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Namesakes and Waterways of the Midstate: Doubling Gap Lake describes adjacent natural landmark

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NewsVu: Watch Now: A look at Doubling Gap Lake in Cumberland County

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Doubling Gap Lake

Doubling Gap Lake is in Colonel Denning State Park at 1599 Doubling Gap Road in Newville. 

A small piece of Colonel Denning State Park, Doubling Gap Lake’s name is quite literal.

An article about Doubling Gap from the Cumberland County Historical Society said the name describes the “double gap” created when the Blue Mountain curves back on itself. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said this curve forms an “S” shape, one that gives a name to the land surrounding it and a variety of features within it, including Doubling Gap Road, Doubling Gap Creek and Doubling Gap Lake.

Doubling Gap Creek runs through the lake, starting in the springs of the Blue Mountain near the border between Cumberland and Perry counties, Environmental Education Specialist Gene Krasicki said. The creek stretches for what he estimates to be about 10 miles, flowing down the valley and through Doubling Gap Lake before flowing into the Conodoguinet Creek in Newville.

The lake was created on the location’s existing wetland in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Camp S-111 to provide outdoor recreation Krasicki said.

“The CCC was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and provided jobs for young, unemployed men during the Great Depression,” he said. “Most of the money they made went back to their families. The CCC was involved with constructing many Pennsylvania state parks, including Colonel Denning State Park. Here they excavated the lake, planted trees, and built the dam, spillway, roads and several facilities.”

Today the lake includes a beach where visitors can cool off during the summer months, as well as an acre of ice-skating space when it’s cold.

Doubling Gap Lake, Newville, Cumberland County, PA

At a glance:

Location: Colonel Denning State Park (1599 Doubling Gap Road in Newville)

County: Cumberland

Size: 3.5 acres

Depth: Maximum of 7 feet

Tributaries: Doubling Gap Creek is a tributary of the Conodoguinet Creek, which runs from Horse Valley in Franklin County to the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg

Creeks: Doubling Gap Creek passes through Doubling Gap Lake before it runs into the Conodoguinet Creek north of Newville

Recreation: swimming, fishing, ice skating, canoeing, kayaking, hiking

Landmarks:

  • Tuscarora State Forest (surrounds park)

Events:

  • Beginners kayaking — Every Sunday in August at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

Need to know:

  • Beach open from late May to mid-September from 8 a.m. until dusk
  • One acre maintained and monitored for ice skating, skating permitted from 8 a.m. until sunset
  • Only nonmotorized boats are permitted on the lake
  • Stocked by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission twice a year
  • Lake houses snapping and wood turtles, five-lined skinks, Northern watersnakes, several species of frogs, Belted Kingfishers, Louisiana water thrush and occasionally Osprey or Bald Eagles
  • Visitors may not go onto the dam

Sources: Colonel Denning State Park’s Facebook page, Cumberland County Historical Society, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau, Fishermap.org, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Maddie Seiler is a news reporter for The Sentinel and cumberlink.com covering Carlisle and Newville. You can contact her at mseiler@cumberlink.com and follow her on Twitter at: @SeilerMadalyn

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