Nearly every Duncannon resident has been up to Hawk Rock at some point in their life. The people of Duncannon are lucky to have what is often considered one of the best views in the state of Pennsylvania with its wide open natural vista showing Duncannon Borough, the Susquehanna and Juniata river confluence, and the Clarks Ferry Bridge off to the right. Shermans Creek is immediately below with Orchard Hill, Dicks Ridge, Mahanoy Ridge, Hickory Ridge, and the Tuscarora Mountain ridges trailing off into the distance. So why isn’t this beautiful vista more popular among hikers and tourists?
Hawk Rock is a great place to go to enjoy nature’s beauty as it spreads out both far and wide but when seen up close, the rock itself is an ugly mess plagued by layer upon layer of graffiti and the area directly below is littered with years upon years of trash.
Here is how Hawk Rock has looked in the past:
Normally I don’t show pictures of Hawk Rock graffiti because I dislike giving vandals any publicity but the most recent incident was too terrible to ignore. Some misguided Romeo decided that the best way he could declare his devotion to his beloved “Anna” was by spray-painting about 30 red hearts on rocks and trees all along the Appalachian Trail between the recycling center and Hawk Rock. He also wrote “I Love you Anna” with a dopey smiley face on a large rock one third of the way up the mountain. And of course he also had to proclaim his love for all of the world to see by painting “I would climb a mountain to see you smile” across the entirety of Hawk Rock and signed it ABJR. I’m guessing AB is for the girl Anna B. and J.R. are his initials or he’s A.B. Junior.
The damage done by this lovestruck loser was so bad that the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community, the Mountain Club of Maryland and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy joined together and invested approximately 200 dollars and 50 man-hours to remove a large part of the graffiti. The graffiti remover product is expensive and requires about 50 gallons of water to rinse off 1 gallon of remover. As I’m sure you can imagine, carrying 50 gallons (400 pounds) of water up to Hawk Rock is no easy task. We are making progress but we are not done yet.
So what can you do to help? The DATC, MCM and ATC will be getting together again on Sunday, September 14, 2014 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to clean off the remaining graffiti and we need help carrying water up the mountain. It doesn’t matter if you carry one cup of water or five gallons; nor does it matter if you make one trip up the mountain or three; we would like you to come out to the Duncannon Borough and Penn Twp. recycling center and show your support for one of Duncannon’s most beautiful natural resources.
Another way you can help is by talking to young people and explaining how this type of vandalism not only defaces nature, but Duncannon and America’s reputations as well. People come from around the world to hike the Appalachian Trail and enjoy views similar to Hawk Rock. Seeing so much vandalism is a stain on Duncannon’s reputation and disrespectful to America and its national parks (the AT is part of the NPS).
Thank you for taking pride in your community and helping to make a change for the better.