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
Recap: Spring Partnership Meeting in York County

The 2018 Spring Partnership Meeting was held on April 27th at the Maple Shade Barn in Dillsburg. Sixty-four individuals registered and/or attended the meeting.

Participants from the following professions attended to learn about York County Planning Commission's cutting-edge water quality improvement measures, formally referred to as Multi-Municipal MS4 Management, as well as the challenges, successes, and approaches to land preservation by the Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County and the Agricultural Preservation Board of York County. Many thanks to York County President Commissioner, Susan Byrnes for welcoming us to York County and to the  Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society (NYCHAPS)   for hosting us!    Professions are listed in order, starting with the  largest group and ending with the smallest:
  • County staff & officials 
  • Business 
  • State Agency 
  • Non-Profit, Natural Resources 
  • Municipal 
  • Running for local, state office 
  • Non-Profit, Recreation 
  • Non-Profit, Health 
  •  Non-Profit, Historic Preservation
  • University 
  • Student  
  • +more
Join your fellow regional advocates and leaders at the next Fall Partnership Meeting in October. Until then, consider volunteering with South Mountain Partnership and check out one or more of our Speakers Series programs.

Last Chance to Apply for a 2018 South Mountain Mini-Grant!

The pre-application period for the 2018 Funding Round is open now through Friday, June 1. All pre-applications must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday, June 1, 2018. Applicants with strong pre-applications will be invited to submit a final application by July 31. More details can be found here.

The South Mountain Partnership's Mini-Grant Program was created in 2009 to catalyze on-the-ground projects that further the goals of the Partnership, and to advance the capacity of partners to complete projects throughout the region. The Program provides funding, on a competitive basis, to projects that sustain the South Mountain landscape's sense of place by protecting and promoting the region's Landscape Resources.

Examples of past project include trail and outdoor recreation infrastructure development (including signage); habitat restoration efforts; ecological research projects (targeting specific, defined management challenges); regional resource promotion and guides; resource interpretation; historical preservation; adaptive reuse and feasibility studies; education programming and development; and planning and revitalization studies and supportive efforts. Please note: land-use planning efforts at the municipal level (i.e. updating comprehensive plans or drafting zoning or subdivision and land development ordinances) are an acceptable use of Mini-Grant funding.

The South Mountain Partnership Mini-Grant Program was developed in 2009 and is administered by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Financial support is provided by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Environmental Stewardship Fund. To date, over $345,000 in grants have been awarded, with over $750,000 in matching funds leveraged by the grantees - a return of over double.

Calling all Partners: Now Seeking Events for the 2019 South Mountain Speakers Series

Should your event be a part of the 10th annual South Mountain Speakers Series?

We are planning the 2019 season of the South Mountain Partnership Speakers Series and would love to discuss adding your event. We can help support your workshop, hike, lecture, tour, or related event. 

The South Mountain Speakers Series is an annual lecture series hosted by the South Mountain Partnership that is free and open to the public. Four t0 six events held throughout 2019 will highlight distinct topics or challenges, such that over the course of the year, the Series speaks to a diversity of topics central to the Partnership's mission and goals, and provides a vehicle for educating the general public on relevant local issues. 

The South Mountain Speakers Series is presented as a revival of the Michaux Lectures, a series of talks given by Joseph Rothrock to build a groundswell of public support for his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forested landscape. The late 19 th century Michaux Lectures were an educational mission that catalyzed real change in Pennsylvania's environmental history. As we face the challenges of the 21 st century, the South Mountain Speakers Series is intended to encourage a new generation to find in the past a positive vision for the future of the South Mountain landscape.

If you are interested in potentially adding your existing event to the 2019 Speakers Series, please send the following information: 
  • Event name
  • Event description (a few sentences about what will happen at the event)
  • Date 
  • Location
Email the above information to Jessica Aiello (, who is assisting to plan the 2019 South Mountain Speaker Series. 

UPDATE: Transource's Proposed Transmission Line Project - Public Comment May 22, 23

According to our Partners at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, Transource's Proposed Transmission Line Project is unecessary and will not benefit the region:

"The 29-mile transmission tower and power line project is a detriment to Franklin County and Franklin County tourism. It makes no sense to sacrifice so much for something of so little worth."

"If approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the transmission towers and power lines will impact farmland, Class A trout streams, a school cross country course, grounds of an elementary school, and miles of beautiful mountain, meadow and field views with hundreds of years of history and culture...130-feet tall transmission towers...will be the new view of visitors entering and leaving the county. Along Route 30, a massive transmission tower will be planted along the Lincoln Way shopping corridor, near Lowes and Patriot Federal Credit Union, and cross the highway, where another tower will be placed parallel to Mower Road."

"These are impacts on all of Franklin County. Effects impact tourism, recreation, agriculture, real estate, and retail. As well, there is concern about health and safety. [The proposed transmission line project] is a market efficiency project and is to reduce the cost of electricity in the metropolitan DC area. It will bisect 29 miles of eastern Franklin County.  The 29-mile transmission tower and power line project is a detriment to Franklin County and Franklin County tourism. It makes no sense to sacrifice so much for something of so little worth."

"YOU can make a difference. Come to the  PA Public Utility Commission public event   at the New Franklin Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall, 3444 Wayne Road, Chambersburg, on:
* Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at two sessions, 1 PM and 6 PM
* Wednesday May 23, 2018 t two sessions, 1 PM and 6 PM

Everyone who wishes to express thoughts about the proposed project are encouraged to attend at least one of the above hearings. The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate put together this bulletin to help you understand what to expect: The top three tips for those who are interested in attending include: "Please Participate...Come Early...Sign up" when you get there. If you need information about the proceeding or about how to testify, please feel free to contact the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) at 1-800-684-6560. There will be an OCA attorney at the public hearings and you may ask them any questions. 

"Also, anyone can be a member of StopTransource. If you would like to help StopTransource Franklin County, tell others, support a fundraiser, make a donation directly to StopTransource, or donate to the GoFundMe Drive. Details at"

Recent Related News Stories

Local School District Seeks Eminent Domain of Preserved Farm - Town Hall May 24
Survey from PA State Historic Preservation Office - PA Historical and Museum Commission
"On March 5, the Cumberland Valley School Board formally filed a declaration of taking in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, expressing the board's intent to exercise eminent domain over the property known as the McCormick Farm in Silver Spring Township and construct new school facilities on the parcel...

On Thursday night [March 29], roughly 100 local residents gathered at the New Kingstown Volunteer Fire Company to
 discuss how to resist the school district's actions...

In 1983, the heirs of the McCormick family granted Natural Lands Trust an easement over the historic farmland, whose formal address is 31 Old Willow Mill Road in Silver Spring Township.

That easement restricts the farm's
 owner to using the land in a way that will allow it to remain "open space for the scenic enjoyment of the general public and as a memorial to Thomas McCormick and the McCormick family," according to the deed.
Thomas McCormick settled the land in 1745. One of his descendants, Cyrus, would invent the famous grain reaper that accelerated agricultural development worldwide..."

Cumberland Valley School District will host a town hall meeting to discuss the use of eminent domain to obtain the McCormick Farm at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, 2018 in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Cumberland Valley High School, 6746 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.

Recent Related News Stories

Cumberland County commissioners ask CV board to reconsider land purchase March 3, 2018

Clean Water Grant Funding Available for Communities along Mariner East 2 Pipeline Corridor
Map courtesy of DEP

The Wolf Administration recently announced the creation of a new grant program funded by the civil penalty collected from Sunoco Pipeline, LLP related to construction of the Mariner East 2 (MEII) pipeline . The grants will be awarded for projects that reduce or minimize pollution and protect clean water in the 85 municipalities along the length of the pipeline corridor. This includes Monroe, Silver Spring, Mechanicsburg, Middlesex, North Middleton, Upper and Lower Frankford, and Fairview communities within the South Mountain region.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) collected the $12.6 million penalty in February 2018 for permit violations related to the construction of the project. The penalty, one of the largest collected in a single settlement, was deposited into the Clean Water Fund and the Dams and Encroachments Fund, in accordance with the provisions of the Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. These grants are directed to the municipalities to eliminate pollution and protect the public from unsafe dams, water obstructions and encroachments. 

Proposed projects must be physically located within one of the municipalities, although applicants may be from outside of the municipal boundaries.  Projects that provide direct and significant benefits to water quality and local communities will be prioritized.

The 85 municipalities are in 17 counties along the southern half of the state, stretching from Washington County in the west, to Delaware County to the east. A comprehensive list of the eligible municipalities can be found here.

Eligible applicants can apply via the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Electronic Single Application website.  Applications will be accepted beginning May 7, 2018 until June 20, 2018.  Some examples of eligible projects include (but are not limited to):
  • Projects to improve water quality while enhancing community recreational opportunities, such as restoration and enhancement of natural water resource features at community parks and public properties, including lake restoration and wetland creation.
  • Projects to educate future generations about water resource protection, such as demonstration projects that showcase pervious pavement, stormwater runoff management features and systems, bio-retention systems, constructed wetland complexes, stormwater runoff collection and reuse projects, stormwater mitigation projects that reduce rate and volume and improve water quality on a school or other public property.
  • Projects to improve and/or protect public drinking water sources and infrastructure, such as repairs to drinking water system source facilities that improve resiliency of the water supply, including water supply dam rehabilitation work and upgrades, and repairs to water treatment infrastructure and water intakes.
  • Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) projects to address rate, volume and/or sediment load, including flood-control project features and retrofits to existing stormwater runoff control infrastructure that reduce rate and volume of stormwater runoff.
  • Projects that result in nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment load reductions within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and impaired waters, including stream buffers, stream restoration projects, wetland restoration or enhancement projects.
  • Projects that result in water quality improvements in DEP Priority Watersheds and Impaired Watersheds within the 85 municipalities.
Recent Related News Stories

PA Fly Fishing Museum Celebrates One Year in its New Home
Photo: Joshua Vaughn, The Sentinel

Last spring, the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum was moved from the Yellow Breeches Creek watershed at the Allenberry Resort to the LeTort Spring Run watershed at 101 Shady Lane in Middlesex Township. The museum is open to the public 9 am to 6 pm daily.

The museum showcases items owned or created by some of the biggest names in fly fishing history, including George Harvey and Vince Marinaro.

Bill Skilton, President of the PA Fly Fishing Museum Association, said, "If you go to a who's who in fly fishing, it's Pennsylvania. I'm not just saying that because I live here. In the United States, it's Pennsylvania, no ands, ifs or buts."

Why is Pennsylvania, and the Midstate in particular, so great for fly fishing? 

"It's just something that you can go out and you can combine conservation and nature and even if you don't catch fish, you can just relax and enjoy the environment," Skilton said. "... It's similar to golf. If you have a good technique, you can cast well and then you learn how to fish certain areas for certain species with certain flies."

The museum celebrated its 6th annual open house on April 20-21, the second at this location. Be sure to check it out next year, if not sooner!

To learn more about the PA Fly Fishing Museum, visit 

Article adapted from one by Joshua Vaughn for The Sentinel (4/5/17).

Planned Community Could Shape Quality of Life in Franklin County and Beyond

Fort Ritchie, located in Cascade, MD, was one of the largest employers in the area, with more than 1,000 employees coming in from neighboring Franklin County, PA. However, the Army communications base was closed in 1998, and has been a ghost town ever since.

Redevelopment efforts for the site - the most recent one in 2012 - faltered due to the Recession, environmental concerns, and a court case. The Washington County government took over the property in September 2016 and began courting new developers. JG Business Link International (JGBLI), a Germantown, MD company, was brought in to find businesses to fill a new planned community called Cascade Town Centre, which they hope will rival Pentagon City or Tysons Corner in scope.

Total investment in the 63-acre development is expected to exceed $1.5 billion. To compare that to development more typical to Franklin County, those funds could build 20 mega-warehouses. What this means for potential jobs remains to be seen, but could be a benefit to the county and beyond. Reuse of existing structures will begin this year, while new construction should begin as early as the first half of 2019.

JGBLI is trying to hire local companies whenever possible to build out the site, because of their familiarity with the region. For instance, Paragon Engineering Services of York was brought on board early on.

The plan for the initial development includes three hotels, a four-story office building, four multi-story buildings of shops, restaurants and condos, and a variety of housing. The site will also include a micro-hospital and research center that focuses on Asian medicine and foods, a nod to a partnership formed between JGBLI and businesses in South Korea. Greenhouses will also be built, using "smart farm" technology, to grow a variety of crops, including those used in Korean cooking. A brewery and winery will also be added to the site, and the old "castle" will be turned into a military museum (see image below).

Photo: Wikipedia

The Cascade Town Centre will have an impact on the economy of neighboring Franklin County and the South Mountain region, in general. There may be positive impacts to job growth, tourism, and quality of life, but the development could change the unique character of the region as well. We will continue to follow the progress of this development and keep you informed.

This article was adapted from one by Jim Hook for The Public Opinion (4/17/18). You can read the full article here.

Other Related News Articles

Learning Opportunities & Events
May 22 & 23, 1:00pm and 6:00pm - Chambersburg
Franklin County's Public Comment Event for Proposed Transource Electric Transmission Line
 To be held at the New Franklin Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall, 3444 Wayne Road, Chambersburg, on:
* Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at two sessions, 1 PM and 6 PM 
* Wednesday May 23, 2018 t two sessions, 1 PM and 6 PM
Everyone who lives, works, or plays in Franklin County is encouraged to express thoughts about the proposed project at least one of the above hearings. See more about this issue "Update" section above. The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate put together this bulletin to help you understand what to expect: The top three tips include: "Please Participate...Come Early...Sign up" when you get there. If you need information about the proceeding or about how to testify, please feel free to contact the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) at 1-800-684-6560. There will be an OCA attorney at the public hearings and you may ask them any questions.

May 24 - Mechanicsburg
Town Hall about Eminent Domain to Condemn Preserved McCormick Farm 
Cumberland Valley School District will host a town hall meeting at 6:00pm on Thursday, May 24, 2018 in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Cumberland Valley High School, 6746 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050. 
The Cumberland Valley School District seeks to acquire through eminent domain 110 acres of a 116-acre parcel of preserved farmland now zoned as agricultural preserve. The property, which borders Carlisle Pike in Silver Spring Township around Hogestown, is listed for sale by a real estate firm for $1.6 million.

May 31 - Gardners
Unknown Founders: Women Who Built the Appalachian Trail South Mountain Speakers Series event
While Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery are widely recognized as the "founding fathers" of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the women who contributed to the A.T. project are mostly unknown - until now. Three women - Jean Stephenson, Ruth Blackburn and Margaret Drummond - will join the ranks of MacKaye and Avery as A.T. "giants" who carried their vision and work forward to preserve the trail we all know and love today. The free presentation will be given by Gwen Loose, Vice-President of the Appalachian Trail Museum. Free and open to the public. To be held at Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners at 6:30 pm.  See more  South Mountain Speakers Series events here.

June 9 - Kings Gap Environmental Education Center State Park
Nature Rx for Care Providers and Community Leaders
LivingWell NatureRx is an innovative wellness program that links health and wellness with guided  activities in natural environments. Research shows that time spent outdoors is good for physical, mental  and emotional health. Connect with others while experiencing the therapeutic benefits of nature!  More than simply a walk in the woods, NatureRx inspires people to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
This collaborative program is supported by a diverse network of health providers and community leaders.  Join us to experience a new wellness program that can benefit you and those you serve. Free thanks to support from the Partnership for Better Health. 9:00am - 11:00am. RSVP required by May 28th to or (717) 449-3303.

June 20 - Carlisle
South-central PA Region Watershed Workshop
Join the PA Environmental Council (PEC), PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), and the Capital RC&D for gathering of watershed group leaders to
share resource information, learn techniques to help build membership, and network with other groups in the South-central Pennsylvania region. POWR and PEC are convening meetings across the state to identify needs and provide organizational capacity and technical resource tools. Invited guests include staff from DEP, DCNR, County Conservation Districts and regional and local environmental organizations with watershed-focused programs and resources. The event will be held at Dickinson College from approximately 9 am to 2 pm. Find more details soon at

June 28 - Carlisle, PA
Leveraging People and Places: Trails as Economic Development
Join the Cumberland County Planning Department for a showing of this webinar from 1-2:30 pm in their office at 310 Allen Road in Carlisle. Attendees will view the webinar then discuss any material relevant to greenways, trails, and other projects in the South Mountain region. If interested in attended, please email Stephanie Williams at

Please contact us anytime to add additional training and learning opportunities to this list!  Email:

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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 - VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES  Looking for ways to get involved in the South Mountain community? The following organizations and events are looking for volunteers:

Appalachian Trail Museum

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County

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

Friends of the Conodoguinet Greenway

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
* Event Planning - Seeking individuals with event planning and management experience to volunteer to plan and coordinate the Annual "Power of the Partnership" Celebration.  
* Speakers Series - The Partnership is always looking for events to include in future sessions of the Speakers series.  Would you like to help coordinate the series? Is your organization planning a talk/event that would fit well within the South Mountain Speakers Series? Contact us!

PA Parks & Forest Foundation

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