Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to explore South Mountain in Stories of the Mountain Tour on August 24, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. South Mountain holds centuries of history and lore. The mountain forests fed the iron ore industry, sheltered escaping enslaved, saw the strife of Civil War and was reborn through Pennsylvania’s conservation movement. Life on the mountain is the story of small communities across America. Learn the secret, tangled routes of the Underground Railroad, visit a general store museum, hear the eerie story of the silvery lady of Pond Bank., and join the Ghost Pit (Paranormal Investigation Team) for a lunchtime investigation of Penn National Inn.

The tour begins at Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, 9 AM, where participants will view “Road to Freedom,” a video about the Underground Railroad of South Mountain, the iron ore industry, and the beginnings of the conservation movement of Pennsylvania.  Stops include Caledonia State Park and Thaddeus Steven’s Blacksmith Shop and Preserving Our Heritage Museum, housed in a one-room schoolhouse with a relocated 1930 – 1950 general store. Learn about the South Mountain Restoration Center, where fresh air gave hope to thousands of tuberculosis patients. Discover the South Mountain connection to John Brown and his raiders.

Lunch is at Penn National Golf Course and Community, where the views of the mountain are breathtaking. After lunch, the Ghost PIT will invite tour participants to help investigate the “old inn,” on the Penn National property. Step back to 1812 and visit the Royer farmhouse at Renfrew Park and hear the story of the Renfrew Sisters, Daniel Royer, and the Nicodemus family. Continue up the mountain to Monterey Pass Battlefield where 10,000 Union and Confederate troops fought along the mountain ridge in a blinding thunderstorm during the late hours of July 4 and early hours of July 5, 1863, part of the retreat from Gettysburg.

Single tickets are $30/ person or two tickets for $50. Bring a friend and save!  Tour fee includes lunch at Founder’s Grille and all admission fees. Tickets can be purchased online here or by contacting the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060.

Project SNOWStorm & Project OwlNet: Rescheduled During Severe Cold Set For Tues., Feb. 12

Project SNOWStorm & Project OwlNet: Rescheduled During Severe Cold Set For Tues., Feb. 12

Owls are in the spotlight during a program on Project SNOWStorm and Project OwlNet on Tuesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the visitors center at Renfrew Park. The program is sponsored by Renfrew Institute, and admission is free.

As reports of increasing numbers of snowy owl sightings emerged across Pennsylvania and other northern states in the winter of 2013–14, a team of researchers gathered to learn more about these owls, calling their effort Project SNOWstorm.

Steve Huy is a co-founder of Project SNOWstorm, and co-director of Project Owlnet, a long term study of saw-whet owls based at the Lambs Knoll station in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

Project SNOWstorm uses innovative science to track and understand snowy owls, and to engage people in their conservation through outreach and education.

Huy began banding snowy owls for future identification several years ago. Some of the owls are fitted with solar-powered transmitters that provide insight into their activities for several years, including data on latitude, longitude and altitude.

Researchers have discovered that some owls are “home-bodies,” rarely traveling more than a quarter-mile. Other owls travel hundreds of miles in just a few weeks, moving from islands along the Atlantic coast to Pennsylvania farm country, and then back to the coast.

The owls are given nicknames, some of which reflect where they were originally tagged. Stella, Pettibone, Baltimore, Pickford, and Island Beach are just a few of the owls whose movements are tracked by Project SNOWStorm.

Join South Mountain Partnership For Power of the Partnership Annual Breakfast

Join South Mountain Partnership For Power of the Partnership Annual Breakfast

The 7th-annual South Mountain Partnership‘s Power of the Partnership breakfast is slated for January 26, 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM, at Bongiorno Conference Center in Carlisle . It is a celebration of the South Mountain region, encompassing the South Mountain and Michaux Forest landscape of Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, and a small portion of York Counties. The region encompasses four state parks–Mont Alto, Caldeonia, Pine Grove, and King’s Gap– and such communities as Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Gettysburg, and Carlisle The mountain greenway is a special mix of heritage, culture, nature, and recreation and contributes a distinct character, attracting residents and visitors to the landscape.

South Mountain Partnership invites individuals, businesses, municipalities, and non-profits:

  • Celebrate our collective accomplishments in 2017, and look forward to what’s to come in 2018;
  • Connect with the Partnership as a whole and get an understanding of how the Partnership works and where we are going;
  • Network with folks in the region who are making a difference;
  • Hear about projects that have received funding through the 2016 South Mountain Mini-Grant Program.

Cost is $10 for a full-breakfast. Register here.

The South Mountain Partnership is a regional, landscape conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania. Launched in 2006, the Partnership operates as a public-private partnership between Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It has grown into an alliance of citizens, businesses, non-profits, academic institutions, and local, state and federal government agencies and officials collaborating to envision and secure a sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. This landscape is home to many. Together, the Partnership strives to collaborate in sustaining the South Mountain landscape.

South Mountain Partnership honors Franklin County officials

CHAMBERSBURG- The Capitol Theatre in downtown Chambersburg hosted the South Mountain Partnership’s 5th annual meeting. Franklin County Commissioners and Greene Township supervisors were honored with the Spirit of South Mountain Award.

This annual award recognizes individuals, projects or organizations that make significant contributions to advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. This year, the award went to the Franklin County Commissioners and Greene Township Supervisors in cooperation with the Eagle Rock Project, led by The Conservation Fund, which worked to conserve over 1,100 acres of land in Greene Township.

The Conservation Fund worked for more than 7 years to acquire and transfer the land to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Working with Kyle Shenk from the Conservation Fund, Katie Hess, director of the South Mountain Partnership, said she learned first-hand about the direct cooperation between local government and the project.

“Gaining forces makes our partnership stronger together,” Hess said.

Hand-crafted and carved wooden cutting boards, crafted by a South Mountain artisan, were given as a symbol of the award. Accepting the awards were Franklin County Commissioner David Keller, Commissioner Bob Thomas and Shawn Corwell, Greene Township Supervisor.

Commissioner Keller noted the value of the Marcellus Shale funds stating, “These funds helped to support projects like the Eagle Rock acquisition.”

The South Mountain Partnership announced $74,000 in mini-grants for six projects in 2016. These projects include restoration of the Appalachian Trail Museum, the Mount Holly Marsh Creek Preserve forest management plan project, Mountain Creek footbridge project for Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the Heart & Soul Project through the Greater Carlisle Project, Carlisle Iron Works Furnace Structural Repairs Project and the LEAF Inc. Leaders of the Local Agriculture System Pop-Up Museum project.

The partnership also announced its selection as a participant in the Regional Capacity Initiative through the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. The effort will improve quality of life and protect and restore natural resources. Out of 29 applicants, only five were selected with South Mountain Partnership representing Pennsylvania.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau and the Penn National Golf Course and Golf Course Community are partners of the South Mountain Partnership, an alliance of organizations working to preserve and enhance the cultural and natural assets of the South Mountain Landscape in Central Pennsylvania. The partnership is led by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and has grown into a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies and officials. Together, these partners collaborate in conserving the South Mountain landscape to enrich the quality of life and sustain the sense of place of the region’s citizens and communities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ primary mission is to maintain, improve and protect state parks, to manage state forest lands to assure their long-term health, sustainability and economic use; to provide information on Pennsylvanian’s ecological and geologic resources; and to administer grant and technical assistance programs that will benefit rivers conservation, trails and greenways, local recreation, regional heritage conservation and environmental education programs across Pennsylvania.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come.

For more information: contact Katie Hess, director of South Mountain Partnership, 717.609.4581