Spring Mill Park
About Spring Mill Park
Spring Mill Park is a Montgomery County-owned park, located within Whitemarsh Township. The park consists of 38 acres of floodplain along the east side of the Schuylkill River. It provides an access point for the Schuylkill River Trail, which passes through the park. Except for the trail, the park is undeveloped.
The park includes the lower stretches of Spring Mill Creek and a second unnamed creek both of which flow across a broad area of floodplain to enter the Schuylkill River at the bend at Spring Mill. Suppression of woody vegetation in a powerline right-of-way that also crosses this low flat area creates a marsh that provides habitat for 2 state-listed wetland plants (forked rush and umbrella sedge). However, common reed and purple loosestrife are present and threaten to crowd out many of the native plants.
Most of the park is dominated by silver maple floodplain forest or sycamore - box-elder floodplain forest with black walnut, American elm, and white ash also common. Non-native trees include white mulberry, tree-of-heaven, and mimosa. Although there are some native species present, the shrub and herbaceous layers are dominated by non-natives, such as porcelain-berry, Japanese hops, Oriental bittersweet, Amur honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, stinging nettle, common mugwort, Indian strawberry, and mile-a-minute.
Despite its weedy condition, Spring Mill Park provides an attractive backdrop for the Schuylkill River Trail and habitat for 2 rare plants (umbrella sedge and forked rush) and numerous bird species. Trees overhanging the river are potential habitat for riparian specialists such as Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Warbling Vireo.
History of Spring Mill
The village of Spring Mill has a long history as an industrial center; it was also the site of a ferry. Two iron furnaces were built in 1844 and 1853 to process iron ore mined nearby. The furnaces were later demolished to make room for expansion of the railroad. Clay pits were also operated near the village. In addition Spring Mill contained a gristmill powered by a spring-fed creek, no doubt the inspiration for the name of the village.