Swallow Falls State Park
Swallow Fall State Park is located nine miles north of Oakland, Maryland. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park's borders, passing through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. Muddy Creek Falls is Maryland’s highest waterfall at 63-feet. This state park is part of a land gift of 1,917 acres from brothers John and Robert Garrett in 1906. The donation included a stipulation that the state would use it to start a forestry service. The Falls of Muddy Creek contained 40 acres of old-growth Hemlock and White Pine trees that are estimated to be more than 360 years old. A lumberman and whisky barrel maker named Henry Krug owned this section of the park. Krug protected the trees and at his death left the property to the Grand Lodge of Masons of Pennsylvania and West Virginia so that it could be used as a retreat center. The State Board of Forestry and the Grand Lodge of Masons entered into an agreement in 1923. The State agreed to manage and protect the property as an Auxiliary State Forest.
Backstory and Context
The land-use agreement between Maryland and the Grand Lodge of Masons made it possible to establish a Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) camp on the land do that improvements could be made to both the Forest Recreational areas and Swallows Falls State Forest. The C.C.C. fondly referred to as Roosevelt’s “Tree Army” was a work relief program that was a part of the New Deal and was established in 1933. This program recruited unemployed, unmarried men between the ages of 18-25 who became a powerful labor force. These young men were assigned job related to conservation and the development of natural resources owned by federal, state and local governments. The 304th Company CCC staffed Camp S-59 at what is now the Swallows State Forest camping entrance.
There were approximately 100 men assigned to this CCC camp and they worked to complete a number of projects that are still in use today. They built the stone and frame pavilion that is located across from the parking lot, the Camp office that sits where the original site of the 304th Company camp was located. This building was renovated on the inside; however, the outside is still the original chestnut structure. The C.C.C. boys planted trees, performed fire suppression work and built a stone restroom and a shed that is a former Dynamite storage shed.
Today the park that is located on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River offers 65 campsites, a picnic area with a pavilion and playground, as well as a mile-long hiking trail through the old growth forest. There is a fee for out of state residents to enter the park that will also cover the entrance to Herington Manor State Park that can be accessed by a connecting 5.5-mile (8.9 km) trail available for hiking and mountain biking.
Accessed February 22nd 2022. https://livingnewdeal.org/us/wv/ .
Cohen, Stan. The Tree Army. Edition ISBN 978-0-933126-11-4. Mountain Press Publishing Co.
The Civilian Conservation Corps . Edition ISBN 9781530068548. Charles River Editors.
The Civilian Conservation Corps. PBS broadcast American Experience. DVD - ISBN 9781608831234 .