Building on our past to create a legacy for our future


Connecting our environmental and social history to today's issues.

The Changing Face of Agriculture in the South Mountain Region - Oct 4 &5 and 11&12

One of the defining features of the South Mountain landscape is the rich agricultural heritage of the region. As quickly evident to residents and visitors to the landscape alike, the rich soil and a unique geology and topography combine to provide fertile farm lands. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 20,000-acre South Mountain Fruit Belt, centered in Adams County. The products of this Fruit Belt - apples and peaches most predominantly - are a primary reason that the commonwealth of Pennsylvania ranks near the top of all states in fruit production. An upcoming South Mountain Speakers Series will explore a unique and growing aspect of this fruit production.

In collaboration with our partners at the Gettyshttp://www.gettysburgwineandfruittrail.com/burg Wine and Fruit Trail, the South Mountain Partnership will be hosting "The Changing Face of Agriculture: Re-creating the Cider Industry in the South Mountain Landscape," a panel discussion that will take place at 2pm on each of the four days (Oct 4 & 5 and Oct 11 & 12) of the National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville, PA. This year marks the 50th year of the Festival, and this panel discussion will sure to be a highlight.

Learn how four family farms are finding renewed economic success by turning back to cider. Hauser Estate Winery will discuss how their hard cider production is transitioning their farm and business; Reid’s Winery will discuss the planting and use of heirloom cider apples for their farm’s hard cider production; Big Hill Winery and Cider Works will discuss creating a modern farm business based on the old value added product of apple cider, sweet and hard. Oyler’s Organic Farms and Market will discuss transitioning from conventional to organic apple growing and sweet cider production.
 
Mark your calendars and come out to the scenic South Mountain Fair Grounds to hear first-hand how local farms are innovating to address an evolving market, and in doing so ensuring the South Mountain landscape remains a agricultural destination!
 


The Second Event of the 2014 Season of the South Mountain Speakers Series: the Historic African-American Burial Grounds of the Region

The special 5th Season of the South Mountain Speakers Series continues on the evening of Thursday, April 17th at Shippensburg University with a fascinating discussion of the historic African-American Burial Grounds of the South Mountain region.

“Over the last 250 years, African American churches and organizations have established dozens of burial grounds in communities throughout the South Mountain region,” said Jon Peterson, a planner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy who is coordinating the committee on the speaker series. “These historic cemeteries provide remarkable sites for documenting the rich African American history of the region, including African-American military service in the United States Civil War.”


"Hallowed Grounds, Endangered History: Preserving the Historic African-American Burial Grounds of the South Mountain Region,” will be held at 7 p.m. at the Old Main Chapel at 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA. The event is free and open to the public.

Today, many of the historic burial grounds have vanished, or they are threatened by a combination of neglect, vandalism and development.

Dr. Steven Burg, professor of history at Shippensburg University, will discuss the ways that the historic burial grounds of the South Mountain can be used to discover the region’s rich African-American history; the threats posed to these sites; and a variety of efforts that are currently underway to preserve them, and protect and share the stories of these hallowed grounds. A panel discussion will follow Dr. Burg's presentation, featuring: Larry Knutson, president of Penn Trails, a trail design firm with experience conducting cemetery conservation projects; Lenwood Sloan, former director of Pennsylvania's Cultural and Heritage Tourism Program; and Barbara Barksdale, founder of Friends of Midland, an organization that is restoring Harrisburg's Midland Cemetery, a pre-Civil War African American cemetery.

The event is supported by the Pennsylvania Hallowed Ground Project and Shippensburg University.

The annual South Mountain Speakers Series is envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania’s forests and natural landscape. The fifth season of the Speakers Series is sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.

The South Mountain Partnership was sparked by DCNR’s effort to engage communities, local partners and state agencies and identify funding opportunities to conserve high-quality natural and cultural resources while enhancing the region’s economic viability. It is a public-private partnership between DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and has grown into a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the South Mountain landscape.

South Mountain is at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Communities in the 400,000-acre region have thrived off fertile limestone agricultural lands, the timber that fed iron furnaces, plentiful game and wildlife, and abundant pure spring water that is captured by the mountains’ permeable soils and released into the valleys.

The 2014 Season of the South Mountain Speakers Series Kicks Off on March 27th with a look at the Forests of South Mountain



The fifth season of the South Mountain Speakers Series will begin Thursday, March 27, at Penn State Mont Alto, with a talk on the history, diversity and current management of the forest resource in the South Mountain region.
  
This event, "The Rothrock Legacy: A Forum on the Past and Current Conditions of Penn’s Woods,” will be held at 7 p.m. at the General Studies Auditorium at the Penn State Mont Alto campus, Franklin County.  It is free and open to the public.

“During the last 130 years the region’s cut and burned over forest landscape has been transformed into a patchwork mosaic of fertile agricultural valleys and shady wooded ridges,” said Jon Peterson, an environmental planner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the lead of the South Mountain Partnership.  “The lecture will explore the past, present and future of forestry in the South Mountain region.”

The forum will include retired USDA Forest Service forester Joe Barnard, who will provide a summary of how Joseph Rothrock’s passion led to the protection of thousands of acres of Pennsylvania’s now productive hardwood forest, as well as the establishment of Pennsylvania’s Forestry School at Mont Alto.

DCNR Assistant State Forester Matt Keefer will detail today’s current condition of south central Pennsylvania’s forests and outline the opportunities and threats to the current day-to-day management of the region’s private and public forests.

Nancy Baker, a private forest landowner, will provide a case history of 163-acre woodland she owns and manages. The first timber harvest on this forest land was conducted by her great grandfather in the 1860s. Baker’s forest is used today to demonstrate a professionally developed and implemented Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Plan and it was the first Pennsylvania property accepted into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed’s Forestry for the Bay Program.

A question-and-answer session will follow the three presentations.

This lecture is supported by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and the Penn State Mont Alto Forestry Club.

The annual South Mountain Speakers Series is organized by the South Mountain Partnership and is envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania’s forests and natural landscape. The fifth season of the Speakers Series is sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.

The South Mountain Partnership was sparked by DCNR’s effort to engage communities, local partners and state agencies and identify funding opportunities to conserve high-quality natural and cultural resources while enhancing the region’s economic viability. It is a public-private partnership between DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and has grown into a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the South Mountain landscape.


South Mountain is at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Communities in the 400,000-acre region have thrived off fertile limestone agricultural lands, the timber that fed iron furnaces, plentiful game and wildlife, and abundant pure spring water that is captured by the mountains’ permeable soils and released into the valleys.