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 Fall Partnership Meeting

Join Us for the Fall Partnership-wide Meeting
Topics include Agricultural Entrepreneurship & Land Use Planning, the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve lands acquisition,  & Michaux Forest's woodland owner demonstration concept
Friday, October 13th
9:30am to 12:00 noon + optional potluck lunch
Carroll Commons Pavilion, Adams County 

Peter Hoagland, NRCS, Joins Leadership Committee
Please join us in welcoming Peter Hoagland, State Forester for the Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program, part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to the South Mountain Partnership Leadership Committee! Peter will serve as the Federal Lead on our Leadership Committee. NRCS, formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service, helps private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. Their mission is simple: Helping People Help the Land. Learn more here.

Peter  has worked as the Pennsylvania NRCS State Forester since October of 2015.  He has also worked in several federal government positions throughout the country including a Forester position with the NRCS in Redlands, California; Forester and Wildland Firefighter positions with the United States Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Taos, New Mexico; and various conservation related positions with the USDA US Forest Service in both Virginia and Alaska.  Peter has a passion for forestry and natural resources conservation work with a focus on fostering collaborative partnerships to better leverage resources in order to improve natural resource related concerns. 
Peter studied Forestry and Natural Resources Management, and holds a BS from Virginia Tech and a Graduate Certificate in Natural Resources also from Virginia Tech.  In 2014 he was honored with the Society of American Forester's Southwestern Field Forester of the Year award for his work incorporating collaborative efforts towards federal lands management. In his current position he focuses on providing forestry related guidance and leadership to NRCS staff and partners throughout Pennsylvania who assist non-industrial private forestland owners and operators with conservation technical and financial assistance through Farm Bill programs.  These programs include the Environmental Quality incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and special initiatives that include the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership, and the Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative. 

We are thrilled to have Peter join us. Please help us to welcome him and be sure to consider him as a resource for your work.

Next Speaker Series Event - October 5th

Over 230 Residents Attend Community Information Meeting about High Voltage, High Tension Powerline
South Mountain Partnership recently assisted local residents to organize an information meeting about the high voltage, high tension electric transmission line proposed by Transource and PJM.  We worked with the group to coordinate the meeting content and logistics, and secured speakers Doug Wolfgang, Director of Farmland Preservation at PA Department of Agriculture and Darryl Lawrence, Senior Assistant Consumer Advocate at the PA Office of Consumer Advocate. In addition, we had the privilege of moderating the question-and-answer session. This meeting is one example of how residents and South Mountain Partnership often work together to bring needed resources and information to people so that they can make the best decisions possible for their communities.  
Transource Energy LLC is heading the High Voltage, High Tension Transmission Line project on behalf of PJM Interconnections LLC to gain market efficiency through the addition of two substations and forty miles of electric transmission line in south central PA, one project west of South Mountain and one just west of the Susquehanna River . The project affecting Franklin County, PA and Washington County, MD (formally known as the Independence Energy Connection - west) is expected to cross twenty-five miles of Franklin County PA. 

A cost savings of $600 million over 15 years for its 61 million customers is expected. Some rate paying customers in the Mid-Atlantic region may see a savings from as little as 29 cents per year to as much as $1.50 per year, and PJM or Transource cannot promise any cost savings to Franklin County rate payers. 

Franklin County's way of life and character are the reasons that so many of us call it part of our home. Not only do we love it, the beautiful views of Franklin County attract thousands of visitors to enjoy the county's history, recreation, and fresh food each year. Everyone is entitled to feel as they wish about this issue but we believe that the way of life and community character is threatened by the Transource/PJM high voltage, high tension power line that they want to run straight through the beautiful, historic, productive valley.

Click above to play video by Jonathan Hunter, Local DVM
Who is affected/who should become involved: 

Everyone who lives, works, or plays in the area. Property owners and residents most heavily impacted are in the townships of Antrim, Quincy, Guilford, Greene, and Southampton but everyone who lives, works, or plays in this area will be impacted in perpetuity by this project. 

Property owners and neighbors who will be directly impacted by this project are asking everyone to get involved. If you are interested in volunteering with local residents, please email

How will the high voltage, high tension line affect the area:

The plans call for 135 foot tall steel towers (equivalent to a 13 story building) with 30 foot square bases to be placed every 1,000 ft for 25 miles. There would be a total of approximately 132 towers and bases. The high voltage line's proximity will lower property values overall, damage farmland, detrimentally impact the scenic quality of our valley, and presents the potential for negative affects on human and animal health.

The proposed transmission line routes cut through and/or disregards the well-being of our residents and the unique and valuable natural, agricultural, historical, and recreational resources and legacy of our lands, including: 
- Residential homes and communities; 
- Protected farmlands, (farms having participated in a publicly-funded conservation easement program to keep the farmland as farmland forever); 
- Exceptional prime soils; 
- Public Forests and Parks (Michaux State Forest, Caledonia State Park, Mont Alto State Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail); 
- Cultural Heritage Area (Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor); 
- Districts, sites, and properties that are Listed or Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places; 
- Appalachian Trail Community (Waynesboro area); 
- PA Natural Heritage Program areas (Supporting landscapes, Core habitats; Priority conservation watersheds); 
- High Value Forests (USDA Forest Service) 
- Priority Conservation Areas (The Nature Conservancy) 
- + more 
Special Funds Needed By Your Community Threatened by State Budget Proposals
Photo courtesy of PA Environmental Digest

We are deeply disappointed to report that on September 12th, many of our local State Representatives (including Bloom, Delozier, Keefer, Kauffman, Moul, Shemel, Rothman, Tallman) in the House voted to pass a budget strategy that would take Special Funds and use them to fill the hole in the state budget. 
By definition, a Special Fund is an account established, by law, to collect  and distribute money for a very specific purpose. Special Funds are needed by our communities for things like environmental protection, substance abuse treatment, clean water, 9-1-1 call centers, trails, parks, agricultural preservation, and more. The Growing Greener/Environmental Stewardship Fund and the Keystone Fund are Special Funds that provide much of the money needed to do environmental, conservation, and preservation work in Pennsylvania. The money in the Environmental Stewardship Fund, of which South Mountain Partnership relies on to serve you and the counties of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York, comes from a fee for dumping trash into landfills, known as the "Tipping Fee." Some of that money is directed to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; from there, the Partnership competes in an annual competitive grant program to receive funds.   
The Pennsylvania State Constitution states that "the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.  Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people" (Article 1, Section 27). South Mountain Partnership is one of several organizations throughout Pennsylvania working to preserve your quality of life through conservation and preservation of the environment and legacy of Pennsylvania, while spurring meaningful economic development, planning, and innovation (see the projects that we fund below).  The budget strategy supported by Bloom, Delozier, Keefer, Kauffman, Moul, Shemel, Rothman, Tallman, and others, would remove our ability to continue this work by raiding the Keystone Fund and the Growing Greener/Environmental Stewardship Fund. 
You can see how your State Representative voted at
The directors of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Transportation were among the first to express deep concern over the proposed Special Fund transfers. In addition, the Cumberland County Commissioners and the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors expressed deep concern.  Read their, and others, letters here: 

Do you know how much our South Mountain communities rely on this funding? Did you know that local landmarks and attractions such as the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, the Dill's Tavern Distillery, the Appalachian Trail Museum, the restorations of the Carlisle Iron Works and Pine Grove Iron Furnaces, the Mont Alto "Out of the Ore" Nature Trail, and the Conococheague Trail are just a handful of projects that were funded by the South Mountain Partnership with Environmental Stewardship Funds? 

It affects you: 
Money/resources that are currently available to you and your community - funds for 911 call centers, Volunteer fire fighting companies, Conservation districts, Penn State Extension, Farmland Preservation, conservation and preservation projects - could be taken through such a Special Fund raid. The Senate Revenue Plan does not seem to rely on transferring money out of environmental and energy funds, but their plan has not yet been finalized. It does, however, uproot environmental permit programs, blocks initiatives, and removes key environmental standards, according to PA Environmental Digest.
What you can do: 
We URGE you to contact your Pennsylvania state Senator and Representative and tell them how you feel about the proposals to raid these Special Funds. You need not explain to them why you feel the way you do; you only need to communicate whether you support the raid of Special Funds or not. Find your state Representative and Senator by clicking on your county on the map here:
How you benefit from the Growing Greener/Environmental Stewardship Fund: 
South Mountain Partnership currently receives funding from this fund. We actively serve over 500,000 residents by distributing a portion of this money to your local governments and organizations in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties through our South Mountain Mini-Grant Program. We want to continue our mini-grant program, and all of our work, but will not be able to do so if the Special Fund is raided.

These grants pay people to do work. Jobs will be lost without this funding. As you can see from our list below, the grants often help local governments and organizations to pay skilled laborers like general contractors and masons to fix things like historic iron furnaces and structures, and build things like signs and trails; educators to enrich our lives and teach our next generations; managers, marketers, and programmers to develop tourism products, non-profit resources, and plans. As a result of these investments, nature, water, heritage and wildlife are being protected for future generations.
Could lose over $1 million of newly awarded money.
Past grants provided by Environmental Stewardship Fund (a Special Fund):
Land Conservancy of Adams County for Tales of Preservation Booklet (2009);
- Adams County Conservation District for Vernal Pools Workshop (2009);
Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve for South Mountain Outdoors event (2010), for Trail Feasibility Study (2013);
- Arendtsville Borough for Gateway Narrows Project (2010);
Healthy Adams County, Inc. for South Mountain Food Security Symposium (2011);
- Borough of Gettysburg (Main Street Gettysburg) for Gettysburg Inner Loop Trail (2011), for Baltimore Street Economic Revitalization Master Plan (2016);
Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc. for Gettysburg Inner Loop Master Plan (2012);
Adams County Trout Unlimited for Conococheague Trout Habitat Restoration (2013);
- Watershed Alliance of Adams County for Watershed Teaching Curriculum (2013), for Reforesting Adams County Streams (2016);
Could lose over $1.7 million of newly awarded money.
Past grants provided by Environmental Stewardship Fund (a Special Fund): 
- Capital RC&D for Geo-Trail (2009), for Food System Workshop (2012), for LEAF Project Inc development (2013);
Cumberland County, PA - Planning/Recycling & Waste Department for the Cumberland Valley Local Food, Farm and Outdoor Guide (2009), for Mount Holly Marsh Preserve Trail Improvements (2010), for Simply Moving Park & Trail Guide (2012), for Forest Management Plan (2015);
Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania for Signage and Implementation (2010);
Cumberland County Historical Society for Camp Michaud recognition and development (2010), Pine Grove Area Historical Interpretation (Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park) (2011);
Appalachian Trail Museum for Trail Shelter Exhibit (2010), Rampi-theater Installation (2011), for Museum Restoration/Updates (2015);
- Central Pennsylvania Conservancy for Community Supported Forests Booklet (2010), for Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute (2012 and 2013), for South Mountain Landowner Outreach Initiative & Workshop (2016);
Shippensburg University / Center for Land Use and Sustainability for South Mountain Public Survey (2010), Cumberland Valley Rail-Trail Users Survey (2011), for Cultural Resource Predictive Model (2016), for Regional Investments Story Map (2016);
Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park for Biodiversity Restoration (2011), for Pine Grove Furnace Stack Repair (2013), for Mountain Creek Trail Footbridge (2015);
Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club for Trindle Road Trailhead (2011), for Children's Lake Benches (2013);
Cumberland Valley Rail Trail for Signage (2011), for Allen Road and Newville Trailheads (2014);
Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania Borough for Butler Park Improvements (2013);
Dickinson College for Laurel Lake, Pennsylvania Monitoring and Research (2014);
LeTort Regional AuthorityFriends of the Letort for LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail improvements (2014);
South Middleton Township for Carlisle Iron Works Engineering Study (2014), for Furnace structural repairs (2015) ;
Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul for the Heart & Soul Initiative (2015);
LEAF Project Inc for Local Food System Display & Education (2015);
Could lose over $500,000 of newly awarded money.
Past grants provided by Environmental Stewardship Fund (a Special Fund): 
- Franklin County Visitors Bureau (Ben Franklin) for Documentary Film (2009), for South Mountain Mobile Phone App (2011), for "Out of the Ore" Nature Trail and furnace restoration (2014);
Greene Township Board of Supervisors, Franklin County PA for Conococheague Trail Feasibility Study (2011), for Cork Hill Adaptive Reuse Feasibility Study (2016);
Could lose over $2.7 million of newly awarded money.
Past grants provided by Environmental Stewardship Fund (a Special Fund):
Dill's TavernNorthern York Co Historical & Preservation Society for the Dill's Tavern and Distillery Project (2014);
Northern York County School District for South Central PA Harvest Hub (2016);
Past grants provided by Environmental Stewardship Fund (a Special Fund): 
Audubon, Pennsylvania for South Mountain Birding Guide (2012)

The focus now shifts to your state Senators. Stay engaged and stay tuned.



Apply Now for Grants to Install Riparian Forested Buffers
Photo courtesy of PA Environmental Digest

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for grants to install riparian forest buffers from October 2 to December 20. Find out more here.

Green Infrastructure Funding Available to Your Community
Photo courtesy of PA Environmental Digest

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in partnership with Quantified Ventures and with support from The Kresge Foundation and other funders, is inviting municipalities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to participate in a pilot project to implement green infrastructure solutions that reduce urban/suburban runoff that damages local rivers, streams... Find out more here.

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)


Legendary wildlife scientist John Craighead dead at 100

Like the Craigheads, many conservationists called the Sou th Mountain Landscape  home (or a second home). Be proud - this landscape has had a profound affect on oodles of conservationists throughout history!

Find out more about the legendary Craigheads at the  Craighead House


Additional News 

Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities

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

October 6
Healthy Watershed Tour
LandStudies' President, Kelly Gutshall, will be giving a Stormwater Management Best Management Practices (BMPs) tour of various project sites around the Lititz area and highlights alternative stormwater management tehniques, groundwater infiltration in kartst geology, pollution reduction, MS4 and TMDL requirements, reductions in accordance with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, increased stormwater attentuation, + more.  Anyone or group interested in attending or wanting more details should email More details at

October 7 - Lancaster
2017 PA Hallowed Grounds Project Annual Meeting
Free - This year the theme of "Restoration. Innovation.Preservation.," the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project, will be Historic Cemetery Legacy Planning: Securing a Future for Our Sacred Sites and Records. Join for a day of learning from veteran cemetery caretakers; sharing experiences and advice with other historians, stewards, genealogists, students, and other interested parties; or learning about what they do and imagine how you can be involved in this vital work! Learn more and register.

October 7 - Harrisburg
Safe Climate PA
Safe Climate PA is an opportunity to learn about carbon pricing policies and how to effectively engage with elected officials, the media, and our campus communities to advocate for climate solutions. Learn more & register.

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.

October 18 - Webinar
Municipal Tree Commissions and Tree Ordinance -  Do They Support Community Development? by Penn State Extension
Tree-lined streets and parks beautify our communities, enhance them economically, and improve the quality of our environment. Unfortunately some of these communities are in need of expertise to take care of their trees in a proper way.  These communities might already have a volunteer shade tree commission that utilizes a street tree ordinance to protect citizens and trees.  An important tool for communities that have street trees is a street tree ordinance.  This webinar will briefly discuss police power, enabling legislation, and public participation in decision making.  It will introduce common sections of street and park tree ordinances. The contrast between municipal street tree ordinance and other types of environmental ordinances will also be provided.  Approved for 1.25 CM credit. More info and Registration.

October 18 - Philadelphia
Changing Lanes
You're invited to Changing Lanes: A Transportation Conference on Technology, Trends, and Change. Join leaders from around the tri-state region to learn how technology, funding, and the changing workforce are affecting the transportation field, today and well into the future.  Session topics include: diversifying our transportation workforce, funding the region's visionary transportation projects, using technology for civic engagement, and more.  More info and Register.

October 22-24 - State College
Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association Annual Conference
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in community planning through education, empowerment, partnership, and public policy. Planning is an essential function in creating successful communities throughout Pennsylvania and the PA Chapter of APA, with its diverse and engaged membership, positively influences the provision of planning resources and the practice of planning at all levels of the public and private sectors.This is the largest annual gathering of Planners in PA! The Conference is full of opportunities for learning, training and networking with colleagues from around the state. 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.

December 5-7 - Pittsburgh
National Brownfields Training Conference
In 1996, a cross-section of stakeholders came together in Pittsburgh for the very first National Brownfields Training Conference. Now more than two decades later, Brownfields 2017  is coming back to the city where the cleanup and redevelopment movement started. 
Offered every two years, the conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. 
Mark your calendars and join us for three days of training, networking and business development! Learn more & 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? 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
*Event Planning - 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.  
* Speakers Series coordinator

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 |  |