A great place to enjoy life is on Lake Clarke. The lake is in Lancaster County with York County on the west shore line. Lake Clarke was formed in 1931 when the Safe Harbor Dam was built on the Susquehanna River. The dam, in addition to storing water for the hydroelectric-generating plant, created an 11.5 square-mile lake that over the years has developed into one of Pennsylvania’s prime recreation areas, especially for water-sports enthusiasts.
Each year, thousands of visitors to Lake Clarke enjoy sailing, water skiing, fishing, waterfowl, large and small game hunting, hiking, and picnicking. There are many who come to the area just to appreciate its beauty.
- TAILRACE: Perhaps Safe Harbor’s most popular fishing spot, the water below the plant’s turbine generator discharge area annually provides fishermen with catches that fish stories are made of. Expansion of Safe Harbor prevents fishing on the draft-tube bridge or along the tailrace shoreline until 1986. Boaters in the tailrace should observe the warning signs and signals provided by Safe Harbor and stay a safe distance from the discharge area.
- SAFE HARBOR PARK: Noted for its majestic stands of evergreen trees, Safe Harbor Park, located three miles west of Conestoga on River Road, features a large and a small pavilion that can be reserved between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The park also features tennis courts, quoits boxes, a ball diamond, a children’s playground and fishing in the Conestoga Creek.
- Â ARBORETUM: Tree lovers can see 50 species of trees and shrubs native to southeastern Pennsylvania in Safe Harbor Park’s arboretum. Hikers can find unmarked trails that start at the arboretum and extend several miles over company forestlands (there are no organized trail hikers).
- CONESTOGA CREEK PARK: Across River Road, and just north of Safe Harbor Park, this day-use park offers two pavilions, playgrounds, and picnic facilities, as well as the reasonably well-preserved Lock 6 of the Conestoga Navigation Canal that paralleled the Conestoga Creek from Lancaster to the Susquehanna River. All of the facilities in the park are available on the first-come, first served basis.
- EAST SHORE OVERLOOK: Situated above the Safe Harbor dam and hydro plant, this observation point gives visitors a four- to five-mile downriver view of Lake Aldred and a three-mile upriver view of Lake Clarke. Signs explain some of the history of the plant and lake. Rest rooms and a picnic area are available. The East Shore Overlook is located on Oak Road about 1.5 miles south of River Road in Safe Harbor.
- ROOKERY ISLAND: One of Lake Clarke’s many islands, this particular island is well known as a protected haven for exotic shorebirds and migratory birds that stop along the flyway. The Pennsylvania Game Commission designated Rookery Island as a state game-propagation area. From March 1 to July 31, people aren’t allowed on the island, so this is the perfect time for bird watchers to see a variety of birds either from a boat or the Lancaster County shoreline near Route 441 at the southern end of Washington Boro.
- UPPER ISLANDS: Safe Harbor leases parcels of land on these islands and on both shorelines for recreation purposes. To inquire about these leases, contact Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation.
- LOWER ISLANDS: Between Washington Boro and Turkey Point, these islands and shallow water offer waterfowl hunter the perfect spot to set up duck blinds during the fall hunting season.
- LOCK 2 BOAT ACCESS AREA: This is Lake Clarke’s most popular public boat-launch area. Thousands of boaters take to the water each year from this spot, but landlubbers also enjoy the picnic and playground facilities. Lock 2 is located just off Route 624 in Lower Windsor Township.
- CABIN BRANCH CREEK PARK: The park is located on Route 624, Long Level Road about five miles south of Wrightsville. It provides enjoyment for many baseball teams, hikers, and picnickers.
- KLINES RUN PARK: After a day of sailing or water skiing on the lake, your group can picnic here in a pavilion that accommodates up to 100 people (it’s first come, first served). There also are picnic and playground facilities. Kline’s Run is also located on Route 624 Long Level Road about three miles south of Wrightsville.
- WRIGHTSVILLE BOAT ACCESS AREA: The boat-launching area, located in Wrightsville, features a boat-launch ramp on land leased from Safe Harbor Water Power Corp. by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. A community park is located on land that Safe Harbor leases to Wrightsville.