Directions & Tour Info

UNION CANAL TUNNEL PARK

Park located at 25th & Union Canal Drive, Lebanon, PA (North of Lebanon Valley Mall).

ATTENTION GPS or Google Maps Users:  Google Maps directions will take you to the NORTH SIDE of the Park.  The Boat rides are on the SOUTH SIDE, near the park entrance.  Please plug in the intersection of N. 25th St. and Union Canal Drive, Lebanon, PA  17046.  Click here for Directions.

Park Hours:  Park open year-round from dawn to dusk.  Pets are welcomed but must remain leashed at all times.

 

A Message from the Captain:

From the Captain’s Log Book:

After many, many months our tour season is over and will resume next May.  Hard to decide whether to watch football or do the projects that didn’t get done this summer.  I’ll make that decision after a nap.

But first a big thank you to Rick French of French’s Excavating for lifting the Meily out of the canal on Saturday November 7 and putting it on the bank for the winter.  If you have not seen this happen it is quite exciting to see the boat suspended by a cable under a huge crane as it slowly moves from the water to the shore.   Rick has done this for many years and is quite the expert.

There are also many new signs at the Park reminding people to keep it clean and take their trash home.  The Historical Society constructed and erected very large signs at the entrance stating rules about dogs, dumping and hours of operation.  Pictures are on our Facebook page, just search: Union Canal Tunnel Park.  Lets hope the signs do some good.  (We never did learn who dumped the construction debris into the canal).

Please thank the following volunteers for recent work at the canal:

 –  Dennis Flake for helping to clean the last of the construction debris out of the canal and clearing some tree branches.

 –  Scott Beard for making 4 signs about trash to put along the towpath

 –  Dave Smith for helping move the Meily from the water to the shore and for cleaning up a rather  large tree limb from the water at the south portal.  Dave was nearly scalped by a wild rose and has the scars on his head to prove it.

-  Paul Quinn for taking both outboard motors to Bass Pro for needed servicing and repair

-  Jim Schucker for helping move the Meily and all the many, many things he does at the Park

-  Ed Dannels, Jim Rinehart, and Leroy Brandt for covering the Meily for the winter.  We had to build a frame, then cover it with 1/4 inch plywood and heavy gauge plastic topped by a large tarp.  The plywood is necessary to keep the snow and ice from sagging between the supports, the plastic keeps it waterproof and the tarp keeps the UV from destroying the plastic.  It is all done with screws so we can take it off and reuse the materials next year.

YEAR END TOUR RESULTS AND REVENUE ANALYSIS:

For the season we had 111 tours for 1,354 passengers which grossed us $8,144.  While that number sounds great, and it is, our expenses will total $6,600 for the season.  Yes, that is a big number and is made up of insurance costs of $2,365, water treatment costs of $2,528,  inspection and appraisal costs of  $872,  advertising costs of $379 and fuel, motor maintenance and other incidentals of $456.    So our profit of $1,544 divided by 1,354 passengers yields a per person earning of $1.14.  Next year we won’t have the inspection and appraisal costs and hopefully less water treatment costs, so profit will be a little better.   If you hear any grumbling about our price for the tour, gently and kindly let them know there is not much left for us after costs.  Of course our objective is not to only make profit, but to educate about history and provide an enjoyable experience.  It would be nice to earn more money to cover costs for other needed improvements at the Park.

We make our money on large reserved tour groups.  One tour for 20 people, load and go, and 3 volunteers are home in 1.5 hours.  Beautiful, that’s the way it should work.   Sunday ridership averages 30 passengers on 4 tours totaling 4 hours of time for each of 6 volunteers selling tickets, narrating, policeman, dock hand, captaining and dipping ice cream.   So you can calculate how much money we make on those days per volunteer hour.   We do make additional revenue on merchandise, drinks and ice cream sales, especially on those hot July and Aug Sundays.   Please spread the word to friends, family, clubs, organizations, etc, that we do reserved tours anytime of the week.  Help us schedule more of them next year.

On behalf of all the tour volunteers,

Marty Bandt

If you consider helping, please come to the Canal for a complimentary tour and learn about volunteer opportunities.  I would be happy to answer any and all questions.  Contact me via email: martybrandt@comcast.net or phone 717-867-1352.  Once you cruise down the canal you will understand why we keep coming back.

Submitted on behalf of our volunteers,

Marty Brandt

 

Canal Narrated Tours

Each Sunday, June through October 12:30 – 4:30PM.  $8/Adult, $4/Child (ages 6 – 18).  Children under age of 6 ride FREE.  Weather Permitting.  The Union Canal Tunnel Park is maintained entirely by volunteers, and that includes the captains and the rest of the crew also. We are facing some problems at the moment because we do not have enough certified captains right now to pilot the canal boats every Sunday and to adhere to our regular schedule. Since the beginning of this Summer season, several of our boat captains has been having health issues, and scheduling has been very difficult—and oftentimes we do not know if the rides are available until the last minute. We are in the process of recruiting new boat captains, but to get the volunteers trained and properly licensed will take some time.  Please call ahead to check if the boats are running 717-272-1473.

Union Canal Days

TBA 2016  [More Info»]

Private Group Rides

Group rides can be arranged for most days two weeks in advance. Please call 717-867-1352 to make your reservation.

 To Follow the Latest Updates on the progress of the Canal Boat Repair, please “Like” the Friends of the UCTP Facebook Page!

 

Friends of the Union Canal Tunnel Park (FUCTP)

In April, 1950, the Lebanon County Historical Society purchased the Union Canal Tunnel, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 1, 1974. Throughout the years, many volunteers have donated their services at the Tunnel, together with county donated manpower, to maintain and prepare it as a recreational site open to the public.

The Union Canal Tunnel Park, located at 25th Street and Union Canal Drive, was dedicated by the Lebanon County Historical Society on October 9, 1988. The Union Canal Tunnel was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on April 19, 1994. The Park is maintained by a group of volunteers know as Friends of the Union Canal Tunnel Park.

On September 9, 2006, the North section of the Park, located across Tunnel Hill Road, was dedicated and opened to the public. Together with the original property, the Union Canal Tunnel Park is comprised of 110 acres of recreational open space.The Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk, with picnic tables and pavilion, benches, and several marked walking trails. There is no admission charge.

Narrated boat rides on the canal and through the tunnel are available for a nominal fee every Sunday, as weather permits, during the months of June through October, from 12:30 to 4:30 PM. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride while learning some of the history of the Lebanon Valley. Private groups can make reservations for rides at other times by calling 717-272-1473. The Park is also available for class reunions, family gatherings, and weddings. For group reservations or more information,  e-mail office@lchsociety.org or call the Historical Society office 717-272-1473.