Snyder County, Pennsylvania

Snyder County, Pennsylvania

Infobox U.S. County
county = Snyder County
state = Pennsylvania

map size = 225
founded = March 2, 1855
seat = Middleburg | largest city = Selinsgrove
area_total_sq_mi =332
area_water_sq_mi =1
area percentage = 0.29%
census yr = 2000
pop = 37546
density_km2 =44
web =

Snyder County is a class 7 county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of 2000, the population was 37,546. Snyder County was formed in 1855 from parts of Union County. The county seat is MiddleburgGR|6.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 332 square miles (860 km²), of which, 331 square miles (858 km²) of it is land and 1 square miles (2 km²) of it (0.29%) is water. Snyder County is in the Appalachian Mountain Section of the Ridge and Valley Province. Two parallel mountain ridges run southwest to northeast. The Susquehanna River is the eastern border. Between the ridges are steep hills, gently rolling hills, and flat creek valleys. With over 400 active farms in the county, agriculture plays an important role in the economy and environment. Roughly half the county remains forested with both softwoods and hardwoods.

Adjacent counties

*Union County (north)
*Northumberland County (east)
*Juniata County (south)
*Mifflin County (west)


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 37,546 people, 13,654 households, and 9,981 families residing in the county. The population density was 113 people per square mile (44/km²). There were 14,890 housing units at an average density of 45 per square mile (17/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.93% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 48.2% were of German, 17.2% American and 5.5% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 4.19% report speaking Pennsylvania German at home. []

There were 13,654 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.00% were married couples living together, 7.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.90% were non-families. 22.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 11.20% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The Average Wage per job reported for 2003 was $26,650. County population in 2003 had risen to 37,965.Jobs in 2003 were 17,907 with a Total labor force in 2004 of 19,863. The unemployment rate in 2004 was reported at 4.8%.Average household size in Snyder County in 2004 was 2.58.


Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, , and, in at most two cases, towns. The following boroughs and townships are located in Snyder County:



Manufacturing since the year 2001 was faced with the largest loss in employment in Snyder County. The sector dealt with a loss of 427 jobs, or 7.2 percent of the employment in the industry. This made up a total of 36 percent of all county employment losses since 2001. [ Employment Report for Snyder County, Pennsylvania. U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics.]

County Major Employers and Industry Sector as reported by Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry December 2006.

Wood Mode Manufacturing
Susquehanna University Educational Services
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp Manufacturing
Selinsgrove Area School Educational Services
Midd West School District Educational Services
Apex Homes Inc Manufacturing
Wal-Mart Associates Inc Retail Trade
National Beef Wholesale Trade
Penn Lyon Homes Inc Manufacturing
Professional Building Systems Manufacturing

In 2005 manufacturing was the largest of 20 major sectors. It had an average wage per job of $34,042. Per capita income grew by 7.7% between 1994 and 2004 (adjusted for inflation).

Two Selinsgrove based manufacturing facilities announced closings in Spring 2007. Both are building related manufacturing facilities. Together they represent a loss of over 250 jobs.

The county and region are struggling economically. The reasons include: a lack of inter-municipal coordination and cooperation, a changing employment base and a dearth of jobs paying a living wage, out-migration of young people, an aging population, the need for workforce development, and an inequitable local tax structure. [ Alter, Theodore R. "Strenghtening Rural Pennsylvania" Brookings Institute. March 2007. ]

Between 2000 and 2005, a total of two businesses in Snyder County received funds totaling $550,000 through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Opportunity Grant Program. [ Auditor General Jack Wagner Faults DCED’s Monitoring of Opportunity Grant Program]


Snyder County has two main arteries. U.S. Routes 11/15 travel through the county on the east end generally following the path of the Susquehanna River. The highway is a major travel artery through the region. Flow is constant (truck and vehicle) with very heavy loads and backups on Fridays (especially in the afternoon) and holiday weekends. There is a proposed major highway bypass project called the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway. It is meeting with funding challenges that have delayed the project for decades. The proposed thruway would cross Monroe Township just north of Shamokin Dam. Many residential properties are designated for eminent domain actions. Residents along the proposed route have expressed concerns about the negative impact on their quality of life that the thruway would mean. Pro development forces have been successful in overwhelming their objections. Others are concerned that, like the town of Selinsgrove which is in decline, the bypass will mean the loss of local revenue and jobs that the traffic brings to the many local restaurants and hotels that are located along the current U.S. Rtes 11 & 15 highway. In June 2007 another two year delay was announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The primary roadblock is a lack of funding for the estimated over $300 million dollar project. The state's transportation has historically been grossly underfunded. This has resulted in hundreds of bridges and roads in need of repair. [ PennDOT report on Snyder County roads and bridges in need of repair.] [ Gessel, Damian, "State of Bridges", The Daily Item, August 5, 2007] [Levy, Marc, "Long road ahead", The Daily Item, August 5, 2007]

U.S. Rte 522 begins in Selinsgrove and travels west through Kreamer, Middleburg and on to Lewistown. Route 35 begins on 11/15 south of Selinsgrove borough and runs roughly parallel to Route 522 crossing through Freeburg and Mount Pleasant Mills then westward to McAllisterville and Richfield, in western Snyder County.

Snyder County is in Pennsylvania Department Of Transportation District 3. According to PennDOT there are 240 state owned bridges in the county. In 2007, 27 of the bridges are rated structurally deficient and 4 are posted with weight limits. The bridge that spans Middle Creek in Kreamer has been deemed structurally deficient by the state. [ Gessel, Damian, "State of Valley Bridges", The Daily Item. August 5, 2007.]

State routes 235, 104 and 204 cross the county in a north - south direction. State route 104 joins State Route 45 with U.S. Rtes 11/15 in Juniata County.


Colleges and Universities

* Susquehanna University

Public School Districts

* Midd-West School District
* Selinsgrove Area School District

Early Child Education

According to the Office of Child Development and Early Learning of the Pennsylvania Department of Education June 2007 report, Snyder County is rated low to moderate risk level for children who are “at risk” and therefore might benefit from more taxpayer funded services. Snyder County was rated 1.86 ARL, in the lowest 25% of counties for average risk level. [ Early Child Education Program Reach Analysis 2007]

Boards and Agencies

* [ Snyder County Conservation District] The conservation district is governed by a seven member board of volunteer directors. The Conservation District is a delegated authority to administer in Snyder County the state Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control (ESPC) program under PA Code Title 25 Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 Rules and Regulations and the Clean Streams Law. Act 217, the Conservation District law, permits conservation districts to charge fees for services, under certain circumstances. Their motto is Conservation Through Education. They offer programs regarding nutrient management, erosion prevention, Improving Dirt & Gravel Roads, and Watershed Protection. [ SCCD location map] .
* [ Snyder County Cooperative Extension Board] Snyder County Courthouse, Middleburg, PA. Through educational programs, publications, and events, cooperative extension agents deliver unbiased, research-based information to Snyder County citizens.
* [ Snyder County Geographical Information System] (GIS) 44 Universal Road, off Rte 522, Selinsgrove, PA. This agency produces maps of county locations with additional layers of information like watershed data or building addressing. These maps are used in development planning, dispatching timely emergency services, flood plain tracking and epidemiology.

*Snyder County Housing Authority's mission is to promote safe, sanitary, and affordable housing, and maintain a good quality of life for Snyder County residents. Provides rental assistance to low income county residents using a voucher system for renting suitable housing. The authority meets at 9 am on the third Monday of each month in the conference room of its Administrative offices located at 103 Drake Court, Middleburg, PA 17842. Denise Miller is the Executive Director. Phone: 570-837-3979
* [ Emergency Management Agency] is run by a Coordinator. The office is located at 30 Universal Rd. Route 522, Selinsgrove , PA 17870 Office: 570-372-0535 [ Snyder County Hazard Mitigation Plan]

*Columbia, Montour, Snyder and Union Joinder Board and Local Emergency Planning Committee
*Snyder County Agricultural Land Preservation Board
*Tourism Fund Review Panel for Snyder County
*SEDA-Council of Governments Board of Directors
*Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. board
*Snyder County Prison Board

*Snyder County Waste Management Authority 713 Bridge Street, Suite 9, Selinsgrove, Pa 17870 The Authority is charged with the planning of how to manage the solid waste in the County. A [|8909| recycling program] is available throughout the county with a varying schedule. Additionally, it is examining the issue of a single waste hauler contract for the county or to continue to allow individuals to contract privately with individual haulers.
* [ Snyder County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications] provide vital communication resources during a crisis or disaster. Efforts go through the County's Emergency Management Coordinator.

Environmental Issues

In 2002, Snyder County ranked among the [ dirtiest/worst 10%] of all counties in the U.S. in terms of cancer risk score (air and water releases). In 1999, this county ranked among the dirtiest/worst 10% of all counties in the U.S. in terms of sulfur dioxide emissions.

Snyder County’s water supply includes wells, springs/streams, reservoirs, the Susquehanna River, treatment plants, and pumping stations. Water distribution can be affected in three ways: the amount of water available; the quality of the water; and the viability of the physical components of the distribution systems. The quantity of water usually depends on nature. Humans, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for the maintenance of water quality. Water contamination can occur naturally, by human error or intentionally. Occasionally, releases of manure and milk into the water supply can cause contamination. There are also times when accidental spills and releases of hazardous materials contaminate water. Water supplies along transportation routes have been affected by hazardous materials spills.

* Ongoing pollution and soil erosion in the region continue to degrade the water quality and the environment locally as well as regionally. Farming, wastewater treatment facilities and industrial spills are cited as contributing factors to loss of water quality. Local pollution and erosion also contributes to the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Controlling the wastewater discharges alone is expected to cost local taxpayers [ billions of dollars] .

* Ground water is being monitored by the USGS. [ Ground-Water-Quality Data in Pennsylvania - A Compilation of Computerized Electronic Databases, 1979-2004]
* [ Groundwater - A Primer for Pennsylvanians] is provided by the Water Resources Education Network to encourage safeguarding the quality of the groundwater.

* Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Water supply and Wastewater Management has a Northcentral Region office at 208 W. Third St., Suite 101 Williamsport, Pa 17701
* [ The Master Well Owner Network] is a network of trained volunteers dedicated to promoting the proper construction and maintenance of private water systems in Pennsylvania. There are 286 trained Master Well Owner Volunteers in 60 counties in Pennsylvania. They have provided assistance to over 8,000 homeowners with private water systems. MWON is facilitated by Penn State Cooperative Extension.

* The Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association’s central purpose is to protect, conserve, and improve the Lower Penn’s Creek watershed by promoting the wise stewardship of the land and aquatic resources. The organization is open to all citizens. The organization has sponsored a main stream assessment The Lower Penns Creek watershed is approximately convert|163|sqmi|km2 within Snyder and Union Counties. It drains into the Susquehanna River on the northern border of the community of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. It is located within the Lower Susquehanna subbasin. LPCWA’s efforts contribute to the success of the missions of the [ Susquehanna Greenway Partnership] and the [ Susquehanna River Basin Commission] . The Snyder County Conservation District and the Union County Conservation District both have watershed specialists that participate in LPCWA. [ Growing Greener grants] support watershed specialists who provide technical assistance and coordination of watershed restoration and protection efforts.
* [ Private Landowners Assistance Program] (PLAP), helps landowners develop habitat management plans, increasing its value to wildlife and helping to keep at bay the ongoing decline in habitat quality and loss of wildlife habitat on lands in private ownership. There is no charge for participating in PLAP, nor is there a public access requirement. Southcentral: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Snyder counties - Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management Biologist Dan Mummert at 814-542-8759.
* [ Natural Resources Extension] provides information for sound wood lot and forest stewardship of private lands.


Electric – All 21 municipalities within Snyder County receive electric service from PPL Electric Utilities, Inc. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 500 kilovolt line runs through Snyder County. Three 138 kilovolt lines stem from this 500 kilovolt line at the Sunbury Generation coal-fired power plant in Shamokin Dam, which is capable of producing roughly 400 megawatts of electrical power.

Water – Water service in Snyder County is provided by various municipal and regional authorities, private water providers, and private well water sources.

Gas – UGI Penn Natural Gas is the only natural gas provider in Snyder County, providing service to Jackson, Middlecreek, Monroe, and Penn Townships, as well as Selinsgrove and Shamokin Dam Boroughs. Several propane dealersexist to service the rural community.

Communications – Verizon of Pennsylvania provides telephone service to all 21 municipalities in Snyder County.

Cable television service is provided by Service Electric Cablevision, Nittany Media, Inc., Zampelli Electronics, and Beaver Springs Community TV Association.

High-speed Internet access is principally provided by Verizon, Evenlink, and Service Electric Cablevision.

There are two Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the county provided by PenTeleData Unleashed. They are located at Dunkin Donuts and Applebee's both located on Routes 11&15 in Hummel's Wharf, PA.


External links

* [ Snyder County]
* [ Pennsylvnia Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Research, Geographic Information Division, "2005 General Highway Map of Union and Snyder Counties".] Note: shows boroughs, townships, roads, villages, some streams. URL accessed on April 5, 2006.
* [ Hazardous Air Pollutant Report]
* [ Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway]
* [ Public Hunting Map. Snyder County]
* [ Governor's Center for Local Government Services]

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