Central Pennsylvania Conservancy
In This Issue
2019 Ironmaster's Challenge
CPC Easement Projects
Letort Spring Garden Preserve
Ironmaster's Mansion Transition
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July 2019 CPC E-News
News about CPC's projects and events

The 2019 Ironmaster's Challenge Celebrated its 10th Anniversary this year--thanks to all participants, volunteers, staff, and event sponsors for a great event!
1st Male 50k Overall Winner
Andrew Simpson (York, PA)
1st Female 50k Overall Winner
Allison Longenberger (Dillsburg, PA)
1st Female 15k Overall Winner
Cindy Link (Hershey, PA)
1st and 2nd Male 15k Winners, Bobby Longenecker (Lititz, PA) and Nick Scullin (Annville, PA)
Congrats to these superior athletes, who, despite some challenging conditions on April 28th, conquered the rugged and beautiful Michaux landscape, finishing at the head of their events for the 50k and 15k. All finishers should be proud of their accomplishment and for supporting a successful fundraiser for Central PA Conservancy. Finishers, times, and awards are available via these links:  50k Finishers and 15k Finishers

A very special thanks to Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club volunteers for their extraordinary partnership on this event, especially, Karen Balaban, our dedicated Trail Director. As well, many thanks to Rick and Sandy Goodman and their volunteer radio team from the Keystone VHF Club of YorkWe couldn't execute this event without their advanced radio communications. Penn Township Fire Company did a terrific job ensuring safety of the road crossings for this event. 

Our generous sponsors included F&M Trust, Molly Pitcher Brewing Company, Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, M&T Bank, West Shore Family Dentistry, Boyer & Ritter, Select Medical, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Boles Metzger Brosius and Walbourn, Mid Penn Bank, Sun Motor Cars, Filson Water, and Boiling Springs Tavern. CPC raised a total of $27,639 to support its growing conservation easement and land acquisition programs and operations. This event allows CPC to continue to give back to the community by protecting key natural resource lands in our region in perpetuity. 
Trail Director Karen Balaban sees off 50k participants after making announcements about the 31-mile trail course
15k Participant Peter Yelk with CPC Board Member Justin Klamerus
2nd Place 60+ Male 50k Winner
Joe Tarris (Hummelstown, PA)

CPC Easement Projects Active in 4 Counties

Cumberland County-CPC is closing the funding gap on its first ever conservation easement purchase project with the Diakon Wilderness Center, located 2 miles south of Boiling Springs at the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountains and within the South Mountain Landscape. The 170-acre property will be permanently protected via a conservation and trail easement, securing the public investments in the surrounding public lands: 730 acres of State Game Lands #305 and the Appalachian Trail Corridor (3,000 feet of contiguous boundary). The entire tract is visible from Center Point Knob on the Appalachian Trail. The main stem of Little Dogwood Run winds through the property, and several areas of wetland provide unique habitat. Making this project possible, Cumberland County's Land Partnerships Program awarded a grant to fund the easement purchase, which is to be matched 1:1 by the Appalachian Trail's Landscape Partnership Wild East Action Fund.

Dauphin County-Current easement landowner Lida Hail is finalizing her estate plans and CPC is restating the 2004 conservation easement. We applied the latest easement template from PA Land Trust Association, customized it to further strengthen the protection of the property's unique conservation values, and completed an updated baseline documentation report. Situated just 2 miles from the Susquehanna River, the 152-acre property offers seclusion, historic character, productive soils, quality habitats for abundant wildlife, and fresh water in headwaters to the Conewago Creek. The landowner is a committed conservationist and philanthropist, and we commend her efforts to ensure the best protection and stewardship practices are applied to her unique property.

Perry County-Landowner Wanda Pines is donating a conservation easement to CPC on her 58-acre property in Rye Township, Perry County. Her property offers scenic open space and agricultural/soils conservation value in an area facing growing development pressure. The land is within the Kittatinny Ridge corridor and is one property divided from State Game Lands. 

Franklin County-CPC is excited to take on an easement project on a property that staff recently visited outside of Mercersburg, PA. The project offers to permanently protect approximately 400 acres of scenic open space from development and preserves rolling and rich farmland, several miles of buffer along the Conococheague Creek and Johnston Run, and the historic character of the 1770's McFarland Farm log cabin. Pending acceptance by CPC's Land Protection Committee, this project will be CPC's first easement in Franklin County.

Updates on the Letort Spring Garden Preserve:

Molly Pitcher Brewing Company Raises Funds for CPC

Molly Pitcher Brewing Company's Bonnybrook Brew, together with our kickoff event in January 2019 at the brewery, generated a total of $2,183 to support the Letort Spring Garden Preserve! We are so thankful for our partnership and hope all agree that the protection of our local, limestone spring run headwaters and fresh beer go hand in hand! Thank you Molly Pitcher Brewing Company!

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Education Partnership
CPC and Chesapeake Bay Foundation have developed a formal partnership to host CBF's Student Action & Restoration Program's inaugural season. CBF ran a total of 5, one-day field experiences at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve. During this programming, a total of 90 students investigated water and soil quality and pulled garlic mustard, an invasive plant that displaces native vegetation and changes soil conditions. Several local schools participated, including Halifax Middle School and the Marshall Math Science School in Harrisburg. CBF has reached out to several more schools and is planning another busy season of environmental education at the Preserve this fall.

The program coordinator, Kassie Fenn, commented, "the landscape of the site naturally lends itself to educational programming and students were excited by the biodiversity around them and the remnants of the watercress agricultural operation." The collaboration is a win-win for both CPC and CBF and naturally grew out of our partnership on the Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute. We look forward to providing future updates on these efforts. 

CPC Partners with PA State Historic Preservation Office
The 1882 bank barn at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve (Klepper Barn) has been selected for a pilot project that will help increase nominations of historic barns in Pennsylvania to the National Register of Historic Places. Pennsylvania barns are currently inadequately represented in the National Register, and SHPO has been researching existing national guidance to allow for listing of historic agricultural structures, such as a typical, historic Pennsylvania bank barn. SHPO believes the barn at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve is a good candidate and has hired a barn expert to prepare an application. Becoming listed on the National Register will help CPC secure grants for renovation and improvement projects going forward and add to our knowledge base about the site's historical significance.

CPC Events at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve

On June 12th, CPC's Director of Land Protection & Stewardship, Ben Mummert, gave a tour as part of the Craighead House "Weekday Walks" program. It featured the rich history of the historic watercress farm, its previous owners, the South Mountain Railroad, the founding of Carlisle, and the Native American settlement and trading post set-up by James LeTort in the early 1720's.

Come out to Celebrate Creatures of the Night!

Friday, July 26, 2019, 7:30 pm (please note this time correction): Sign-up HERE to join a free program on the evening of Friday, July 26, 7:30 pm. The Night of Flight Guided Walk will feature guest speakers from Bat Conservation and Management and the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019: CPC will partner in hosting the Letort Greenway Tour for the Greenways and Trails Summit, together with Carlisle Borough, Cumberland County, Letort Regional Authority, South Middleton Township, and DCNR.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, 3-6 pm: Save the Date for CPC's inaugural fall fundraiser, Bonnybrook Biergarten, a fun-filled event with local craft breweries, cideries, distilleries, and more offering sampling, a great silent auction, dinner buffet, and festive music. Join us for a lovely October afternoon at the Preserve! Details for event registration will be shared in the next few weeks.

Ironmaster's Mansion Operations to Transition to A.T. Museum in 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Appalachian Trail Museum will assume responsibility for operating the Ironmaster's Mansion as of January 1, 2020, following the end of CPC's 10-year lease with DCNR. Since 1983, the facility has served as a popular overnight hostel for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who traverse northbound or southbound along the trail's 2,190 miles between Maine and Georgia. The AT passes along the Mansion's south balcony (shown in photo), just steps from the surveyed halfway mark.

"CPC entered its tenure at the Ironmaster's Mansion in the spirit of partnership, and we are thrilled to pass along operations to a very capable partner organization--the A.T. Museum," says Ken Waidelich, CPC's President. "With an on-site presence at Pine Grove Furnace State Park and a commitment to the facility's historical integrity and use as a hiker's hostel, the AT Museum is a great fit as steward for the next decade." 

Beginning in 2010, CPC completely renovated the dilapidated facility with the help of local trail clubs, volunteers, local funders, and CPC membership contributions. It hosted a youth conservation leadership camp there for 6 years (Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute), the annual Ironmaster's Challenge trail running event (which will continue in 2020), and opened it up to outside groups for events such as school, scout and church youth retreats, family reunions, weddings, showers, and environmental and community/history programming. CPC created marketing materials, events, and a modern website for the Ironmaster's Mansion. A private guest suite was added in 2017, supported with a grant from Cumberland Valley Visitor's Bureau, and other improvements and necessary maintenance was made along the way. We thank our hard-working, on-site innkeepers over the years, who cared for the historic building and ran the day-to-day operations of the hostel. 

While CPC is turning to focus on its growing land conservation projects in the region, it's proud to have played a role in sustaining the facility and its viability as one of the few remaining hiker's hostels on the A.T. in Pennsylvania. The partnership with DCNR, the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland Valley Visitor's Bureau, and other local groups is critical to its continued success. The A.T. Museum already has strong ties with these entities and has a good strategy in place to achieve its organizational goals while continuing similar uses.

The Museum is working in partnership with CPC to maintain current operations, with some modifications such as increased hours and programming. In the future, the Museum will install exhibits there as well as utilize it for storing items from the Museum collection and housing Museum volunteers. The hostel will remain open to the public for overnight stays as well as for groups and events. 

CPC's Board of Directors would like to thank all of our members and supporters for the many years of helping us steward and operate this historic, local treasure, and we ask for your continued support as we transition to scaling up the organization's regional land conservation program. The CPC Board has been working hard on a new strategic plan, which it intends to approve and release in October of this year. 
CPC will host a "Walk in Penn's Woods" in Juniata County on Sunday, October 6, 2019

Please join us at CPC's Greg's Woods Preserve in Juniata County to learn about the special habitats and services associated with forested wetlands. Hike leaders will discuss management, including how to control tree-of-heaven among other invasive plants and challenges. This is an easy to moderate 1-mile walk in a wetland forest. Wear boots and anticipate that parts of the trails may be wet. People-friendly leashed pets are allowed; owner must clean up after their pets. This is not a wheelchair and stroller friendly walk.

For other sponsored "Walks" this October 6th, please visit https://sites.psu.edu/walkinpennswoods/where-are-the-walks-happening/ or check out the campaign's Facebook Page.

Program Details:
Juniata County - Gregory Alan Grening Forest Preserve - Walk starts at 1:30 p.m.and ends by 3:30 p.m.
Walk Address: 6500 William Penn Highway, Mexico, 17059 - GPS coordinates - 40.5405 - 77.3560
Central Pennsylvania Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax exempt organization as provided by IRS regulations. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free (within PA) 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.