By Keith Gushard
When is Col. Crawford Park no longer Col. Crawford Park?
The answer is later this year — when the county-operated recreational park gets a new name.
Crawford County commissioners plan to change the name of the park to Woodcock Lake Park.
A name change was the top recommendation in a peer-to-peer recreational study conducted last year on ways to improve attendance and increase revenue at Col. Crawford Park, said Amy Schmidt of the Crawford County Planning Office.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns Col. Crawford Park on the south shore of Woodcock Lake, but leases the 311-acre property to the county for operation of a park that offers visitors camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking and boating opportunities.
Col. Crawford Park attracts an estimated 13,000 campers during its camping season of Memorial Day through Labor Day. It also loses about $50,000 a year, however — a situation that county officials are trying to remedy by seeking some new revenue-producing ideas.
“We’d like to market the whole area,” Schmidt told county commissioners at their weekly work session Tuesday. “There are so many amenities around the area, it gets confusing with the different names.”
Schmidt noted there is the Woodcock Nature Center, Woodcock Creek Dam and Bossard Nature Trail.
“This (name change) will bring all the entities together as one,” Schmidt said.
A number of entities are in favor of the name change from Col. Crawford Park, Schmidt said. Those include the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Crawford Conservation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Pennsylvania Game Commission, she said.
Juanita Hampton, executive director of the county convention and visitors bureau, agrees a name change will only help.
“It will make it less confusing to people,” Hampton told a Tribune reporter Tuesday. “People say, ‘Let’s go to Woodcock.’ They don’t say, ‘Let’s go to Col. Crawford Park.’”
Schmidt gave the same assessment to commissioners at their work session.
“When I was a Cub Scout leader and we had an event, I was told it was at Woodcock — not Col. Crawford Park,” Schmidt said. “If you ask people where they go camping they say ‘Woodcock,’ not Col. Crawford Park.”
The county planning office has a $14,875 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources to upgrade signs and other items for the park. New signs are expected to be in place by Memorial Day weekend.
However, the planning office is asking the county a total of $1,000 to maintain a website for Woodcock Lake for five years. The website is not covered in the grant, Schmidt said.
“We need a website for it because if you go online, there is nothing,” Schmidt said. “It’s hard to find info. This would be a first step (in marketing Woodcock).”
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know?
Crawford County is named for Col. William Crawford, who was born in Virginia in 1732, and burned at the stake by the Delaware Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, on June 11, 1782. Crawford was a Revolutionary War soldier; a friend and companion of Gen. George Washington; and a frontiersman in western Pennsylvania.