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Review the 2017 Master Plan


Master Plan Implementation Timeline

Loyalhanna and Conemaugh River Lakes Master Plan

The Pittsburgh District released the Loyalhanna and Conemaugh River Lakes Master Plan - Upper Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh River Watershed in 2017. This 2017 master plan will guide the management of government-owned and leased lands around the lakes for the next 25 years.

Curious what is in the master plan? Use this website to explore its contents! Click on the Master Plan Implementation Timeline to see what comes next for implementing the master plan.

Tell us what you think

As updates can be made to the master plan every 5 years, please send us your thoughts as to how we can continue to improve Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake by emailing us at celrp-pa@usace.army.mil.

Explore the 2017 Master Plan - Changes and Reccomendations

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Clearing Sediment
Dredging to remove sediment along the lakes is a potential improvement. This would create more navigable waters across the two projects. Sediment would be moved offsite so as to prevent it from reentering the water.
Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle
Vegetation removal would consist of the removal of invasive species such as autumn olive, multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle, Bell's honeysuckle, and Japanese knotweed. Additionally, maintenance mowing would be increased and improved.
New Boat Launch
Development of new unrestricted boat ramps would include clearing land for access to the site, as well as the actual construction of the ramps.
New Recreation Facilities
The conversion of recreation facilities from low-density to high-density would require the clearing of land and placement of new recreation facilities.
Blairsville Parks
The expansion and development of Blairsville Parks is also a potential improvement. Blairsville Parks are located along Conemaugh River Lake.
Water Trail Improvements
Improvements to water trails would create more signage identifying the trails. Additionally, the development of new trail stations would enable greater access to the water trails.
Plant Native Species
Planting of native plants would reduce the impact of invasive species in the area.
Additional Facilities
The Addition of Facilities to developed areas would include new playgrounds, additional pavilions, fish cleaning stations, out buildings, and restrooms.
Improve Existing Trails
Repairs and improvements to existing trails would occur along the numerous hiking trails and possibly include paving, reconstruction of fences, additional fences, or the addition of other amenities along the trails.
Develop New Trails
Trail system extensions would expand the development of new hiking trails into currently undeveloped areas.
Small Boat Ramps
Kayak and Non-Motorized Boat Launches would consist of the addition of new small boat ramps as well as the rehabilitation and repair of existing small boat ramps.
Electrical Hookups
Campsite Electrical and Water Hookups would convert primitive campsites to those with electrical and water hookups specifically for RVs and Trailers. These changes would be made to locations such as Loyalhanna's Bush Run Recreation Area.
Expand Existing Boat Ramps
Expansion of existing boat launches would improve boat ramps and expand the boat trailer parking area.
Interpretive Signs
Interpretive signs includes the replacement and addition of interpretive signs and materials throughout the reservoirs.
Improve Existing Facilities
Improvements to existing facilities would occur throughout the recreationally zoned lands. This would include repair, replacement, and rehabilitation of existing facilities and the development of trails in previously developed areas.
Black Willow Water Trail
Revitalization of Black Willow Water Trail would include the replacement of interpretive stations and development of new stations for the trail.
Improve Recreation
Improvements to existing recreation facilities would include repairs, replacement, and rehabilitation of recreational facilities, as well as the improvement of currently existing trails in recreational areas.
Environmentally Sensative Areas
Addition of Environmentally Sensitive Areas would reclassify land to "Environmentally Sensitive Areas" and include the planting of native vegetation.

Hover over the images to read more about each of the proposed changes and pause the slideshow.

Explore the 2017 Master Plan - Map

Interactive Map

Click on the map above to be taken to our interactive map of the proposed Loyalhanna and Conemaugh improvements.


What is a master plan?

A master plan is the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of recreation, natural and cultural resources at Corps reservoirs now and into the future. The plans describe the overall land use management plan, resource objectives, and associated design and management concepts. The master plan does not address water management operations, associated prime facilities (dam, spillway etc.), or shoreline management as those operations are outlined in separate documents.

After a master plan is revised, the operational management plan and shoreline management plan are both revised to be consistent with the goals identified in the master plan.

Why Update the Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake Master Plan?

The original Master Plans for Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake are dated 1950 and 1952 respectively. Changes in Corps regulations and community needs necessitate a revision to these master plans. Because these lakes are operated jointly as a storage system providing flood risk management downstream and share a park manager their master plans were combined. The master plan revision will classify the government lands around the lake based on environmental and socioeconomic considerations, public input, and an evaluation of past, present, and forecasted trends.

This master plan update is stewardship-driven and seeks to balance recreational development and use with the goal of conservation of natural and cultural resources. The Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake Master Plan Revision main objectives are:

-Improve and modernize day use and campground facilities through addition of amenities

-Expand opportunities for low density recreation: hiking, birding, hunting, and fishing

-Seek opportunities to expand connections to rail-to-trail systems

-Seek opportunities to provide additional access sites for kayaks, electric motor watercraft and other vessels

-Avoid excess sedimentation at boat launches 

What does updating a master plan mean for future actions taken at the project?

A master plan provides a set of recommended actions (e.g. trail extension, development of equestrian area, leasing, concessions, etc.). Recommended actions included in the master plan are quicker and easier to carry out.  In essence, a master plan provides pre-approval for future actions under the assumption that they have already been analyzed and found to be appropriate for Federal land. Engineer Regulation 200-2-2, 9.d. provides categorical exclusion from further analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act for:

All Operations and Maintenance grants, general plans, agreements, etc. necessary to carry out land use, development and other measures proposed in project authorization documents, project design memoranda, master plans are reflected in the project NEPA documents.

Master plans also detail the responsibilities pursuant to Federal laws to preserve, conserve, restore, maintain, manage, and develop lands, waters, and resources.  For example, if a project has active bald Eagle nests, the master plan will identify areas that must be avoided and the methods of mitigating impacts to the species.

What input from stakeholders went into the master plan?

Pittsburgh District held Initial Public Scoping Meetings in Summer 2015 and meetings to discuss the draft updated Master Plan in Spring 2017. Indian nations; federal, state, and local agencies; private and non-profit organizations; interest groups; and the public were asked to provide input during the scoping phase of the master plan update and feedback into the updated master plan. Click below to see the notes from the stakeholders meetings that helped to shape the management and resources objectives you’re reviewing on this website today:

Scoping Meetings June 2015

Draft Master Plan Release Meetings March 2017