Bald Eagle State Park
Howard, PA 16841
Elevation 958 feet
Coordinates 41°02′30″N 77°36′12″W
Bald Eagle State Park
The 5,900-acre park lies in the broad Bald
Eagle Valley of north central Pennsylvania. Two geologic provinces
create Bald Eagle's scenic beauty. The Allegheny Plateau to the
north and west holds smooth, undulating uplands. The Ridge and
Valley Province to the south and east contains numerous long,
narrow mountain ridges separated by valleys.
Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir
A 100-foot high and 1.3 mile long dam forms
Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir. Completed in 1969, the reservoir
is named in honor of Foster Joseph Sayers, a Private 1st Class in
World War II.
The 1,730-acre lake is the focal point for
water-based recreation in the park. The lake extends nearly eight
miles upstream and has 23 mile of shoreline. Bald Eagle State Park
was opened to the public July 4, 1971. Because of its role in
flood control, the lake water is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) and lake levels vary throughout the year.
Beginning in November, the USACE begins a
five-foot lake draw down to prepare for winter waters. Between
mid-February and early March, the water level is lowered an
additional 15 feet to maximum flood protection pool. Depending on
weather conditions, the reservoir usually reaches the summer
recreational pool by mid-May.
Bald Eagle State
Park, Centre County, is along PA 150 between Milesburg and Lock
Haven. From the I-80 west, take Exit 158 to PA 150 north for
about 10 miles. From the I-80 east, take Exit 178 to US 220
north, to PA 150 south for about 13 miles.
Places to Picnic
The Main Park Area has four picnic areas that close at sunset.
Picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a
fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free and shared by all park
Schencks Grove Picnic Area
located on a point adjacent to the
beach and marina area, has picnic tables, pavilions #3 and #4, two
public restrooms, two play fields, four volleyball courts and
The Beach Picnic Area
has pavilions #1, #2, #6 and #7, horseshoe pits, and two
The Skyline Drive Picnic Area
is located northeast of the Schencks Grove Picnic Area. This area
has picnic tables, pavilion #5, four restrooms, one volleyball
court and horseshoe pits. This area has some shaded picnic tables.
The Summer/Winter Launch Picnic Area
has pavilion #8, a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, public
restroom and a fishing pier to accommodate people with
The valley, creek, mountain and state park
are named for the American Indian chief Woapalanne that means bald
eagle. In the mid-1700s, the Lenni Lenape chief briefly dwelled at
Bald Eagle's Nest, near Milesburg. The village was along the Bald
Eagle Creek Path, a portion of a warrior's path from New York to
the Carolinas which now is State Route 150.
As one of the few navigable tributaries of
the West Branch Susquehanna River, Bald Eagle Creek became a
branch of the Pennsylvania Canal in the mid-1800s. Flooding
destroyed the short-lived canal system and newly developed
railroads replaced the canal.
These transportation systems and abundant
local resources led to the building of the nearby Curtin
Ironworks. Loggers cut trees from steep-sided Bald Eagle Mountain
and colliers made charcoal from the wood to feed the hungry
When the demand for wood products soared in
the 1800s, once plentiful pine, chestnut, oak and hickory were
cleared from the valley and plateaus and the forest was replaced
with farmland. The forests of Bald Eagle Mountain have regenerated
and the fertile valley continues to be cultivated.
The reservoir is named in honor of Foster
Joseph Sayers, a Private 1st Class in World War II. Nineteen
year-old Sayers, a resident of Centre County, lost his life while
displaying gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat
on November 12, 1944 near Thionville, France.
During an attack on hostile forces
entrenched on a hill, he ran up the steep approach and set up his
machine gun 20 yards from the enemy. Realizing it was necessary to
attract the full attention of the dug-in Germans while his company
crossed an open area and flanked the enemy, he picked up his gun,
charged through withering gun fire to the very edge of the German
encampment and killed 12 German soldiers with devastating
He then engaged the enemy from the flank in
a heroic attempt to distract attention from his comrades as they
reached the crest of the hill. He was killed by a very heavy
concentration of return fire, but his fearless assault enabled his
company to sweep the hill with minimum casualties, killing or
capturing every enemy solider. Sayers received the Congressional
Medal of Honor.