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
Register Now for 8th Annual "Power of the Partnership"

Join Us for the 8th Annual "Power of the Partnership"
Friday, February 1, 2019
7:30 to 10:30 am

The South Mountain Landscape that we all call home is a unique and special place. Join us in celebrating this landscape and the work on our partners to invest in a sustainable, healthy future for our communities and citizens, plus the awarding of the "Spirit of South Mountain" Award and South Mountain Mini-Grants. Anyone interested in making the South Mountain region a better place to live, work, and play is welcome.

Seeking Nominations for 
the Spirit of South Mountain Award

The South Mountain Partnership is asking the public to submit nominations for the 2018 Spirit of South Mountain award.

The public is encouraged to nominate individuals, projects or organizations that have made significant contributions to advance a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape.

Last year, the award went to the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council (CVRTC), which is an all-volunteer, non-profit, charitable corporation dedicated to conservation, historic preservation, recreation and alternative transportation in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania through the development of multi-use trails along former railroad corridors. CVRTC received the award for their collective work over the past 25+ years to build and expand the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, which was designated a National Recreational Trail in 2010.

The Spirit of South Mountain award will be presented at the eigth annual Power of the Partnership celebration on February 1, 2019 at the new Franklin County Visitors Center in Chambersburg.

Award nominations will be judged based on the degree to which they:
  • Enrich the quality of life and sense of place of the region's citizens and communities
  • Advance the conservation goals within the South Mountain region
  • Conserve the natural, cultural, recreational and agricultural resources that make the South Mountain landscape unique
  • Elevate public awareness of the natural, cultural, recreational, and agricultural resources
  • Encourage collaboration among residents, businesses, public agencies, local governments and non-profit and community organizations
Nomination forms must be submitted by Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. To nominate a project, visit , download and complete the nomination form, and send it to Katie Hess at

The Cradle of Conservation: Hike at the Historic Pennsylvania State Forest Academy was a Great Success

On Saturday, September 29, the Penn State Mont Alto Forestry Club partnered with the South Mountain Partnership as a part of the 2018 Speaker Series to lead twenty-six community members on a campus walk.

The Forestry Club president, Shaina Walker, and officers Cullen Cameron, Brady Williams and Marc Stafford, along with student members Silas Dishong, Alexa Rudisill, and Karl Sowders, told the history of the Forest Academy and the campus at stops along the way, including:
  • the 1854 Emmanuel Chapel, where abolitionist John Brown spoke before raiding Harpers Ferry
  • Ralph Brock, the forest African-American trained forester
  • George Wirt, the first Pennsylvania State Forester and Forest Academy Director
  • the Mont Alto Iron Works, founded in 1807 and then site of the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy
  • Wiestling Hall, the oldest building in the Penn State system
  • Conklin Hall, built with the help of student labor in 1907-1909
  • the 1905 Mont Alto Arboretum, that encompasses the whole campus
The forestry faculty, Craig Houghton, Beth Brantley, and Peter Linehan, filled in with historical facts about one of the oldest forestry schools in the United States. Alumni in attendance also told stories of their experiences in the old Double-Cottage (now the Bookstore) and Conklin Hall. Penn National and Mont Alto residents, along with Mont Alto Historic Society members, parents of current students, and Mont Alto faculty all participated. It was nice to have a sunny day too!
Trail Volunteer Fund Seeking Grant Applications
Photo courtesy of DCNR

The Trail Volunteer Fund was established to provide grants to purchase tools, materials, and supplies to be used by volunteer trail projects that create, maintain, or enhance the network of trails suitable for bicycle touring in western Pennsylvania and interconnected trails in nearby areas.

The fund celebrates and encourages the volunteers whose work has made such valuable contributions to western Pennsylvania's growing network of motor-free trails.

Visit the Trail Volunteer Fund website here for more information.

New Report Features Progress and Priorities in Landscape Conservation

The purpose of Pathways Forward is two-fold: to capture the current state of landscape conservation practice, and to suggest what we can do together to successfully conserve our irreplaceable cultural and natural landscapes.

The report explores recent innovations, on-the-ground examples, and action-oriented strategies that are advancing landscape conservation. A webinar focusing on the report is being scheduled for fall 2018.  Read the full report here.
Keeping Lands in Family Hands Storymap
Photo courtesy of USDA

Nestled in the hills of Adams County, Pennsylvania lies a fifth-generation family farm, Boyer Nurseries and Orchards. Since 1900, the nursery has been a family business and an important agricultural landscape in the county. Thanks to a conservation easement, the Lowers have peace of mind knowing their family land will stay in agriculture forever.

Follow the Boyer's story through an interactive storymap designed by the USDA. Sarah Kipp of the Land Conservancy of Adams County, and a strong member of the South Mountain Partnership's Leadership Committee, is featured in the video and was instrumental in making the easement a reality. 

View the whole story here.

Calling All Who Care About the Yellow Breeches!

Yellow Breeches Watershed Association's (YBWA) Annual Gathering
Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 pm
The Barn at Lower Allen Community Park

The creek needs help and so does the YBWA. The organization is running day to day on a very small  group of volunteers, many of whom have been involved for many years. New volunteers, new ideas, and fresh energy are needed to assure there is a watershed association representing the interests of the amazing waterway we call the "The Breeches" for years to come. 

Please join us and bring a friend, co-worker, family member, student, retiree - anyone who cares about our environment. We'll have food and beverage for all, engaging presentations, and stimulating conversation. 

All of us have a connection to this treasured resource whether we are an angler, boater, paddler, wildlife enthusiast, reveler of scenery and open space, consumer of public water, or all of the above. You get the idea, we need YOU and the creek needs you.  RSVPs are not required but are helpful to the planning committee. Please email Brook Lenker at, call 717-756-2637, or sign-up via Facebook to RSVP today!

Central Pennsylvania Conservancy Dedicates Letort Spring Garden Preserve
Photo courtesy of PA Land Trust Association

On September 15, over 80 people from Cumberland County and beyond gathered to celebrate Central Pennsylvania Conservancy's (CPC) acquisition of the Letort Spring Garden Preserve. The day included speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the property, and a meal at the 1880s-era timberframe barn to celebrate the long-awaited acquisition.

Held on the preserve between the upper and lower beds where the stream crosses the property, the dedication showcased the natural beauty and historical importance of this site. Guests attended guided tours led by CPC staff and volunteers to explore the history, ecology, and recreational aspects of the newly protected preserve. As part of the dedication, CPC was presented the 2018 Watershed Protection Award by Cumberland County's Conservation District Board Chair, Wilbur Wolf.

To read the full article and learn more, click here.

Save the Date!  2019 Annual Greenways & Trails Summit

September 22-24, 2019
Shippensburg University Conference Center

This 3-day statewide summit provides exceptional training and networking opportunities for those engaged in all aspects of trail and greenway work, including planning and economic professionals; trail and conservation staff, board and volunteers; park professionals; local, county, and state government officials; consultants and builders; and trail enthusiasts. 

Summit organizers are looking for the following:
The summit will offer dozens of educational sessions, 5-7 mobile seminars, keynote presentations, discussion panels, and various networking opportunities. More details will become available soon here.

The summit is presented by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association with generous support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Help Celebrate Importance of State Parks and Forests by Nominating Best of the Best
Photo courtesy of PPFF

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) is seeking nominations for its annual awards program to recognize the exemplary work in Pennsylvania state parks and forests by both staff and volunteers. The award categories include:
  • Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award -- Given to a group, individual, or business for outstanding contribution to the protection and/or enhancement to the park and forest system
  • Joseph Ibberson Government Award -- Given to a person or department at any level of government to recognize work in the stewardship of the state park and forest systems
  • Park of the Year -- Designed to recognize a park for their exemplary or innovative work in customer service, education, or recreation; stewardship of natural, cultural, or historic assets; and/or accommodation of special needs of visitors
  • Forest of the Year -- Designed to recognize a forest district for its innovative and exemplary work in both forest management and recreation
  • Volunteerism Awards -- Honors organizations or individuals that have made a lasting, positive impression on a park or forest
  • Young Volunteer Award -- Recognizes a significant contribution to a park or forest by a person under the age of 25, including volunteer hours, a significant project or an innovative idea
Nominations can be sent to the PPFF office at 1845 Market Street, Suite 202, Camp Hill, PA 17011; or emailed to Marci Mowery at Nominations are due by Monday, December 17. 

Award winners will be announced in January 2019 and honored at PPFF's awards banquet in May 2019.
Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities
Send us your educational and volunteer recruiting events to add to the calendar!

November 20 - Shippensburg
South Mountain Partnership Trails Workshop: Building Strong Community Connections
Learn how you can effectively work with landowners, municipalities, and others to build better bike and pedestrian trails that connect communities, enhance economic development, and improve quality of life. This day-long workshop is intended for anyone who wants to fund, design, construct and/or maintain trails. Fewer than 100 spots are available, so register today! Deadline to register is November 5 or when tickets sell out.

November 23 - OptOutside Day
Instead of heading to the shopping malls, go outside and increase your health in our beautiful open spaces! Learn more: 

November 24 - Small Towns everywhere
Support your local small businesses by shopping for your holiday needs!

November 24 - Chambersburg
Grand Opening of Franklin County Visitors Center
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to the grand opening of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center in downtown Chambersburg, which coincides with Small Business Saturday 2018 and is a day-long event from 10 AM to 7 PM. It includes walking tours, book signings, speakers, musical entertainment, and tours of the facility. At 5 PM and 6 PM, a live performance of 300 Years of American History, including 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg will take place. Learn more here.

November 28 - Shippensburg
Cumberland County Food System Alliance - The Scoop on the Scope of Food Insecurity in Cumberland County
Cross-sector panelists will share their knowledge and perspectives on the scope of food insecurity in Cumberland County. Through the panel presentation and an interactive discussion, we will develop a comprehensive understanding of how the lack of access to nutritious, healthy food impacts our communities and gain insight into the challenges it presents for employee health and productivity, education, and healthy families. Free registration here.

December 6 - Mechanicsburg
Yellow Breeches Watershed Association'a Annual Gathering
Join members of the YBWA as they celebrate the year's accomplishments and plan for the future at this evening event at the Barn at Lower Allen Park. Learn more & register here.

December 10 - Webinar
"What is nature worth? Return on environment studies and the economic value of the outdoors"
How do we ensure that the value of nature is included in local planning decisions? Open space and natural resources support the municipal budget and contribute to the local economy, but these benefits are often overlooked when negotiating with landowners, policymakers, and the public. Join John Rogers, President of Keystone Conservation Trust, and Jeanne Barrett Ortiz, Program Manager at Audubon PA to discuss their groundbreaking Return on Environment studies in the PA Highlands region. This webinar will discuss the findings of the studies, as well as the ways in which this data can be incorporated into decision-making and marketing strategies. Register for free: 
Offered by the PA Highlands Coalition.

January 2019
January 14 - Carlisle
Cumberland Conservation Collaborative
6:00pm - 7:00pm Regular meeting, open to absolutely everyone. 
Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau
53 West South Street, Carlisle PA 17013

February 1 - Chambersburg
8th Annual Power of the Partnership
The Power of the Partnership is the South Mountain Partnership's yearly celebration of what makes the South Mountain region so special. Anyone involved in making the South Mountain region a better place to live, work, and play is welcome to attend this morning meeting from 7:30 to 10:30 am at the Franklin County Visitors Center. Learn more & register here.

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
Patomac Appalachian Trail Club
Trail Overseers (contact ,,  or 703.242.0315 x107), Corridor Monitors (send email to, Tract Managers (contact, Co-editor of Potomac Appalachian (contact

South Mountain Partnership

PA Parks & Forest Foundation

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