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Kings’ Crossing

DEP staff was involved recently in the removal of a public safety threat from the Cocalico Creek on the property of Leon and Barbara Ann King (owners) and Alvin and Naomi King (permittees) in West Earl and Warwick townships, Lancaster County.

On June 8, 2021, the Southcentral Regional Office’s Waterways & Wetlands Program and the PA Fish & Boat Commission investigated a kayaking incident at a private bridge crossing located on the Kings’ property. The bridge consisted of six metal culverts, each five feet in diameter.

The Kings obtained a permit from DEP in 1992 for their private bridge. DEP’s investigation determined that the Kings were not maintaining their crossing as required by the DEP permit. Failure to maintain the crossing free of debris and in good repair constituted a violation of the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, and posed a significant threat to public safety, and an unreasonable obstruction to navigation for users of Cocalico Creek. This was not the first incident at the Kings’ crossing. In 1994, a boater drowned after getting stuck in one of the culvert pipes and his companion nearly drowned.

On September 23, 2021, DEP issued an Administrative Order to the Kings that revoked the permit and required the removal of the crossing from the creek. The Kings did not immediately comply with the Order. DEP filed a Petition to Enforce the Order at Commonwealth Court. The Kings then removed the crossing from Cocalico Creek. DEP confirmed the crossing’s removal on March 29, 2022.