Stay up to date on CPC's current projects, programs, and events!
Due to the COVID-19-related event cancellations in state parks and forests, we have postponed the 2020 Ironmaster's Challenge to:
Saturday, September 26th !

All registered participants will be automatically transferred to the new date. If you cannot attend on September 26th:
If you haven't registered yet, we will be taking new registrations starting in April until the event sells out.
Take Solace in Nature: Tips to Remain Active and Inspired While Staying Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With family members home from work, kids home from school, and shops and restaurants closed, connecting with nature proves to be one of the best ways to get through these extraordinary times. We have a few suggestions for nature activities and how to be smart and safe while exploring local landscapes.

Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation has compiled an excellent list of useful ideas and activities to get the entire family involved in learning about your natural surroundings. Acti vities include word searches, virtual barn and farm tours, and wildlife guides. Click Here to Access!
For additional tools that make exploring in nature fun and educational, try these phone apps: iNaturalist and Seek. Both allow you to identify and learn about animal and plant species while exploring!
Getting out on the Trail

To research some great hikes in Central PA that may not be as crowded, a helpful resource is the web and phone app, AllTrails. Whether you are looking to hike, bike, or trail run, you may refine your search and filter by length, rating, and difficulty. This is a great tool to help explore nearby natural gems such as Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area, Joe Ibberson Conservation Area, Pine Grove Furnace State Park and Michaux State Forest, Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Colonel Denning State Park, and Tuscarora State Forest. If you haven't yet visited CPC's latest protected natural area, please come check out the Letort Spring Garden Preserve and the Letort Nature Trail which extends from Letort Park in downtown Carlisle to CPC's preserve on South Spring Garden Street, a 2.5 mile, flat hike on a rail trail that allows you to explore the wetland trails and Letort headwaters at the southern end. Please respect social distancing measures while utilizing this trail.

In planning your next excursion, please take special note that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has issued an advisory to refrain from hiking on this national footpath, which runs through Central PA and is a popular "go-to" destination for day hikers. Click Here for more information.

The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has announced that while state park facilities are closed, trails mostly remain open . DCNR shared some tips on best practices to employ when venturing out. These include:
  • Avoid crowded parking lots and trailheads
  • Use the bathroom before you visit
  • Bring a bag and carry out your trash
  • Avoid activities that put you at greater risk of injury, as there is limited staff to assist 
To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and still enjoy the outdoors:
  • Don’t hike or recreate in groups – go with those under the same roof, and adhere to social distancing (stay 6 feet apart)
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow and use hand sanitizer regularly
  • If you are sick, stay home
Visit their website here for more info!
Letort Spring Garden Preserve's Melester Barn awarded National Register Status
In February 2020, CPC's Melester Barn, located on the Letort Spring Garden Preserve, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places after a 6-month nominating process in partnership with the PA State Historic Preservation Office. The barn is now recognized by the National Park Service as an historic site with preservation value. Among the few working agricultural structures to be listed, the Melester Barn was recognized for its architectural integrity, representative of a typical Pennsylvania Bank Barn from the late 1800s, in terms of its design, materials, and workmanship.

CPC is now in the process of raising grant funds and donations for the rehabilitation of the historic barn and nearby springhouse. Though the barn is significant in its design and workmanship, it has deteriorated over time with little to no maintenance and is in need of restoration. In the next 1-2 years, CPC plans to complete repairs to the roof, ventilators, doors, timber frame, masonry, and exterior painting. The space is intended to be used for CPC events, education, historic interpretation, partner programming, and storage for its own stewardship needs and those of our partners.
Extend Hunting Opportunities on Your Property This Season with PA Game Commission's Deer Management Program
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission provides landowners with permits to redeem for antlerless deer tags. These ‘coupons’ can be used by you or given to hunters chosen by you for use on your property. Typically, one coupon is granted for every five acres of cultivated land or every 50 acres of non-cultivated land, but it is also possible to receive more coupons on a custom basis.

DMAP extends hunting opportunities in the first week after Thanksgiving to include antlerless harvest during the antlered-only season. Deer management is an effective strategy for forest regeneration, limiting agricultural damage, and encouraging wildlife diversity.

Refer to the DMAP application page here for more information.

Completed applications should be mailed by May 1st, 2020.
New Forest Management Program for Land Owners!
The Family Forest Carbon Program is a great opportunity to receive funding to improve woodland health on your property. Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, and in partnership with Pennsylvania DCNR and Audubon, the Family Forest Carbon Program supports landowners through funding and assistance to carry out certain forest stewardship activities that enhance habitat for wildlife and improve water quality on your woodland property.

Funding is currently available for two activities in Pennsylvania:
Limiting timber harvests to allow trees to grow large for 20 years. This practice still allows for sustainable forest management.
Funding for invasive or competing plant management following a regeneration harvest, such as a clear cut, group selection cutting, shelterwood harvest, or overstory removal, to allow healthy trees to grow back.
To find out if you are eligible and to learn more about the program, visit . You can use an online tool called WoodsCamp to find your parcel on a map and request a report on your woodland property. This report will provide information about the opportunities that match your forest and your goals, including the Family Forest Carbon Program.
Controlled Burning as a Management Tool at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve
In late February, a group of fourteen dedicated Letort Stewards used prescribed fire to lay the groundwork for spring seeding of native wildflowers and warm-season grasses such as bluestems, indiangrass, and switchgrass.

Humans have used fire for thousands of years to enrich habitat and reduce pests. Reintroducing this natural process into the landscape is especially effective as part of an integrated approach to controlling invasive vegetation, which allows native plant species to thrive. Low intensity prescribed fires can also increase the availability of nutrients in the soil, improving soil fertility and productivity.
Earth Day 50 Activities go Online
The special event at Biddle Mission Park planned for Saturday, April 25th to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day will now be held online to respect widespread social distancing measures. The event aims to highlight the relationship between communities and the Earth and to promote environmental awareness through education. The event will include live music and informative activities for all ages. Click Here for more information.
Penn Future and the League of Conservation Voters are planning a month-long initiative, " Act for Our Earth Challenge," to inform Pennsylvanians on ways to support environmental action from home.
To participate, sign up here.
Online Native Plant Sales this Spring
Through April 24th, Manada Conservancy is taking online orders for its 20th Annual Native Plant Sale, in lieu of the traditional in-person event. Please support the mission of our partner organization in Dauphin County and create native habitat in your surr oundings this spring. ORDER ONLINE HERE

The Diakon Wilderness Center Greenhouse will be piloting its native plant sales online this spring with an option of scheduled pick up or local delivery (for a small fee). The target launch date for online sales is Earth Day, Wednesday April 22 nd . Folks should check their website or F acebook Page for updates in the next few weeks.