This landscape is home, it is where we live. Together, the Partnership strives to collaborate in sustaining all that makes our home landscape so special and all that supports the quality of life that we enjoy.

News Around South Mountain
Save the Date!
The Fruitbelt in Adams County along the southeast slopes of South Mountain. _SouthMountainLandscape
Photo by Katie Hess

Join Us! 
9:30am to 12:00 noon 
Carroll Commons Pavilion, Adams County 

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Completes Two Bridges, Plus One Underpass
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photos by CVRTC

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Council has completed two trail bridges and one trail underpass projects - all within the last four months!

Fogelsanger Road Trail Bridge - just north of Shippensburg - finished March 2017

Big Spring Road Trail Bridge - just south of Newville - finished March 2017

Centerville Road Underpass - just southeast of Newville - finished June 2017
The improvements, funded by PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and PA Department of Transporation (PennDOT) grants, allow for continuous movement along the trail from Shippensburg to Newville and the underpass will allow for a trail to connect to the Big Spring School Campus. One mile was also finished this spring at Allen Road on the west side of Carlisle.

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Council (CVRTC) is an all-volunteer, non-profit, charitable corporation that is building the trail. The CVRTC aims to preserve the beauty and history of this piece of the Cumberland Valley. The all-volunteer CVRTC relies on membership dues, contributions and fundraisers to support the trail. CVRTC aims to preserve the beauty and history of the area and relies on membership dues, contributions, and fundraisers to support the trail. Using the old railroad track corridor, this Rail-to-Trail provides safe, family-friendly, healthy opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy: 
  • Picturesque farmland scenes;
  • Spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains to the north and south & the Cumberland Valley;
  • Shady sections and trail-heads that provide ideal spots for picnicking and enjoying nature; 
  • Organized walks, runs, and rides throughout the year, and;
  • Interpretive signs that recount the critical role the old Cumberland Valley Railroad played in the Civil War and explain the rich agricultural heritage of the valley. 
Rail-to-trail projects like this one give more residents in the South Mountain landscape region easy access to this wonderful type of community recreation. Longer trails attract exercisers, as well as heritage and recreation tourists to spend their money here. Many of those visitors will eat here; some will spend the night here; and businesses catering to walkers and bicyclists are sure to see trail-related sales go up. The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail will continue to grow and flourish only with the help of generous volunteers and donors -  email and/or visit their facebook page for information on how to get involved!

Next Speaker Series Event - August 15th
Doors open at 7:00pm & Refreshments provided!


Like a Farmer - Land Use, Planning,  & "Crop Yields"
Hint: Skip to 9:40 for the good stuff!

Non-typical economic development and land use planner thinking - think like a farmer and consider "crop yield" - Wes Craiglow shares his passion for creating communities for people. 

Wes Craiglow is the Deputy Director of Planning and Development for Conway, Arkans as. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Central Arkansas in Geography and Community & Economic Development, respectively. He is a 2009 graduate of the Community Development Institute, an inductee of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a current student within the Arkansas Public Administration Consortium. 


Parks Can Play a Major Role in Managing Stormwater
Photo courtesy of LandStudies

From LandStudies: Parks and other open spaces (rights-of-way, along streets, parking lot medians, etc.) are the most ideal places in a municipality to generate a variety of long-term economic, ecological, and community benefits, such as water quality and quantity improvement and infrastructure protection. Incorporating green infrastructure for stormwater management into parks provides a community with two major benefits: meeting regulatory requirements, such as those related to MS4 permits, and enhancing a public asset for the betterment of the entire community. Any well-established park will have facilities in need of renovation or retrofit over the years, offering opportunities to manage stormwater "naturally" on-site. Parks yet to be built can have green infrastructure designed and installed from the beginning, reducing costs.To learn about various green infrastructure techniques and an example or two, visit

See more from the July LandStudies Newsletter.

Meet Appalachian Trail hikers halfway through their 2,200 mile journey
Photo by pennlive

From - 
It's the thing they have always wanted to do, whether they heard about it from a book, a friend or a parent when they were young.

Pine Grove Furnace is the halfway point for northbound hikers whose goal is to reach Mount Katahdin in Maine. By the time they've reached Pine Grove Furnace, they've hiked more than 1,100 miles.

Different people come out for different reasons...Read more

Share Your Thoughts on State Parks

Researchers from Penn State are working with Pennsylvania State Parks to help inform the strategic plan for the next 25 years. Informational materials have been prepared for you to review prior to taking this survey.  These materials have been designed to tell you more about your State Parks and where they might be heading in the future. 

"Pennsylvania's state park system began in 1893 with the establishment of the first state park at Valley Forge. In the early years, the park system concentrated on preserving and protecting rare, scenic, historic and natural areas.

In 1929, legislation established the Bureau of State Parks with a commitment to provide outdoor recreation facilities in a natural setting, to preserve park areas and to provide environmental education opportunities. By 1930, the Bureau managed 13 parks and prepared the first statewide plan for the future growth of the park system.

The establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 brought growth in the size and diversity of the park system. Thanks to the CCC, the park system now included cabins, well-defined trails and other facilities. A 1936 survey that identified a need for parks near 10 major urban areas further influenced the system's development to include parks near cities as well as remote areas. After World War II, the demand for more day use parks near urban centers continued to increase." (From Short Version of PA State Park History)


Stay Cool - How homes kept cool before the age of AC

Photo by Green Connections via solarcity

From SolarCity - The modern air conditioner was invented only in the 1920s, and it didn't become a  common home feature until the latter half of the 20th century.

But, while some of us might wonder how our grandparents survived hot and steamy summers, the fact is those older homes had a few tricks up their sleeves. They were designed and built with features to help them stay cool without AC.

Mary Wheeler Schap is a registered architect who designs and restores historic buildings to their former glory in Cincinnati, Ohio. She offered this expert insight into the features that made older homes livable in the heat.

In northern states, it was common to create a  "stack effect" by opening windows in the basement and top floor. This generated a cool breeze through the house. Further south, before AC many homes were built on blocks, allowing breezes to flow underneath and help keep them cool all summer long.

Photo from

Tall ceilings
Ceilings as high as 10, 12 and even 14 feet were common in older homes. As heat rose to the ceiling, lower areas stayed cool and comfortable. Ceiling fans-powered by electricity or elaborate rope systems-also facilitated air movement.

A transom-a small window over a door-allowed warmer air at the ceiling to circulate up to higher floors, providing more air movement throughout the house. Transoms over exterior doors often had hinges and special hardware. This allowed easy access to open and close, helping create airflow while still providing security.

Large, Operable windows
Many older and historic homes had large, double-hung windows. Opening the top sash would allow hot air near the ceiling to escape. Opening the bottom sash, especially at night, allowed cool air to flow inside. Rooms had many windows, some as large as doors. Thick, long draperies were often used in these large windows to keep out the heat. People would "draw the drapes" to help keep a room cool without sacrificing light.

Wraparound porches offered shade from the direct sun while still allowing light to pour through windows. Screened and furnished sleeping porches were also very common. People would sleep outside to catch the cool breeze of the summer night without all the bugs. Many believed that fresh air had health benefits.

Reflective roofs
Many older homes had light-colored or silver-metal roofs made of lead, tin or copper. This was a great way to reflect heat away from the home to reduce interior temperatures. It's quite a contrast to today's dark asphalt shingles that can absorb a lot of the sun's rays.

Thick walls
If you could afford them, thick brick masonry or stone walls were a great insulator and kept homes cool before AC. Walls 12 to 24 inches thick were common in the Deep South, blocking the heat from the inside as the day wore on, and providing some warmth as the evening chill set in.


From The Craftsman Blog - 

In addition,  Awnings were on every house including The White House back in the day. They keep the hot summer sun from pouring directly into your windows thus keeping the house cooler.

Shade Trees
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." - Greek Proverb.  If you get to enjoy the shade provided to you by the wise and kind generations before you then what better way to keep your children and grandchildren cool then by planting a tree that will live on long after you and provide shade and a cool respite from the summer heat for hundreds of years.

For east and west windows especially, having large drapes helps to keep the direct sun light out of the house. Old timers would strategically open and close drapes and blinds depending on the time of day and position of the sun.

Whole House Fans 
In the south whole house fans were extremely popular before air conditioning. Here's how they worked: built into a central location on the attic floor this massive fan would be turned on for only a short burst in the evening.  The windows in the house would be opened up and then the fan would be cranked up for 15-30 minutes. In that short time the powerful fan would suck all of the stale hot air up and out of the house through the gable vents while pulling the fresh cool evening air in the house. This gave the house a full transfusion of cooler air before bedtime.

Passive Solar Home Design
Older homes were oriented to the sun in a way to plan for summer comfort as well as winter heating. Our ancestors, especially early settlers and farmers, were masters at property siting their homes so that the roof pitch runs parallel to the summer sun's path and eves and porches shield windows from summer afternoon sun. These older homes were oriented through use of a heliodon; today, design models help us to do the same thing. It requires careful design and siting, which very by local climate conditions. Read more.

Photo by InterNACHI

TreeVitalize Grants Available

TreePennsylvania, a state-wide non-profit, administers the statewide TreeVitalize grant program. Funding is available for communities to promote and develop sustainable forestry programs within Pennsylvania that  increase tree canopies in communities and educate and engage citizens in the care and selection of those new trees. 

To apply for this grant or learn more about the application process, visit Applications are being accepted through 4 p.m. Aug. 15, and must be submitted via email to Development and Grants Coordinator Jessica Cavey, Free webinars are available to help you apply.

This program is made possible by funding from DCNR for grants and partnerships with municipalies, community support, private agencies, and company partnerships. 

Additional News 

Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities

Juy 12 - Webinar
This session of American Planning Association's Planners4Health Curriculum webinar series focuses on sustaining the healthy communities movement. Participants will learn about strategies for sustainability, including disseminating lessons learned and spreading best practices. Participants will learn about Plan4Health and partner resources, tools and success stories. Learn more and Register.

July 17 - Webinar
Community Forestry Management Grant Information
Join TreeVitalize for a series of webinars discussing funding opportunities to increase tree canopy in your community. Not sure which grant opportunity fits best with your community? Need help with a planting plan? Want to learn more about how they review applications? Click the "Online" links found on this website.

July 19 - Desktop Webinar or Harrisburg
PDOT "Local Government Safety Seminar
Town Hall Meeting to discuss protecting the Yellow Breeches Creek 

July 20 - Webinar
General overview/open question & answer
Join TreeVitalize for a series of webinars discussing funding opportunities to increase tree canopy in your community. Not sure which grant opportunity fits best with your community? Need help with a planting plan? Want to learn more about how they review applications? Click the "Online" links found on this website.

July 25 - Webinar
General overview/open question & answer II
Join TreeVitalize for a series of webinars discussing funding opportunities to increase tree canopy in your community. Not sure which grant opportunity fits best with your community? Need help with a planting plan? Want to learn more about how they review applications? Click the "Online" links found on this website.

July 27 - Webinar
Exploring Legal Issues of Land Use and Zoning for Public Health
This session will expand upon the legal basis of planning to promote and protect public health through land use and zoning. Speakers will address the historic connection between zoning, public health, and environmental justice, as well as the legal and ethical challenges to zoning for health. Representatives from both national and local agencies will offer their perspectives, followed by a robust Q & A session with the audience. Moderator: Montrece McNeill Ransom, JD, MPH, Team Lead, Training and Workforce Development, Public Health Law Program, CDC. More information & Register.

August 15 - Gettysburg
Speakers Series event, HGAC's Barn Preservation Project: a Model for Local Efforts Throughout the Commonwealth
Free - Learn more.

September 8-9 - Paradise Farm Camp, Downingtown
For the Trail, On the Trail
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association is partnering with trail professionals and Penn Trails to offer this two-day training event for those engaged on trail management, maintenance and construction. Participants may choose to attend two full days, one full day or a half day depending on their particular interests. This training will offer hands-on training as well as classroom instruction and will be eligible for PRPS Recreation Professionals and Landscape Architect CEUs. Limited space is available. Please register to secure your place. Lunch is included.

September 13-15 - St. Paul, Minnesota
National Walking Summit
The National Walking Summit is the premier opportunity for community advocates, nonprofit representatives, government officials, and transit, health, and planning professionals to share best practices and stories, increase the visibility of key issues, build support for the walking movement, and create momentum for the work ahead. The power of walking just get more powerful and the creation of vital and vibrant communities more feasible and closer to bridging the divides and disparities that challenge us. Learn more & Register. 

September 14 - Carlisle
Speakers Series event - Antique Buildings: The Real Estate Market for Historic Buildings in Cumberland County
Free - Learn more.

September 17 - Newville
Three Creek Century Bike Ride
Not a race but rather a leisurely ride through the scenic Cumberland Valley on lightly traveled roads along and over the Conodoguinet, Yellow Breeches and Big Spring creeks which feed the Susquehanna river, this ride offers routes of 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles. Learn more and Register.

September 28 - Gettysburg
Speakers Series event - The Froelicher Legacy: Preserving a Watershed Landscape for Environmental Education in Adams County
Free - Learn more.

October 5
Speakers Series event - Farm Fields to Warehouses: Economic Development Along the I-81 Corridor
Free - Learn more.

October 11-12 - Washington D.C.
Form-Based Codes Institute's inaugural Forum
With the theme of Connecting Policy, Place & Practice, this event brings together representatives from the planning, land use and real estate development disciplines, in the public and private sectors, to learn about trends and innovations and to share best practices for form-based codes.  The Forum - geared to attendees at different points on the learning curve-covers a broad range of topics enabling public and private professionals to learn how form-based codes (FBCs) have been adopted and implemented in a wide variety of places across the country, and what the results have been.  The gathering also will provide a platform where a cross-section of practitioners can come together to share best practices, network and move the form-based code dialogue forward. Learn more & Register.

November 14-17 - Chicago
PastForward 2017
What is PastForward? PastForward is the premier educational and networking event for those in the business of saving places, and this year's conference in Chicago will explore many themes in historic preservation including: preservation's role in creating economically and environmentally sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities; Technology - applying the next generation of technological applications to the work of saving places; and Health - better understand and advocate for the physical and psychological benefits of older and historic places. Learn More & Register. Scholarships may be available - contact Katie Hess at 717-258-5771.

Please contact us anytime to add additional training opportunities to this list!  
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Do you have news to share with the South Mountain Region?  We welcome you to submit announcements and updates of projects and events that are strengthening our quality of life.  

Include an image and brief description of the event or call to action (approximately 3 sentences). 

CALL TO ACTION   Looking for ways to get involved in the South Mountain community? The following organizations and events are looking for volunteers:

Appalachian Trail Museum

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail 
contact:, 717-860-0444

Friends of Pine Grove State Furnace Park
contact: 717-486-7174

Friends of Caledonia State Park
contact: 717-352-2161

Three Creek Century Bike Race
Marilyn Chastek at 717-798-4537

LeTort Stream Studies Field Program
contact: Holly Smith at , or call  (717) 514-4607

South Mountain Partnership
contact: Katie Hess at 717-258-5771
*Special need for individuals with event planning and management experience to help plan and coordinate the Annual "Power of the Partnership" Celebration that will be held in January 2018.  

PA Parks & Forest Foundation

Wilson College Department of Fine Arts and Dance & The Fulton Center for Sustainability
Call for participants - for developing a collaborative performance project during summer and fall 2017. This outdoor, site-specific performance will respond to the unique landscape of Fulton Farm and will explore the farm's impact on sustainable agriculture in Franklin County. If you have a story to share about the impact of Fulton Farm, we want to hear from you! We also invite community members with an interest in movement, music, or visual art to join us as artist-collaborators. Performance experience is not necessary, but participants should be excited by the idea of moving and creating in nature. More info and/or get involved by contacting Rori Smith at

South Mountain Partnership | Appalachian Trail Conservancy | 717-258-5771 |  |