Dryerson Festival to celebrate Ryerson Station State Park | Local News

The 16th Annual Dryerson Festival at Ryerson Station State Park on Saturday, June 25 is an afternoon of free fun, food and live music, hosted by the Center for Coalfield Justice to “celebrate the park’s beauty, outdoor opportunities and the work of the CCJ community to protect and revive this local treasure.

This year’s picnic in the park, located in Graysville, runs from 1-4 p.m. and includes lots of eco-friendly things to do, from corn hole throwing games to tie-dying shirts to take home for discuss the latest environmental news while jazz guitarist Dan Baker matches the notes to the many species of birds that nest here throughout the summer.

For long-time fans of this annual kid- and pet-friendly get-together, Pavilion 2, tucked into the ravine beneath the stately Lazear brick house where park superintendent Alan Johnson lives, feels like a family reunion. . For park visitors who come to see what’s going on, it’s a chance to grab a free snow cone and learn about the history of the park and the stories of the people who worked hard to protect the water resources that make Ryerson Station State Park an economic boon for tourism in western Greene County.

The CCJ got its start in 1997 as the Tri-State Citizens Mining Network, a coalition of grassroots groups focused on the environmental impact of longwall mining.

After the Duke Lake Dam was compromised and a number of adjacent waterways were damaged by coal mine subsidence in 2005, the group reorganized as a nonprofit CCJ and hired its first staff. The CCJ then expanded its mission by holding the extractive industry legally responsible for the destruction of the Ryerson Dam. Dryerson’s first festival was held in 2007 to spread the word.

The public outcry over the loss of Duke Lake was a galvanizing force that brought together citizens, county and state officials, and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to advocate for a settlement for the damage caused.

When hopes for restoration of the lake were dashed by official reports that the earth was still moving around the dam site 10 years later, a new action plan was implemented.

With $36 million in settlement money to work with, restoration work began. Many tons of silt that had accumulated since the lake was created in 1959 were trucked to Mather to remedy a pile of gobs and a ‘Revisioning Ryerson’ task force was formed to plan the first modernized park in the state in the 21st century, with integrated solar elements wherever possible to help bring day-to-day operations closer to its zero carbon footprint goal.

The CCJ, along with community leaders and county and state officials, became members of the working group that meets periodically to promote new features and review contracts for ongoing park projects. The park now has a new swimming pool with a water park and adjoining accommodation including shade islands with solar panels. He has also upgraded campgrounds with modern cabins that bring residents of outlying states to spend days and sometimes weeks enjoying the natural beauty of southwestern Pennsylvania as they work from their wooded homes. far from their home.

This year’s free lunch is served by 5 Kidz Kandy and CCJ is conducting a survey asking residents what they would like to see implemented in the park. Those planning to attend can register online and submit any dietary restrictions for the free lunch and sign up to tell a personal story about Ryerson. Those who register will receive a “surprise piece of CCJ loot”.

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