geese and osprey around the lake. In the fall, visitors can find migrating mergansers, cormorants and buffleheads on the lake.
Quigley said the 18,500-square foot inn also demonstrates the use of environmentally friendly architecture and green technology, and explains it to visitors.
Green features include: a high efficiency geothermal heating and cooling system; solar collectors to heat water for showers and laundry; five rain barrels and four large cisterns to collect and harvest rainwater for flushing toilets; low-water-use plumbing fixtures and high efficiency lighting; Pennsylvania hardwoods from certified sustainable forests that were used in the structure, finishes and furnishings; and direct access to hiking and biking trails to enable and encourage healthy interaction with park resources.
Featuring several works of art by local artisans including a large stained-glass window of a bald eagle, and butternut wood fireplace mantels and oak frames in the guest rooms, the inn will display artisan products and connect people to the Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trail.
DCNR has contracted with an innkeeper, Charlie Brooks, to handle general operations and provide guest services, while the park staff will be responsible for buildings and grounds maintenance. Reservations can be made through the existing state park reservation system (www.visitPAParks.com).
Rooms include a microwave, refrigerator, cable TV, DVD player and Internet access. Breakfast is provided with an overnight stay.
Bald Eagle State Park is located in Center County, not far from Interstate 80. The inn is approximately a 3-hour drive from Pittsburgh; slightly longer from Philadelphia.
For more information about the Nature Inn, visit www.natureinnatbaldeagle.com or call 814-625-2879.
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