Frequently Asked questions
Terrace Mountain Lodge and Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area
Project Overview: Terrace Mountain Lodge (TML) and Hawn's Bridge Recreation Area are proposed projects to be developed in Huntingdon County, Pa. The lodge is planned on privately owned land overlooking the Hawn’s Bridge Peninsula on the northeast side of Raystown Lake, an 8,300-acre, man-made lake. The concept for the project was launched in 2012 by a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist who loves the terrain and outdoor amenities of the Raystown Lake area. Currently, these projects have significant support from all local economic development agencies, state and U.S. elected officials, the commissioners of Huntingdon County, the Huntingdon County Visitor's Bureau, Union Township, Juniata Township and many local business owners and individuals.
1. What are the main reasons for the support for the development of Terrace Mountain Lodge
and Hawn's Bridge Recreation Area?
A) MORE JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
This project would bring about 700 short-term jobs and from 200 to 300 permanent long-term jobs to the area. The Huntingdon County economy has been hit hard by closed or reduced manufacturing jobs, making it more difficult for many people to find employment. Local businesses depend on employed individuals and visitors to spend money on housing, food, entertainment, vehicles, household goods, gas and related expenses. School districts depend on tax dollars to support their educational mission. Local and county municipalities depend on tax dollars to support roads, social services, parks and many other services. A large project like this would have the trickle-down effect of bringing more businesses to town, helping local businesses expand, and increasing spending to benefit the local economy. (See article on how Omni Springs has helped Bedford, Pa.) The 220-room lodge would host many types of group functions bringing people to the Raystown Lake area for business meetings, weddings, fishing tournaments, and outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, birding, kayaking, and boating. The Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission report indicates that this project would bring in $3.8 million in annual tax revenue and $15 in annual payroll alone. It is anticipated that the lodge and campground visitors would spend money locally participating in planned excursions, visiting restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
B) SHOWCASE OUR NATURAL RESOURCES & PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
We plan to expand and restore biking and hiking trails, build more habitats for birds and bats in accordance with conservationist standards, create a camp for visiting scouts and youth groups, and work on other ways to protect the local habitat. We are also planning to build an Environmental Learning Center and have this operated by Juniata College.
C) HELP SUPPORT THE LOCAL TOURIST INDUSTRY
Tourism is the second largest industry in Huntingdon County. The Huntingdon County Visitor’s Bureau has indicated that there is a shortage of hotel rooms, convention space and camping sites in our area. This has limited larger groups, such as fishing tournaments, destination weddings and mid-sized conventions, from visiting the Raystown Lake area. Terrace Mountain Lodge would have convention facilities and higher-end rooms, along with many services found in larger resorts such as a spa and fine dining. This would expose more people to the beauty and amenities of the area. Tourists spend money locally and support the local economy spending money on entertainment, gas, food, shopping and other items.
2. What is the economic impact of this project?
The economic impact of the project has been projected by Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission (SAP&DC), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to economic growth in Central Pennsylvania:
"Based on the designs and plans it is estimated that the resort construction costs will be more
than $89 million and will take 2 years to construct. When opened, the resort will employ 300 people
with a combined annual payroll of $6.5 million. The annual operating expenses beyond payroll
are projected to be more than $15 million. The annual impact of the project’s payroll and
operating expenses are expected to be $2.3 million in new annual state and local tax revenue
and $1.5 million in annual federal tax revenue.” SAP&DC Economic Impact Report
The SAP&DC Economic Impact Report also cites that during the two-year construction phase, there would be 697 direct construction jobs created, 1,119 indirect jobs, and 106 induced jobs. There would be $35 million in payroll dollars spent on construction and $39 million of value added dollars due to the investment of $89 million.
3. Will Terrace Mountain Lodge be built if there is no lake access?
The Terrace Mountain Lodge project is dependent on the connection to Hawn's Bridge Peninsula, managed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), since resort visitors, campers, and scouts would all want access to recreational activities at Raystown Lake. The recreation area would be open to the public so everyone would benefit.
4. What will the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area include?
As a public resource, anyone wishing to use the recreational facilities on Hawn’s Bridge Peninsula would be able to access the area by roads built by the TML development team, walking trails and possibly by an incline train (funicular). The proposed area would include a beach, kayaking/canoeing/paddle boarding area, Environmental Learning Center, restaurant, small marina with fuel dock, and camping/glamping facilities. Currently, the Hawn's Bridge Peninsula is accessible only by a gated-dirt track or the Terrace Mountain walking/biking trail. Since there is no current beach on the northern end of Raystown Lake, anyone living on the north or northeastern side of Raystown Lake must drive from 30-60 minutes to access a public beach and/or marina.
5. Will there be a marina at the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area?
The project development team would like to see a 150 boat-slip marina at this location with a fuel dock and dry dock storage for off-season storage of boats. The marina would add only about 9% to the boat docks currently on Raystown Lake. (Seven Points Marina has 663 docks & 283 dry docks; Raystown Resort has 650 boat slips = 1,596 boat slips currently.) About 50 slips would be for day or hourly use by any boater coming from any launch or marina. The other 100 slips would be for seasonal use. USACE statistics indicate that about 25% of the boats at a marina boat slip are out at any one time, so the marina proposed would add only about 25 boats A DAY to Raystown Lake. There is also considerable support for another fuel dock on Raystown Lake since anyone launching a boat on the north end of the lake has to travel about 10 miles to Seven Points Marina to get fuel. The new marina would help ease the congestion at other fuel docks on the lake. We have been told that many of the new boat slips would likely be taken by local homeowners who may have been waiting for several years for a boat slip at other marinas. The USACE master plan update is conducting a year-long boat density study and USACE will determine if the new marina would be desirable at this location. Keep in mind that the current USACE Raystown Lake Master Plan has provisions for another marina, but not at this location.
6. What is the process for the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area to be approved for development by USACE?
Hawn’s Bridge Peninsula was identified as a potential recreation site in the original Raystown Lake Master Plan. When USACE updated the Master Plan in 1994, a number of projects were removed from the plan, primarily because the funding for new development was not available. In December 2016, USACE was approved to move forward with updating the Raystown Lake Master Plan over the next year. The Terrace Mountain Lodge development team is hopeful that after a thorough review process, the new master plan will include approval to reclassify the Hawn’s Bridge Peninsula for recreation use. This could potentially lead to the offering of a concession to operate new recreation facilities on the peninsula.
The USACE plan update, often called a “Special Area Management Plan," will include a thorough environmental assessment. Numerous governmental agencies, such as the U.S. Natural Resource Agency, Pennsylvania Historical Agency, County/State/Local governments, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Conservation District and others, are generally asked for input on the plan. USACE will determine the list of agencies that will be requested to weigh in on the project and the general public will also be asked for input.
USACE is now approved to update the Raystown Lake master plan. The updating of the plan was approved in December 2016, in the S.612 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. U.S. Congressman Bill Shuster helped get the plan update in the bill.
Quote from Act S.612, Sect 1309 : “(the plan will be updated)….to ensure that alternatives for additional recreation access and development at the project are fully assessed, evaluated, and incorporated as a part of the update.”
7. Who is supporting this large development project?
All local economic and business organizations support the development of Terrace Mountain Lodge and the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area. In addition, there are numerous elected officials, municipalities, businesses, individuals, and other organizations that see this development as beneficial to the growth and stability of Huntingdon County.
The organizations or government entities who have already pledged support include: (click here to view letters)
Huntingdon County Commissioners
Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission
Union Township Supervisors
Juniata Township Supervisors
Huntingdon County Strategic Alliance for Economic Development (includes Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce, Huntingdon County Visitor's Bureau, Huntingdon County Business and Industry, Huntingdon County Government, Juniata College/SILL Business Incubator)
Pennsylvania Senator John Eichelberger
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey
Representative Rich Irvin
8. Won’t the jobs at TML and the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area be only seasonal and low paying?
The entire project is being designed as a year-round facility with both mountain and lake amenities vs. a lakeside resort, which is highly seasonal. There will be a variety of jobs and pay scales at TML, and many will be year-round positions. As of January 2017, Huntingdon County had an unemployment rate of 8.2% and in July 2016, during the summer, it was 7.3%. The TML team, along with the many supporting economic agencies, feel that the 300 permanent year-round jobs this project will bring to the county would be helpful to those who seek employment, which includes people who may want a second job or those who are willing to learn new skills. Teens in Huntingdon County currently have a very difficult time finding employment, and this project would have many entry-level seasonal jobs. A resort of this size will employ many types of individuals with different skills, education, and backgrounds such as:
TMR Managers: Operations Manager, Marketing Manager, General Manager, Assistant General Manager, Recreation/Excursions Manager, Restaurant Manager, Spa Manager, Guest Services Manager, Events/Convention Manager, Accounting Manager, Kitchen Manager/Head Chef, Purchasing Manager, Security Director, and others.
TMR General Staff: Front desk clerks, concierge, housekeeping staff, servers, kitchen staff, groundskeepers, maintenance staff, marketing and events staff, accounting staff, porters/bell hops, receiving and inventory management staff, and others.
Staff for Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area: Marina Manager, Restaurant Manager, Camping Manager, Environmental Learning Center Manager, staff for the beach, campground, restaurant, marina, Environmental Learning Center and rental services as well as groundskeepers.
In addition, the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission (SAP&DC) Economic Impact Report indicates that over the two-year construction phase there would be 697 direct construction jobs created, 1,119 indirect jobs, and 106 induced jobs. The report projects $35 million in payroll dollars spent on construction.
9. What types of businesses will the TML and Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area benefit?
The resort will need to purchase a huge array of products and services just to open. Everyday purchases will include food, beverages, linens, furniture, carpeting, printing, advertising (TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, etc.), cleaning equipment and supplies, office supplies and equipment, kitchen equipment and supplies, heating fuel, electricity, and many, many other purchases. Whenever possible, the project team is committed to buying local to support the businesses in our area.
Additionally, TML operations will need to use local services such as general contractors, electricians, plumbers, heating/AC contractors, painters, mechanical services specialists, vehicle repair specialists, landscapers, road maintenance services and others.
Local recreational service providers to the resort and recreation areas may include those that sell or rent bicycles, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, boats, and buses. Local services offered to TML guests may also include guides for fishing, birding, mountain biking, kayaking/canoeing, hiking or outdoor skill development. In addition, TML may bring in instructors to teach all types of classes such as yoga, meditation, leadership and local history, to name a few.
TML visitors and guests will likely visit other location recreational venues (museums, attractions, sports, entertainment), gas stations, restaurants, all types of retail stores and others.
(See link to an August 2017 article in the Altoona Mirror on the benefits of Bedford Springs Resort to the
10. Will anyone be able to use the facilities at TML?
Yes. The areas of the resort property that would be open to the public would be the restaurant, bar and spa, and the Hawn’s Bridge Recreation Area would be open to anyone. Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa, offers similar amenities for people coming to visit for the day or a few hours. The trails on the TML property would also be open to the public for hiking, biking and bird watching, and other activities will be added over time like disc golf and off-season activities. The TML management team anticipates inviting the public to events such as a campfire sing-a-longs, wine tasting venues, lectures, environmental programs and live entertainment.
11. What is the environmental impact of this project?
The management and development team for Terrace Mountain Lodge & Hawn's Bridge Recreation Area are committed to protecting the environment on all property and using eco-friendly methods for power generation, waste disposal, building materials, and supplies. The team plans to build, restore and enhance hiking and biking trails, provide habitats for birds and bats according to the standards of respected conservation authorities, and work with environmentalists to ensure land uses respect the environment. As many trees as possible will be preserved to enhance the enjoyment of the facilities and wooded terrain.
The development team is also committed to creating a state-of-the-art environmental learning center on the Hawn's Bridge Peninsula that would be open to the public and available to visitors, local school groups, scouts and other organizations. Goals include offering programs for children and adults on animals, birds, and habitats of the region, as well as providing information on the settlers and original Native American inhabitants. The TML development team has enlisted the support of Juniata College to oversee environmental stewardship of the project. Juniata College has also indicated that they have information on green building initiatives that they will share with our team.
12. Who should I contact if I want more information on this project?
Please contact Huntingdon County resident Janet Chambers, Community Outreach Liaison, at email@example.com.