Winding trails, grassy fields, and sweeping views of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River draw residents and visitors to Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail in Lycoming County.

The 11-acre parcel of undeveloped land, donated to the Muncy Historical Society in 2004, boasts a rich history.

After opening in 1834, the West Branch Canal quickly became a major shipping and transportation route. But like other canals in Pennsylvania, it was rendered obsolete by the birth of railroad and closed in 1901.

The park site borders the remains of a shingle sawmill, a reminder that the park is also tied to the region’s timber industry, which dates to the 1860s when log rafts were corralled and floated down the Susquehanna River for milling. At one time Lycoming County was known as the “Lumber Capital of the World.”

With support from the Keystone Fund, volunteers from Muncy Historical Society and Museum of History led community members and other partners in an effort to turn the the donated open land into a public park complete with a trail system, picnic pavilion, educational exhibits, and a model of the lock system once employed by the canal.

A unique public archaeology dig brought more than 1,000 visitors to the park, and regular visitors hike and bike, enjoy river views, gather with loved ones, and learn about the region’s history.

Aptly named, Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail commemorates the region’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution, while providing visitors the opportunity to make new memories every day.