These 400 acres have been enjoyed by four generations of the Detweiler/Stackpole family.
The original home on the property was purchased by Gen. Edward J. Stackpole Jr. eight decades ago as a residence and is no longer a part of the park property. General Stackpole was president of the Telegraph Press and a co-founder with his brother Albert of Stackpole Sons, which later became Stackpole Books. “The General” (as he was fondly dubbed by his family and friends) planted all the pines behind the main house and along the trails. He also provided a home in the 1970s for the Dauphin County Anglers and Conservationists on the family property along Clarks Creek.
In 1943, his daughter, Mary Frances “Frankie” Stackpole married Meade D. Detweiler III and they built a modest home on land adjacent to her mother and father’s home. Meade’s business interests continued the family tradition in media through WHP radio and television, Commonwealth Communications and Stackpole Books.
Over the years, Meade and Frankie made various additions to their home and land to accommodate their family’s love of the outdoors. An avid conservationist, Meade worked diligently to improve tree health, attract wildlife, create a sustainable ecosystem and maintain walking trails on the property that the family enjoyed on a daily basis. In that same spirit, the family later donated land for the Dauphin County Conservation District’s offices.
A 1993 letter found in Meade’s files states simply his vision for the future of this land: “The property should be an area where habitats are preserved and managed in perpetuity for wildlife based on sound ecological principles that demonstrate a strong land ethic...”
On December 30, 2016, his heirs – Susan Detweiler, wife of the late M. David Detweiler IV; Frances Detweiler Granatino; and Esme Detweiler Freedman – achieved these goals through a combination donation and sale of the property to Dauphin County.
Facilities & Guidelines
Detweiler Park is the largest of eight parks of public land owned and managed by the Dauphin County Parks & Recreation Department. Visitors are encouraged to explore more than 7 miles of trails winding through varied habitats. Gardens, fields, meadows, evergreen plantations, and mature deciduous forests are some of the ecosystems in this biologically diverse park. Deer are seen frequently as well as a wide variety of birds including turkey, hawks, woodpeckers, and bluebirds.
Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.
- Detweiler Park has a carry-in carry-out policy for trash. Please take your trash with you.
- A portajohn is available at the top of the trailhead.
- We ask that you respect boundaries and adjacent private property.
- Pets must be leashed and their waste must be bagged and removed from the park.
- All buildings on the property are currently closed.
- Trails are for foot traffic only.
- Keep Detweiler Park natural and beautiful.
Detweiler Park prohibits the following:
- Hunting and trapping
- Removing plants or animals
- Alcohol use
- Motorized vehicles
Master Site Plan
Detweiler Park has launched its Master Site Plan process. A master site plan is a long-term planning document that serves as a blueprint for the maintenance and development of a park. It takes into consideration many things including ecosystems, buildings, social settings, surrounding environments, and economic impact.
A committee of 15 individuals have been chosen and approved by the Dauphin County Commissioners to lead this process:
- Sally Zaino, president, Manada Conservancy
- Julie Seeds, Middle Paxton Township manager, and park neighbor
- Joe Sherrick, president, Dauphin County Anglers & Conservationists, which operates the E.J. Stackpole Memorial Fish Nursery in the park
- Eric Naguski, director, Dauphin County Conservation District
- Deb Everly, member, TriCounty Regional Planning Commission
- Chris Rebert, naturalist, and manager of Dauphin County’s Wildwood Park
- Amy Young, Middle Paxton Township resident and community recreation advocate
- Paula Zankel, president, Clarks Creek Watershed Preservation Association and adjoining property owner
- Justin Goa, student, Central Dauphin High School
- Amma Johnson, owner of Amma Jo, a local business
- Justin Warren, vice president, Central Dauphin School District Board of Directors
- Josh First, member, Dauphin County Planning Commission and hunting advocate
- Gregg Cook, executive director, Hershey Harrisburg Sports & Events Authority
- Andy Brought, forester, state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry
- George Connor, executive director, Dauphin County Department of Community & Economic Development
In case you missed the public meeting, here's what was discussed:
Meeting #1 - February 3: Presentation | Meeting Minutes
Meeting #2 - May 11: Presentation | Virtual Meeting Recording
Meeting #3 - September 21: Presentation | Meeting Minutes
Meeting # 4 - January 27: Presentation | Meeting Minutes
Click here to view the Final Master Site Plan. Click here to view the Final Appendix.
Detweiler Park Master Site Plan Kickoff - May 16, 2019
Dauphin County seeking public input on the future of new, 411-acre park - January 22, 2020