A proposal to expand the Pennsylvania Turnpike would put irreplaceable historic structures and a Class A Wild Trout Stream at risk of irreparable harm from flooding because it fails to include a proper stormwater management plan.

Valley Forge National Historical Park connects millions of visitors each year to our nation’s Revolutionary War history and to a landscape rich with diverse plants and animals. During the winter of 1777-78, General George Washington built 13 ragtag state militias into a coordinated Continental Army here, ultimately triumphing over Great Britain, the world’s largest military power at the time. This cherished national park tells stories of individual and collective sacrifices in the quest for our nation’s freedom.

Now, a proposed project to expand 6 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike next to the park could cause irreparable harm to this historic place.

In July 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a key permit to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to widen this toll road near Valley Creek, the stream that winds through the western side of the historical park. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is already one of the largest paved areas in the Valley Creek watershed; the current proposal would add more than 17 paved acres to the area, replacing natural water filters such as trees and grass with hard asphalt.

NPCA formally opposes this decision for several reasons.

  • The expansion proposal would worsen flooding along Valley Creek, potentially causing irreparable harm to historic structures such as Washington’s Continental Army Headquarters and the Knox Covered Bridge.

  • Increased stormwater runoff would also threaten visitor activities such as trout fishing and trail running. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania classifies Valley Creek as an Exceptional Value Waterway and Class A Wild Trout Stream. Hot, polluted runoff degrades the cold, clean water the trout need to thrive.

  • Allowing the Pennsylvania Turnpike widening project to move forward without comprehensive runoff controls would severely exacerbate an already harmful flooding threat.

Valley Forge is hallowed ground. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should work to protect the commonwealth’s proud heritage, not cut corners in ways that would harm a cherished national park.

Valley Forge National Historical Park represents an exceptional part of America’s history, and it deserves exceptional protections.

Are you a frequent visitor to Valley Forge National Historical Park? If so, we want to hear from you. Please contact Amanda John at ajohn@npca.org to share your experience and learn about more ways that you can be involved.

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