The new Franklin County 11/30 Visitor Center was the site of the 8th Annual “Power of the Partnership breakfast, coordinated by the South Mountain Partnership in early February. Franklin County Commissioners David Keller, Robert Thomas, and Robert Ziobrowski welcomed over 130 attendees from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York Counties, highlighting the historic, agricultural, and recreational value of the county they represent.
The South Mountain Partnership is one of seven landscape initiatives in Pennsylvania, which support investment and action around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects. Cindy Dunn, Secretary of PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), spoke to the value of the state’s conservation landscape efforts and the success of the South Mountain Partnership (SMP), often a model of the effort.
Suzanne Dixon, CEO and President of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), shared ATC’s new initiative–the Wild East. The Wild East brings greater attention to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the lands surrounding the 2,192-mile footpath. Both the Wild East and South Mountain landscapes are efforts to secure access to open, natural spaces and the historic, cultural, and aesthetic assets they bring.
The breakfast program focused on profiles of action along the South Mountain landscape, including Franklin County’s collective actions to oppose a 230KV, double line transmission project, proposed by Transource PA and slated to traverse more than 29 miles of the county. Speaking were Lori Rice of the Franklin County Stop Transource community group. Lori, a business owner and farm wife, discussed the impacts on the watershed, karst system, agricultural land, and the community culture of Franklin County. Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corporation, addressed Franklin County’s balanced approach to development and the reasons FCADC did not support the project, noting the county approach to economic development and citing the zero-value of the project to PA.
The South Mountain Partnership awarded six 2018 Mini Grants, totaling $50,000. The grant program commenced in 2009 and has supported more than 60 projects, awarding $440,000 in funds and leveraging just under $900,000 in matching investment.
Mike Eschenmann, DCNR Internal Lead of South Mountain Partnership, awarded Karen Lutz, recently retired as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of ATC, with the ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ award. The award recognized Lutz’s long-standing efforts to advance the Partnership.
“Throughout our 13-year history, SMP has consistently relied on diverse partners to be the ‘Power’ that positively impacts the South Mountain landscape of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York Counties. The gathering is invaluable as the region seeks to better conserve and manage agricultural, natural, recreational, and historical assets,” said Katie Hess, director of South Mountain Partnership.
The natural and agricultural landscape of Franklin County contributes to the county’s econonmy. In a recent article by Nate Lotze, the value of PA trails is quantified. Securing and enjoying the outdoor recreational value was a theme of the recent South Mountain Power of the Partnership Breakfast at the new Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, where 130 attendees from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York Counties, came together around impoortance and value of the landscape. The recent study, highlighted in the Lotze article, is a good resource in considering future planning and landscape conservation. The artilce appears below:
A new economic study finds that outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania, including trail sports, generated $26.9 billion in 2016—that’s $2.2 billion more than the construction industry. The state’s wealth of natural resources and rich outdoor traditions also supported more than 390,000 jobs, where Pennsylvanians earned $17 billion in salaries and wages.
The research, conducted by Southwick Associates for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership showed that over 2.5 million Pennsylvanians participated in trail sports like biking, hiking, and ATV riding. These trail users spend over $6.5 billion per year, support more than 87,000 jobs, and generate over $900 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Overall, trail sports contribute $10.2 billion in total economic output.
“Economic activity generated by outdoor recreation is too powerful to ignore,” says Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania field representative for TRCP. “That’s why our local, state, and federal decision-makers should prioritize legislation that helps conserve the fish and wildlife resources that outdoor recreation businesses rely on to employ and serve Pennsylvanians.”
The Keystone Park, Recreation, and Conservation Fund is a good example. This important state funding source was established in 1993 with overwhelming legislative and public support. In the 25 years since, it has funded over 300 projects to build, maintain, and improve trails across Pennsylvania. But legislators have consistently tried to make cuts to the Keystone Fund, putting trail projects and the economic benefits they provide in jeopardy.
The TRCP and other groups plan to advocate for better investments in conservation through increased funding for this program and others in the state.
The study can be viewed and downloaded here.
With the opening of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, the Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) is creating a year-long series of speakers and tours to showcase Franklin County history, architecture, outdoor beauty, and one-of-kind stories.
January launches the year with a paranormal investigation of the 11/30 Visitors Center, an 1865 former bank. The investigation will be conducted by the Ghost Pit team on January 31 and discussion of the investigation will follow on February 2 at 2 PM.
February emphasizes history by focusing on hallowed grounds, freedom seekers and equality. February 23 includes a presentation of Hallowed Grounds by Dr. Arnold Hence.
During March, the Franklin County 11/30 Center will explore famous women of Franklin County. A panel will discuss contributions of the county women on March 23, from Revolutionary heroine Margaret Cochran Corbin to 20th century philanthropist Emma Geiser Nicodemus.
April is Spring into History Month in Franklin County and is highlighted by tours and discussions throughout the month, including Waynesboro’s industrial and Civil War history, frontier and colonial history of Mercersburg and Fort Loudon, and presentation by author Cindy Ross on using local assets of history and culture to educate children.
May puts the focus on Harriet Lane, the First Lady of Franklin County. June launches the Franklin County barn quilt trail and tour. September explores Franklin County’s role in the conservation movement. October brings together the beauty of fall foliage, the importance of farming in Franklin County, and a prominent concentration of Cumberland Valley bank barns.
Further details of the month’s itineraries and how to register will post on ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com in early January.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Plan a visit at ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com, by contacting 866.646.8060, or stopping by the new Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center on the square in Chambersburg.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau is pleased to name the Ghost Pit as the official investigation team of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and announce a third investigation of paranormal activity at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center in downtown Chambersburg on Thursday, January 31, 2019. The investigation, led by Ghost Pit founder Brian Phillips, begins at 8 PM and runs until 11 PM. The Ghost Pit team performed two investigations prior to the nine-month renovation of 15 South Main Street.
The property, built in 1865 as the National Bank of Chambersburg, served the community as a bank for 150 years. It replaced a previous bank, burned by Confederate soldiers in July 1864 when residents of Chambersburg could not pay a ransom demand of $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in Yankee currency.
FCVB launched its relationship with the Ghost Pit in December 2017 with an initial investigation of the property. A second investigation was completed two months later, just before renovation of the property began. In these investigations, the Ghost Pit documented several paranormal interactions, including a playful exchange with a young boy, who played a game of hide and seek. Though all interactions were benevolent, a 19th century bank executive was worried about the security of bank funds as was a 20th century bank guard.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to join the paranormal investigation. Tickets are limited to the first 26 participants and are $10/person. Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here.
Following the January 31 investigation, the Ghost Pit will give an update of paranormal activity at 15 South Main Street during IceFest Saturday, February 2, in the second-level Great Room of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center at 2 PM.
Exploring paranormal activity with The Ghost Pit is just one way to discover Franklin County PA. The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Plan a visit at ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com, contacting 866.646.8060, or stopping by the new Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center on the square in Chambersburg.
As 2019 begins, the Franklin County Visitors Bureau recognizes the growing CTA Program and reflects on a year of progress toward expanding the mission of both the FCVB and the CTA Program.
The Certified Tourism Ambassador Programis a multi-faceted program that seeks to increase tourism by inspiring front-line employees and volunteers to turn very visitor encounter into a positive experience. When visitors have a positive experience, they are more likely to return and share their experience.
In the beginning of 2017, Doug Harmon, Certified Tourism Ambassador Director with the Franklin County Visitors Bureau, began training members of the community and staff. 2018 has continued to be a busy year, with now over 100 CTA’s trained and promoting Franklin County.
“We are extremely happy with the results we’ve gotten from participating in the CTA Program for 2018,” Harmon said.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau would like to thank the many generous local organizations that have opened their doors for training and have joined the Franklin County CTA’s including Quincy Village, Ragged Edge Inn, Penn National Golf Community, Coyle Free Library, Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce and Holiday Inn & Express in Chambersburg.
“This remains a great networking opportunity,” said Harmon. “It provides great growth for individuals and for our local businesses.”
Franklin County CTA’s have continued to do many outreach events, the most recent, serving as ambassadors at the Franklin County 11/30 Center, where they have assisted members of the public about what to do, where to dine and where to stay in Franklin County. They have also done a bus tour to Waynesboro, a hiking and nature walk to Caledonia State Park and meet and greets at local wineries and breweries.
Dudley Gayman, 2018 Franklin County CTA of the Year, was involved with early stages of the program and its development in 2017.
“My experience has been both positive and rewarding for a host of reasons. The training and learning experience is a benefit as well as actively reaching out into the communities in Franklin County,” Dudley said. “Meeting and mixing with individuals and businesses is an excellent way to increase your knowledge about our surroundings. Promoting and educating locals and visitors about the rich history we have right here in Franklin County is the “icing on the cake.”
Tyler Baum, CTA, said he has extremely enjoyed representing his community in public, with friends and participating in events. Baum has served at the CTA informational desk at the new 11/30 Visitors Center, attended meet and greets and has spoken widely about the program.
“Being a CTA has given me the opportunity to meet people,” he said, which has helped his own work in sales and in getting to be a part of the community. “The CTA Program has an emphasis on face-to-face communication. I love it!”
Upcoming classes for Certified Tourism Ambassador training will be held on:
- January 15 at the Cumberland Valley School of Real Estate
- February 26 at the Orchards Restaurants
- March 26 at Menno Haven Retirement Community
- April TBD at the new 11/30 Visitors Center
If interested in learning more about becoming a member of this growing community-oriented program, contact Doug Harmon 717-552-2977 extension 106.
Dogs are more than just a friend to many; they can be life-savers. A local program aiming to help both veterans and shelter dogs is Operation Save-a-Vet Save-a-Pet.
Through a grant from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund, Veterans Outreach Fund, and donations, Franklin County veterans can receive a service dog that has been trained to help with their disabilities, free of charge. Veterans can also enter their own dog to attend classes to become a service dog at a small fee.
This service is dedicated to helping Franklin County veterans with service-connected disabilities that will help them life happier, healthier and more productive lives.
Disabilities that dogs can be trained to help veterans with include seizure disorders, diabetes, PTSD, psychiatric disorders, stability and traumatic brain injury.
Dogs come from local rescues and are put through a year-long training at no cost to veterans by Helen Carlson, who owns and operates Good Dog Boarding, Doggie Day Care & Training with her husband, Brad, in Greencastle. Carlson, has been training dogs for over 36 years and leads the dogs in the three-phase intensive program which ends with a final phase between the veteran and dog before being certified.
The public can support the program by making a donation to the Franklin County Veterans Affairs Office at 425 Franklin Farm Lane, or by indicating a preference to donate on the PA driver’s license or registration renewal for the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund.
For more information about Operation Save-A-Vet Save-a-Pet, contact Justin Slep at the Franklin County Affairs Office at 717-263-4326.