You are also welcome to join SWA on interactive sites:
Swatara QR Code. Save to your phone.
It's all about Clean Water. Post your pictures of our events, water conservation, floods, pollution.
Share your memories about the Swatara.... Our projects and areas of
interest include the
Bordner Cabin, Eagle Scout Projects, PA Conservation Corps,
Swatara State Park, Swatara River, Swatara Sojourn, Swatara
Water Trail, Tenaska, Swatara Watershed Park, and
Planning a Swatara
Updated Map |
Swatara Water Trail map and guide 7MB 10.12.2017.pdf|
Public access points about every
For comparison, when the
Harpers gauge at our
launch @ 1929 Blacks Bridge Road, Annville reads the following
Road to site #1 is almost covered, not accessible
and partly flooded;
7’ our ramp is covered to
the top gravel border;
9’ the swell puts water onto sites 1-4 & site 8;
10.56', only sites 26-35 do not flood.
National Weather Service provides forecasts for Harper's
and Hershey gauges. Check the gauge nearest your start point.
Beginners should reschedule at 2.2' deep.
if experienced, but water is rising between 3.5' & 4', or below .4'.
Kayaks may float a bit
lower. Memorial Lake is an option when the Swatara is too high or
|Use caution at dams: With groups, avoid
low-head dam in Jonestown. Uneven portage on left bank, which disappears
into tree line in high water. Hershey dam portage is also on the left. Long, but flat, mowed route. Take out at feeder stream on left before warning sign.|
|U-Tow Canoes Available
Canoe Use agreement:
CANOE USE CONTRACT.pdf
Seasonal Primitive Camping
Fishing, hiking, picnicking
Visit the Bordner Cabin in Swatara
Bordner Cabin Drive
thru Swatara State Park 9AM-3PM the 2nd Fri & Sat monthly & 4th Fri & Sat
Mar, Apr, Sep & Oct.
Most recent Newsletter:
2017 Swatara News .pub.pdf
About the Swatara Watershed
Rivers Conservation Plan
Swatara on Great Nonprofits:
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Armar Bordner Cabin
Drive thru Swatara
State Park 9AM-3PM the
2nd Fri & Sat monthly & 4th Fri & Sat Mar, Apr, Sep & Oct.
on the Bordner Cabin
89 year old Armar Bordner
YouTube channel with interviews of Armar and people who knew him:
Take a Hike map to the Bordner Cabin
Bordner Masters Thesis Vocational Schools.pdf
Bordner Cabin was a "point of interest" on the proposed Heritage Trail in Swatara
State Park and is a point of interest on the Swatara Water Trail; a place for
artists to paint nature; a picnic spot; or a platform for people to sit and gaze
at the falls.
Bordner's Cabin was created
from oak logs and stone found on the site. Each log and stone is
masterfully hand hewn or cut. Look closely at the bottom side of each log,
and you will see a convex arch running the length of each log allowing the upper
log to sit snuggly upon the log underneath. Between each log, you will
find the original horse hair chinking. Look down the side of a stone wall
or the fireplace, and you'll see how straight the stone for the walls was cut.
Most homes and barns in the area use field stone that may be rounded or jagged,
but not cut with precision. Notice the natural heat-a-laters in the sides
of the fireplace. Cool air was drawn into the bottom holes as the warmed
air escaped through the top holes.
In addition to growing up at
the Coleman and Brock estate where Stella, his mother, cooked for Deborah Norris
Coleman Brock, Armar studied Frank Lloyd Wright, and construction pictures show
logs that cantilever towards Aycriggs Falls. Piers stabilize the
cantilever system. No doubt, Armar picked up skills from master craftsmen
who worked for the Colemans and Brocks, visited National Parks, and other
architectural sites, to combine everything he liked into one cabin that he
Next, the only deviation we can
determine from the original blueprints is a lowered floor in what was Armar's
drafting room over the garage. From the outside, you can see where a
window was filled in with logs. Within the room, you can see where logs
were cut off about 2' up the side walls. Also, the rafters are notched
slightly to raise the height of the ceiling in this room.
In the drafting room, there's a
trap door where, during nasty weather, he could hand groceries or firewood up to
Peg, his wife.
The master bedroom was along
Rattling Run, and Linda, Armar's daughter, used the middle room. Guests
stayed in the balcony room. Look on the floor, and you'll see lines were
built-in cupboards ran the length of each side.
Armar had fought eminent domain
by the old DER who wanted to build Swatara State Park and a dam, and was able to
live out his life in his hand-built home. He died looking up at Aycrigg's
Falls in a bed in front of the fireplace, .
Saving the building from
condemnation and dismantling, on June 12, 2006, Swatara Watershed Association signed and
returned their first lease to DCNR, which was returned fully executed in August
2006. Repairs to Labor and Industry standards were completed in December
2015. A second 10-year lease was executed through December 31, 2025. Please consider a donation to help
with ongoing maintenance,
supplies and/or volunteer to adopt the cabin for a month. Projects
to be funded: a porta-potty May 1 through October 31 annually,
walkway, repair fireplace, stain building, solar tubes at entrance.
Please follow all Park rules.
Do not enter the Park before sunrise. Exit the Park by sunset. Carry
out your trash....
Who: Volunteers wanted to help with
projects and maintenance at the Bordner Cabin. Please fill in and forward
the Adopt-A-Cabin form. Email to
Wish List of
Cabin projects: You have an opportunity to sponsor a project with a bequest,
donation, and/or your gift of time and talent to help us take the Bordner Cabin
to a condition that will last another 7 decades so that future generations will
be able to learn, explore, and appreciate real workmanship with a passion. So
what would we like done?
Restore spokes in the wagon wheels
by Aycrigg's Falls.
Build a bench for the porch.
Repair the chimney.
Improve the walkway, perhaps with a
pebbled epoxy finish.
Install two Amish solar lights
inside the entrance to brighten the cabin and stairs on overcast days.
Stain the Bordner Cabin to preserve
the hand-hewn oak logs.
Stewards for all
to monitor and spruce up for a month (sweep, pick up litter, pull weeds, clean
the Plexiglas with a special solution, deter
vandals and graffiti with your presence, share the history and answer questions posed by visitors)
Take along a broom, dust pan, hammer and nails:
January, Dick and
February, Don and
March, Bob Arnold,
Dave & Ann Lasky
April Becky L.
Soliday & Pete Silldorff
May, Dale & Marty Miller
June Lisa Carter,
Joan and Tom Hawk, Mike Willeman
July, Ed and Elaine
Ludwig, Mike Willeman
Trainer & husband Mike
October Becky L.
November Bill and
Many of the cabin users are there Saturday 10-6 and Sunday
12-6 with the heaviest usage 12-4. Adopt-a-cabin volunteers are encouraged to
visit during those hours to garner support and stewardship for the cabin.
Where: Bordner Cabin—Take Route 72 north
from the City of Lebanon. Continue north through the Lickdale intersection
past Swift Trucking.
At the next intersection, turn right onto Monroe Valley
Road (towards the golf course), then left onto Old State Road to Swatara State
Park, under the Route 81 bridges to the Appalachian Trail/Waterville bridge ( a
total of 2.7 miles). Park, and hike, bike, ski, or horseback ride another
2.6 miles past the Appalachian Trail Bridge toward Schuykill County. The cabin lane is
on your right.
From Swopes Valley Road, hike on the Rail Trail
(Old State Road/Bear Hole Trail) about 2.5 miles toward Lebanon.
After the electricity lines stop, the lane to the Bordner Cabin is on your left.
Look for large stones just past the driveway, and Rattling Run, which passes
through culverts under the road.
The shortest route, (1.6 miles) to hike in
is from the Sand Siding Trailhead. The parking lot is about
one-half mile down a dirt road that enters the Swatara State Park from Route 72
just south of Twin Grove Park, 1445 Suedburg Rd., Pine Grove PA 17963. Hike the Rail Trail towards Lebanon to a
Park Bench. Turn left, and cross the new footbridge across the Swatara
Creek. Continue walking to a "T" in the road, which is Old State Road/Bear
Hole Trail. Turn Left. Walk about .6 miles crossing two streams to
the Bordner Cabin on your right. The second stream is Rattling Run, which
runs from Aycriggs Falls alongside the Bordner Cabin.
Partners & Projects
Progress History Adopt-A-Cabin
Your Story Roofing
Original Blue Prints
Approved Labor & Industry Architectural Drawings:
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin ext stairrail.pdf
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin loft stairs r.pdf
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin New Columns.pdf
Cabin/Bordner Cabin plexiglass.pdf
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin Porch Floor.pdf
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin Porch Structu.pdf
Cabin/Bordner Cabin Shed.pdf
Cabin/Bordner Cabin steps&door.pdf
Projects/Bordner Cabin/Bordner Cabin wood plank.pdf
To volunteer or make a donation, contact
the Swatara Watershed Association at (717)644-4698, mail a check to SWA, 2302
Guilford St., Lebanon PA 17046,
information. We respectfully request that you remember the Swatara
Watershed Association in your will. Your generous support will ensure that
our Clean Water projects will benefit generations to come. Thank you.
The Bordner Cabin is created in the Rustic style of
architecture, which is defined by the National Park Service as structures built
between 1916 - 1942 such as a log cabin that is so highly stylized in its
attempt to be non-intrusive that it attracts the immediate attention of those
who are accustomed to the simplicity and frequent sterility of contemporary
architecture. It may be built of over-sized, rough-hewn logs and stones with its
obviously intensive use of hand labor and its clear rejection of the regularity
and symmetry of the industrial world, marking it as the work of another age, the
product of an attitude far removed from our own. Perhaps for the first
time in the history of American architecture, a building became an accessory to
nature... Early pioneer and regional building techniques were revived because it
was thought that a structure employing native materials blended best with the
A survey of significant rustic structures is needed. Often
rustic structures are too young (less than fifty years) to receive proper
attention under the current criteria of the National Register of Historic
Places. Each year a few disappear and a good many more are hopelessly altered by
renovation or remodeling done without sensitivity to the original design. In
this regard the authors can only concur with Ms. Wilson: "The rustic timber and
stone buildings found in our national parks...represent an important
irreplaceable architectural resource which should be used and conserved. "3
1. National Park Service, Park Structures and Facilities (Washington, D.C>:
Government Printing Office, 1935), 3.
2. Merrill Ann Wilson, "Rustic Architecture: The National Park Style," Trends,
(July August September, 1976), 4-5.
3. Ibid., 7.
Recently acquired donation:
89-year old Armar Bordner
interview in 1993 by Jim Schucker and Don Rhoades.
Courtesy of the Lebanon
County Historical Society
Enhanced by Jo Ellen Litz
Armar experienced living with
Horace and Deborah Norris Coleman (Mrs. Horace Brock)
27:56.71 Armar was born in Lickdale.
28:25.23 Armar graduated from Lebanon High School in 1924.
28:41.69 Armar went to Millersville University to be a school
29:34.85 After 2 years, Armar went to Penn State.
After seeing his student s make more money than he did, Armar worked as a
draftsman in industry for 16 years.
Armar also taught his final 4 years at Northern Lebanon High School, where he
retired with a pension.
Armar built his cabin over 2 years, and finished in 1939.
The cabin is built from oak trees found on the site.
As a kid, Armar also worked for Boyer Printing.
Armar sold 4 lots from his over 400-acre property.
When the State took it over in 1977, Armar had over 100 acres remaining.
Armar thought a dam wasn't feasible.
They took 200 properties for Swatara State Park.
Mytan Vassil knocked down the homes for Swatara State Park.
Growing up, Armar lived East of Lickdale near the covered bridge.
The L&T hit a woman and killed her.
Dr. Samuel Bordner Groh DDS.
Francis Ditzler visited Armar from time to time.
RESTORATION SCHEDULE 2015
Site Work Hours are 8am until 3pm. We must be off of the trail and secured by
4pm. Mike Willeman is our project manager. Volunteers welcome. A signed
liability release is required. During repairs, the public will not be able to
access the cabin. Please do not cross the yellow caution tape.
WEEK ONE : September 8-10
- Install 18" x 18" x 8" Concrete Pads in (11) Locations...
- SEPTEMBER 11 & 12 - NO SITE WORK : DRIVE THROUGH DAY
- September 13 : Volunteer Project Walkthrough at Cabin
- September 13 : fabricate Plexiglas panels. fabricate door panel 9AM-1PM.
WEEK TWO : September 14-18
- Install New 6x6 Wood Post/Columns on 18" x 18" x 8" Concrete Pads in (11)
to Support Log Floor Joists.
- Install New Door Panel at Opening to Garage Area (fabricate door offsite)
- Installed 42" High Plexiglas Panels to Existing Railing.
- September 19 & 20 : fabricate wall panels for job johny
WEEK THREE : September 21-25
- Install New Handrail at Existing Stairway to Loft Area (recreate original,
- Build Porta-Potty Shed. (some fabrication offsite)
- Install Stream Flow Diffusion Damn Up-Stream of Piers & Wall Rebuild Work
- Install New Handrail at Existing Exterior Stone Steps.
- SEPTEMBER 25 & 26 - NO SITE WORK : DRIVE THROUGH DAY
WEEK FOUR : September 28 - October 2
- Remove Damaged Stone and Concrete Piers Under Porch. (piers 2 & 3). Install
Retaining Wall and Reinforced Concrete Piers. Piers and Retaining Wall to Have
Veneer Anchored to Concrete with Masonry Ties.
Backfill Behind Retaining Wall and Install Reinforced Concrete Slab to Protect
- Rebuild Collapsed Area in Retaining Wall, South of Porch.
- October 3 & 4 : stain/treat floor boards
WEEK FIVE : October 5-9
- Replace Wood Plank Fencing Between Piers and Posts Under Porch.
- Install New Porch Railing. top of railing at 42" A.F.F. Minimum Opening 4".
- Porch Floor is 3/4" Planks with Space Between Planks. Install Tongue and
Boards Over Existing.
- OCTOBER 9 & 10 - NO SITE WORK : DRIVE THROUGH DAY
- OCTOBER 12 - NO SITE WORK : HOLIDAY
WEEK SIX : October 12-16
- Punch List Items and Site Clean Up.
Can't help physically, but would like to make a donation for the cause?
Please make checks payable to Swatara Watershed Association, 2302 Guilford
St., Lebanon PA 17046, or use PayPal from this website. (left column)