Welcome to the South Mountain Partnership

The South Mountain Partnership has a new web site!! Please visit http://www.southmountainpartnership.org. The South Mountain blog will continue to be hosted at http://southmountaincli.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Appalachian Trail Museum

In 2010 The Appalachian Trail Museum was opened by an ALL volunteer effort, including hundreds of hours of volunteer labor and donated professional service.

The South Mountain Mini-grant helped fund critical projects that would get the museum open, including making the museum handicap accessible and funding some interpretive panels. The Museum is located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park and has become an amazing addition to the area.

To learn more about it, check out the Appalachian Trail Museum webpage.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Cumberland Valley Local Food, Farm and Outdoor Guide

Cumberland County is pleased to announce the publication of a Local Food, Farm and Outdoor Attractions Guide for the Cumberland Valley. The project is a collaborative effort involving Cumberland County Planning Department, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau, Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation and the Capital Resource Conservation & Development Area Council. The project was funded in part by the South Mountain Partnership through the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The goal of the project is to promote local agricultural operations and outdoor recreation locations and to educate the public on the importance of agriculture and our abundant natural resources to the quality of life of the County. The guide includes a directory of farmers markets, roadside stands, pick your own operations, farmstays and other agritourism locations. In addition, the guide includes information on outdoor recreation opportunities available in Cumberland County.

You can pick this guide up at the Cumberland County Visitors Bureau, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and several other locations.

The South Mountain Geo-Trail

Travel across the South Mountain region and you will find an abundance of cultural and natural treasures from farms and farm markets, wineries, historic sites, forestlands, unique water features, and bustling recreation assets. During the spring and summer of 2010, Capital Resource Conservation and Development (Capital RC&D) will inventory and connect these sites through a “Geo-Cache Trail” project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK OUT The Geo-Cache Website or The Geo-Cache Blog

Capital RC&D will work with South Mountain partners to designate the sites, develop South Mountain branding elements, recruit site stewards and promote the program. We will collaborate to develop guidelines and materials as well as to provide input on the final product. We will also involve students and volunteers who are interested in becoming “stewards” of the selected sites. Suggested sites will be farms and farm markets, wineries, community facilities, cultural features, and outdoor areas including parks, water features, etc. Geo-caching provides many benefits to the caching sites, including increased visitor use, increase revenue, the use of the program as an education tool, and developing awareness of the region’s assets. The South Mountain GeoTrail Project will enhance a sense of place for residents and visitors alike, by getting folks outdoors

What is Geo-Caching? This adventure sport/hobby is a great family activity and getting started is easy! All you need is a handheld GPS receiver (new ones are available for as little as $80) and internet access. With the tools outlined, the participant visits designated sites in a “treasure-hunt” style experience. A typical cache consists of a waterproof container, a log book, and trinkets. Signing the log book proves you found it, and the trinkets provide trade items; the idea is to take an item, then replace it with an item of equal value. Once the log book is signed and trinkets exchanged, the container is put back in exactly the same place it was found, to await the next finder.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Community Supported Forests Booklet: An All Local Wood Product Guide

Our region has a wealth and diversity of local agricultural products, AND it is also blessed by an abundance of forest products which provides us local goods that have a lower carbon footprint, feed right back into our local economy, and help maintain our woodlands. Our mini-grant program has funded the creation of a Community Supported Forest Booklet- a local guide to all things wood related, including where to by local furniture, wood pellets, timber frames, and much, much more. Central Pennsylvania Conservancy leads this project with contributions from Penn State University and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.Click here to download the South Mountain Community Supported Forest guide.

Community Supported Forests reflect a community shared land ethic. We know we want to protect the character and quality of life that Central Pennsylvania’s scenic woodlands and ridges provide us. Abundant, clean water, un-fragmented habit for wildlife and diverse recreational opportunities are all enjoyed in our forested landscape. Additionally, when we connect our healthy forests and the marketplace, by harvesting and converting wood into quality products, more value is sent back to the forest and forest stewards, keeping local forests healthy, beautiful, and productive.

Like small farms, small forest product operations serve a vital role in our communities. When you buy locally, your money stays within the community, bolstering the local economy.

Download the attached Community Supported Forests Booklet. Contact these local vendors to help keep our local forests sustainable. We have made every effort to include as many businesses as possible. If you have an update or correction to the publication please contact Debbie Bowman at 717-241-4360 or dbowman@CentralPaConservancy.org. Hard copies of this booklet will be available shortly.

Mount Holly Marsh Preserve

The Mount Holly Marsh Preserve is a 900-acre natural area along the rocky slopes of the South Mountain near Mount Holly Springs, PA. The preserve consists of a 700-acre upland forest and a 200-acre marsh and was acquired in 1992 by The Nature Conservancy and donated to Cumberland County with the assistance of the Holly Gap Committee, a group of local community members who raised funds to acquire the land.

In addition to providing ample recreation opportunities through hiking and nature exploration, the area also has a long and interesting history spanning the Revolutionary and Civil Wars as well as more recently playing host to Mount Holly Park, a summer resort attracting vacationers from many miles away.

A short drive from the state capital, this mini-wilderness serves both as a sanctuary and living laboratory for many communities in central Pennsylvania. Download the Mount Holly Marsh Preserve brochure and trail map from the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau web site.

Camp Michaux Recognition and Development

For 10 years, the Cumberland County Historical Society has supported the development of increased understanding of the history of a site in Cooke Township known as Camp Michaux. The site had been used as a farm associated with the iron industry from 1787-1912, and then as a farm leased by the state from 1913-1919. In 1933 the site became the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Pennsylvania and continued to function until 1942. In 1943, the U.S. Army converted the CCC facility for use as a secret interrogation camp for enemy German and Japanese prisoners of war, one of only three such sites in the country. After WWII, the facility was renovated and operated by Camp Michaux, Inc., a joint effort of the United Church of Christ and the United Presbyterian Church, as a youth summer camp.

With the aid of a South Mountain Partnership mini-grant and under leadership of historian David Smith, the project has secured an official State Historical Marker for the site. Trails have been opened at the camp and individual sites cleared to make them more visible to the public. A self-guided walking tour guidebook has been produced and keyed to numbered posts that have been erected throughout the former camp. The project also seeks to list the property on the National Register of Historic Places and the nomination process for this phase of the project is still in progress.

Download a PDF of the Self-Guided Camp Michaux walking tour from the Cumberland County Historical Society's web site here.             

Vernal Pool Workshops, Adams County Conservation District

There are many vernal pools along South Mountain, but a lack of awareness about their ecological importance in surrounding communities. There is also strong development pressure in the South Mountain area which could have a detrimental effect on vernal pools if left misunderstood. To increase understanding of vernal pools and promote the protection of vulnerable species, Adams County Conservation District in conjunction with Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve hosted hands-on public workshops targeted to the general public, local schools and municipal officials in surrounding communities.

Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad

In the heart of the South Mountain region and located on the grounds of Caledonia State Park is Thaddeus Stevens Ironworks. Thaddeus Stevens Ironworks represents both the story of the nineteenth century iron ore industry and the Underground Railroad in the South Mountain area. Just as the landscape is key to the efforts of the South Mountain Partnership, the landscape was essential in the journeys of freedom seekers.

The powerful story of the Underground Railroad through the South Mountain region is revealed in this historical documentary produced by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Blue Hawk Productions and Historical Entertainment, LLC.