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
Don't miss Pennsylvania's Annual Statewide Conference on Heritage in beautiful Carlisle, PA from June 14th through 16th!

This year's theme, Community Connections: Stories, Places, and Ideas that Matter, highlights the importance of community and place-making in the historic preservation field.  The conference kicks off  Wednesday morning with great tour options and intriguing open houses followed by Preservation Pennsylvania's Annual Meeting and Luncheon, featuring Barbara Landis from the Carlisle Indian Museum speaking about the Carlisle Indian School.   Wednesday's afternoon Plenary will highlight  Community Heart & Soul, described by the Orton Family Foundation as "a barn-raising approach to community planning and development designed to increase participation in local decision-making and empower residents to shape the future of their communities in a way that upholds the unique character of each place."

Join the Carlisle community on Wednesday night for a free event to talk about preservation topics and on Thursday evening, network and converse with colleagues at the "Night at the Museum" reception where the Cumberland County Historical Society  will open its second-floor museum for visitors to learn more about the region's fascinating past while enjoying local taste treats.

The engaging Plenary will set the stage for twenty-one different conference sessions, which will run from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning, and focus on community engagement, transportation and cultural resource management, archaeology projects, technologies and techniques for surveying and documenting historic buildings, and more.  On Thursday afternoon, the PA SHPO's Project Review staff will talk about recent updates to two program areas: CRGIS and Project Review.  CRGIS staff will introduce the system's new mapping interface and discuss the upcoming electronic data entry and its roll out and user training. Project Review updates include a presentation of changes to the Archaeological Site Identification Criteria, and Above Ground pipeline surveys and submission of Historic Resource reports and resource form electronic copies.  This session is essential for anyone working with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the PA History Code, and these PA SHPO programs.

For the complete list of sessions, descriptions, speakers, and conference schedule, please visit the conference website.

Education Forum held to Preserve the Natural Resources of the Cumberland Valley
Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in Pennsylvania and as more people move to the area many are wondering how the growth can be balanced with preserving the environment and our region's quality of life. Like many communities in the  South Mountain landscape region, citizens in rural Cumberland Valley are experiencing issues related to growing land development pressure. 

South Mountain Partnership partnered with Cumberland Conservation Collaborative, Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania to bring together the Education Forum   Preserving Cumberland County's Rural Landscape and Natural Resources Over 125 participants and 18 organizations attended the event that was held May 11th at the Penn Township Volunteer Fire Hall. 
The free community event was coordinated to provide residents with an opportunity to learn about conservation and planning tools available to communities, and how those tools can be used to the fullest potential.


Speakers included:
  • Moderator Dr. George Pomeroy teaches courses and conducts research related to community and regional planning as a Professor of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University. He also serves as the Assistant Director of the Center for Land Use & Sustainability, which supports the development of science-based solutions to sustainability challenge, such as good land use and community planning.


  Watch the video of the event by clicking the video below:
Video of the event

The next opportunity to learn more about conservation and preservation is on June 14th at the "Preserving the Cumberland Valley's Historic Landscape & Resources" a Community Conversation About Preservation to discuss local priorities. What places matter to you as a resident and why? What buildings and landscapes should be preserved for future generations? How can your community celebrate its history while planning a prosperous future for all? 

Spring South Mountain Speakers Series 
Focus on Clean Water 

Do you drink the water from South Mountain? Do you fish in South Mountain Streams? Do you swim in or kayak on South Mountain lakes? Do you care South Mountain water quality?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we hope that you attended our April 20th event held at Penn State Mont Alto!  Folks had a great time at the "From South Mountain to Your Glass" lecture, where we were reminded that while we have lots of water in the South Mountain Landscape, we must stay well informed and vigilant in order to preserve its clean water, as it is the headwaters of so many creeks and rivers.

Thank you to Matt Reagle, wildlife and fisheries biologist of  Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Dr. Kristen Strock, assistant professor of Environmental Studies at  Dickinson College for their excellent presentations. Also, a hearty thank you to the sponsors of the special pre and post-lecture receptions,  Adams County Trout Unlimited, Falling Springs Trout Unlimited,  Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited, Keystone Society of American Foresters, and the Mont Alto Forestry Club!

Our May 13th Speakers Series highlighted the historic watercress farm at the headwaters of the Letort Spring Run that Central Pennsylvania Conservancy is acquiring, restoring, and preserving to ensure clean water. We also focused on the property's many layers of value - historical, agricultural, natural, and recreational features, such as the Letort's world-renowned fly fishing history and the Letort Nature Trail. Many thanks also goes to Cumberland County Historical Society for being a coordinating partner and Artisan Pizza for braving the weather to feed the crowd! Special thanks also to our Speakers from Central Pennsylvania Conservancy,  Cumberland Valley Trout UnlimitedCumberland County Historical SocietyLeTort Regional Authority, and The Nature Conservancy - Pennsylvania Chapter!

Growing Greener III Introduced to Protect Water Quality and Nature Protection

"Our economy depends on it - Tourism and Agriculture, two of PA's leading industries and job creators, rely on our natural resources. Outdoor recreation alone generates $6.4 billion in tourism spending every year. Our health depends on it - studies show that parks and open spaces can reduce health care costs and make us happier. Like other things we love, we need to Protect Pennsylvania. We need to keep our water clean, preserve our farms and open spaces, and ensure our children and families have access to parks, trails, and other recreational opportunities. We need to keep Pennsylvania Growing Greener!"  Thank you to Senators Richard Alloway (Adams), Killion (Delaware), and McIlhinney (Bucks) for introducing the Growing Greener III program for renewed and increased investment!

Where I Live Essay by John Canon, Photographer of "Makers of South Mountain" Series
Read John's essay, Where Two Trails Meet: A Photo Essay, on the South Mountain Partnership website!

By John Canan 2016

Please, Call Your Senators

Our PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides nature protection, clean water, wildlife conservation, manages and keeps our State Parks and Forests open, and funds initiatives like South Mountain Partnership. However, it is being threatened with a budget cut that would result in state pa rk closures, reduction in timber harvests, cancelled projects, elimination of trail programs, permit application reviews, and more. In short, DCNR would no longer be able to fulfill its mission. Please do your part and call your PA State Senator to tell them how important DCNR is for the health and safety of our families and children, as well as future generations! Within our South Mountain landscape region, this would affect Caledonia State Park (in  Senator Richard Alloway II's District 33), Mont Alto State Park (in Senator Richard Alloway II's District 33), Pine Grove Furnace State Park (in  Senator Mike Regan's District 31 ), and Kings Gap Environmental Education Center (in Senator Mike Regan's District 31). 


Call your Senators now and tell them about the role that DCNR plays in your life and your family. Consider sharing the following with your Senator about the current proposed funding cut to DCNR:
  • It would have crippling impacts on DCNR and the economic returns that DCNR provides to Pennsylvania through recreation and tourism;
  • State Parks will be impacted through the closure of some swimming pools and campgrounds, reduction in basic maintenance such as bathroom cleaning, loss of environmental education programs, elimination of large special events that require staffing, fewer hours opened, closing sooner in the fall, and eliminating seasonal events in the fall and winter;
  • Hunting access will be limited by closed roads in the fall and spring;
  • Limited staff to fight wildfires;
  • Decrease in timber sales;
  • Smaller, rural communities will be impacted the most if DCNR has to pull back on grant assistance that helps applicants through the process, meaning many won't be competitive or get grants;
  • Reduced or no data on private wells, geologic features, seismic information, mapping;
  • Elimination of the Pennsylvania trails program or other vital grant programs and technical assistance to communities; and
  • Dramatic service reductions in online tools needed by industry and the public related to processing permits and protecting natural diversity.


Additional News 

Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities

May 30 - Carlisle
Local Government & Climate Change - what must be done?
Local and state leaders will likely need to spearhead efforts to ensure that constituents have access to clean air, water, and energy, as the Environmental Protection Agency under the current federal administration does not promise to be a proactive, regulatory agency. In lieu of grants or other federal action, l earn about what can be done at the local level. Speakers will include:  Jennifer McKenna, Clean Air Board of Central PA (moderator);  Sean Shultz, Deputy Mayor, Carlisle;  Sarah Taby, Owner, Ruth's Time Bomb;  Neil Leary, Director of Center for Sustainability Education, Dickinson College.  Bring a packed lunch and join the discussion! 12:00noon - 1:00pm at Bosler Memorial Library, 158 W High St, Carlisle, PA 17013

June 1 - Carlisle
Yellow Breeches Protection Town Hall
Town Hall Meeting to discuss protecting the Yellow Breeches Creek Watershed - we will discuss opportunities and incentives to protect and enhance our local waterways. 6:30pm at Cumberland County Conservation District, 310 Allen Road, Carlisle, PA 17013

June 5 - Free Webinar
Learn from the Appalachian Gateway Communities Initiative - the role of Arts in Rural Economic Development & Cultural Heritage Tourism
Cheryl Hargrove of Heritage Tourism Culture Partners will present on the role of the arts in rural economic development & cultural heritage tourism.The arts - and artists - offer distinctive opportunities to enhance the personality of place. In this webinar, learn how communities and individuals are using the arts in rural communities to customize destination planning, enhance gateways and infrastructure, create authentic attractions, develop and market festivals, and provide unique retail experiences. This is the second in a series of webinars highlighting tools, topics, and issues facing gateway communities in the Appalachian Region and beyond. For more information on this and/or future webinars in this series, please contact Katie Allen (304-876-7925 | Register here.

June 6 - Reading
The Armstrong Story, Featuring Amy Costello, P.E. Sustainability Manager for Lancaster-based Armstrong Flooring, a  Sustainability & Your Business - Making Money Going Green event
Includes lunch and a seat to Costello's talk, where she'll share the history of Armstrong Flooring, how they're integrating sustainability into their business today, and the business value that brings the company. The afternoon will conclude with thought-provoking activities in sustainability, facilitated by international sustainability expert and Berks Nature Ambassador Scot Case. More info and register.

June 24 - Bloomsburg
Commission Assistance & Mentoring Program
This workshop brings speakers from around the country and are specifically designed to train members of review boards, historic preservation commissions, and local officials. This daylong training will cover the basics that every Historic Architecture Review Board and local commission needs to be effective. Topics include Chair Training, Legal Basics, Meeting Procedures, Building Public Support, Reading Plans, Identifying and Designating Historic Resources, Standards & Guidelines, and Hands on Design Exercise. This is an excellent opportunity to spend a day with your peers from other communities, share stories, and ask questions.  If your community is a Certified Local Government, attending this training will satisfy your annual continuing education requirement for 2017!  AIA and AICP credits available. More info & register.

June 28 - Wyomissing
How to Drink Beer and Save the World, a Sustainability & Your Business - Making Money Going Green event 
Featuring nationally recognized author Chris O'Brien. Chris was the director of sustainability at American University, where he executed three power purchase agreements and led AU toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. Today, he teaches energy, climate and sustainability in American University's Kogod School of Business, and serves as Altenex's director of higher education programs, where helps campuses find, analyze and execute large-scale renewable energy deals. Chris is the author of the award-winning book "Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World."  Participants will enjoy hors d' oevres, beer tasting and thought-provoking activities in sustainability facilitated by international sustainability expert Scot Case. More info and register.

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? Consider contacting the following organizations:

Appalachian Trail Museum

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

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

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 |  |