Talen closes popular Lancaster properties near Holtwood Dam

David Weissman

Talen Energy has closed off more than 400 acres of land encompassing parts of Holtwood Park, the Arboretum and Kelly's Run Trail in Lancaster County following its sale of Holtwood Dam.

After selling Holtwood Dam on April 1, Talen Energy closed off more than 400 acres of its land (marked in blue) in Lancaster County to the public.

Talen finalized the sale of the dam to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners on April 1 but retained the "excess property" because it wasn't needed to operate the facility, according to Brookfield spokesman Andy Davis.

The dam crosses over to Lower Chanceford Township in York County, but all that land was included in the sale, Davis said. Per Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations, Brookfield is required to maintain that land — which includes Whitewater Park, two campgrounds and three public boat launches — for public use while it operates the dam.

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Since Talen no longer has any generating operations or assets in Lancaster County, it has no responsibility to provide public access to its property, according to company spokesman Todd Martin.

"We consider these parcels private property and not available for public use," Martin wrote in a statement.

Talen began posting signs to secure those areas on Tuesday, Martin said.

The signs were greeted with angst by many Lancaster residents, according to a report from Lancaster Newspaper Co., and a Facebook group dedicated to "Save Kelly's Run from Talen Energy" has accumulated more than 3,500 likes since its creation on Wednesday.

Thursday afternoon, Talen opened a dialogue with the Lancaster County Conservancy, which maintains the land, Martin confirmed in an email.

Talen Energy also operates Brunner Island Power Plant in York Haven.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.