Page 3 - Elements_Summer2015
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elements SUMMER 2015

FallsEverything The cantilevered visitor center and exhibit
wing required creative geotechnical and
structural engineering solutions.

Into Place Launching a true visitor experience in
the heart of Ohiopyle State Park

As the rushing waters of “This is the big hurrah.” “This project began because we were
the Youghiogheny River severely lacking in a public contact point
approach the inevitable – Stacie Hall, Assistant Park Manager for visitors,” said Stacie Hall, Assistant
precipice, they eventually at Ohiopyle State Park Park Manager at Ohiopyle State Park. The
location of the park office—a couple miles
submit to the pull of the drop, Naturally, the hub for activity at Ohiopyle from the falls area—had always been an
seemingly enjoying the ride. has always been right near these captivating issue. “As state employees, we needed to
falls—trail entrances, concessions, multiple be accessible to the people. We were barely
Youghiogheny is an Algonquin word commercial operations, a boat and kayak scratching the surface on communicating
meaning “a stream flowing in a contrary launch permit facility, public restrooms, a available services and information.”
direction,” but there was nothing contrary parking lot, a small visitor center offering
about the direction in which things went brochures—yet despite all of the activity As part of a professional services agreement
leading up to the grand opening of the new occurring in the central falls area, there with Pennsylvania’s Department of
Ohiopyle State Park Office/Laurel was nothing “centralized” about it; no true Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR),
Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center in visitor experience at the park’s core. CEC was the prime consultant for what was
southwestern Pennsylvania.
Continued on page 2
Much like the unpredictability of riding
the challenging white waters of the rugged A soft launch of the facility took place shortly after Labor Day 2014, allowing park staff to ease into the new
river, this project would challenge operations during the off-season.
designers to streamline an abundance of
moving parts within an environmentally
conscientious facility.

The 20,500-acre Ohiopyle State Park is
one of the most visited state parks in the
United States, welcoming more than 1.5
million people annually for whitewater
rafting, biking, hiking, and other passive
activities—not to mention the exquisite
natural beauty of the Laurel Highlands.
The centerpiece of the park is the
Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River
(pronounced yah-kuh-gainy).
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