Stay up to date on CPC's current projects, programs, and events!
The South Mountain Trolley Greenway is a proposed 8-mile trail following the former Cumberland Valley Railroad corridor between Dillsburg and Mechanicsburg, and would cross the Cumberland County municipalities of Mechanicsburg Borough and Monroe and Silver Spring townships, and the York County municipalities of Dillsburg Borough and Carroll Township. 

The greenway was first identified as the Trolley Line Greenway in the Cumberland Countywide Greenway Study (2000) and the Northern York Region Comprehensive Recreation, Parks & Open Space Plan (2005). The Friends of the South Mountain Trolley Greenway formally mobilized this spring with the mission to generate community support for the trail, advance the trail planning effort, and conduct direct outreach to landowners to secure trail easements and generally to support the trail's establishment. The result will bring needed recreation opportunities to local residents, a renewed sense of place and community, and an appreciation for the unique historical, ecological, agricultural, and economic values of the South Mountain region.

CPC has participated on the study committee for the initial feasibility study and is working together with the Friends of South Mountain Trolley Greenway as a partner in this effort. By virtue of its function as a local land trust, CPC may serve as a holder of the trail easement agreements with landowners. While CPC is unlikely to be the entity to construct and manage the trail, it strongly supports the planning and outreach effort and securing and holding the trail easements.  

“Greenways offer unique open space conservation opportunities that can enable broader appreciation of and interaction with this region’s natural and historic landscapes. We’re really fortunate and thankful to be able to partner with an organization like CPC at this critical early stage of the trail’s development,” said David Maher, a Cumberland County resident who has been spearheading the Greenway effort since 2016.   

In this role, CPC has accepted the project's first trail easement for the northern trailhead at the Wertz Coal Yard property on Trindle Rd. in Mechanicsburg (pictured in the Google Earth image above). We hope this serves as an example or model for future landowner agreements. The trail corridor extends south to connect to Coover Park in Dillsburg, as the southern trailhead.
We are excited to announce that CPC, together with six partner land trusts and state agencies, is participating in a state-federal conservation easement purchase program, funded USDA's Regional Conservation Partnerships Program (RCPP), and administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

This means is that CPC is now in a position to purchase easements at a minimum of 75% of the value of the conservation easement, as determined by appraisal, to protect properties depicted in purple in the map above. You may already know that conservation easement properties remain in private ownership, and the easement restrictions run with the land during a transition of ownership. The easement permanently protects the conservation values, and the land trust monitors/enforces the primary restriction of subdivision and development, while also working with landowners to advance good stewardship of the natural resource values.

CPC is conducting outreach to landowners this summer and will submit projects for funding by October 1st. If you own property within the Kittatinny Landscape (within CPC's service area of Franklin, Cumberland, Perry, or Dauphin counties), and are interested or know someone interested in participating, please contact CPC's Director of Land Protection and Stewardship, Ben Mummert, for further information.
There is still time to register for the September 26th, Ironmaster's Challenge 15k & 50k Trail Runs! Spaces are filling up fast, and fees will increase on July 1st, 2021, so reserve your space today! The event offers two challenging and engaging trail adventures this fall at Pine Grove Furnance State Park and Michaux State Forest. The trails range from single track to rail trails to jeep roads through the beautiful and rugged public lands of the South Mountain landscape.

Register for the 2021 Ironmaster's Challenge. For more information, please see our 2021 race flyer.

CPC is hosting this event with the support of several integral partners, including the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club, the Keystone VHF Club of York, Pretzel City Sports professional timers, the Penn Township Fire Company, Yellow Breeches EMS, and our event sponsors and vendors. Click here for additional information on sponsorship opportunities. Our lead sponsors to date include F&M Trust, Boles, Metzger, Brosius & Walbourn, Select Medical, Hershey Company, and West Shore Family Dentistry.
*The 50k ($75 fee before July 1) starts at 7:30 am, with check-in at 6:30 am
*The 15k ($45 fee before July 1) starts at 9:00 am with registration at 8 am

The entry fee covers a light breakfast, snacks and drinks at each Check Point; a bagged lunch with a vegetarian option at the finishline picnic; free beer, ice tea or lemonade; an event t-shirt; and a finisher’s prize for the 50k only.

An award ceremony will recognize Overall Winners plus 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Places in 5 age categories.

Sign up now before the event fills up~we look forward to seeing you tackle these trails in September! Thank you for your participation and support of this event. All proceeds directly support the programs and operations of Central PA Conservancy, a nonprofit charitable land trust with a mission to acquire, preserve and protect local land and natural resources through land acquisition, conservation easements, and outreach.
On April 7th, CPC board members and staff met with Larry Weaner Landscape Associates (LWLA) for a site visit at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve. LWLA is an esteemed organization celebrated internationally for their pioneering use of native plants in landscape design, recently recognized by the American Horticulture Society with the 2021 Landscape Design Award.

Proposed focus areas for LWLA include the Preserve entrances, parking areas at South Spring Garden Street and the Union Quarries scale yard, the Heisers Lane trail extension, and around the Melester Barn and springhouse.

Tasteful, floriferous, native plantings in these key areas will act as beacons to visitors, signaling they've arrived at the Preserve and that CPC is intentionally promoting native habitats and natural processes. Leaning on LWLA's expertise to beautify the Heisers Lane trail extension and in the Union Quarries scale yard will evidence our commitment to this landscape to our neighbors and partners and provide visitors with unique experiences that change from season to season and year to year.

Larry Weaner, LWLA's founder, has published several popular books on sustainable landscape designs with native plants, such as Garden Revolution: How Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change. LWLA's work supports their non-profit, New Directions in the American Landscape, which hosts an annual symposium and promotes educational programming in ecological landscape design.

This work is part of a 3-year, park improvement project, funded by PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Historical and Museum Commission, and Cumberland County's Land Partnerships Program. We are grateful for this opportunity to create an easily accessible, natural place restored to serve critical ecological functions, together with serving public recreation needs, and protecting local history and heritage for future generations.
Family and friends gathered at the Letort Spring Garden Preserve on May 15th to commemorate the life of CPC board member, career environmental attorney at DEP, and beloved family man, Mike Sokolow.

By placing the bench, we remember Mike, a friend and colleague who served his community and was a mentor and model for many young environmental lawyers working for DEP. Current CPC Board Member, John Carroll, originally hired Mike at DEP in 1986, noting that he "helped foster the esprit de corps which made defending the environment a lifelong endeavor." Mike lost his battle with cancer on September 20, 2020, at the age of 72. Mike always liked a good bench, and now, all may enjoy this peaceful spot surrounded by native plants and a protected wetland preserve.
Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)
Prof. Gene Wingert & Co. amid wildflowers
Susquehanna Trillium (Trillium erectum x flexipes)
On April 16th, CPC members and supporters joined Dickinson ecologist Gene Wingert for a wildflower walk at CPC's Pine Hill Arboretum conservation easement.
Wingert, who has championed the Arboretum for decades and maintains a long-term research project there documenting wildflower phenology, engaged participants with fascinating information on the unique life histories of each species, their importance as food sources for pollinators, and the origin and history of the Arboretum.

Valuable supplementary information was shared by Larry Klotz (Prof. Emeritus at Shippensburg Univ.), Jane Earle (retired biologist with DEP), and Rocky Gleason (retired ecologist with the PA Natural Heritage Program).

We hope this can become an annual spring event that is complemented by volunteer workdays in the off-season to control invasive plants there and promote the remarkable native plant diversity that makes this site so special.
This June, the Friends of Fort Halifax are collaborating with Juniata College's Cultural Resources Institute to identify the location of Fort Halifax.

From June 13th–28th, Dr. Jonathan Burns will lead a team of 15 archaeology students that will work to determine the location of this frontier fort, believed to have stood within CPC's Ft. Halifax Park conservation easement.

Previous archaeological digs at the Park between 2011–2015 yielded artifacts that identified several likely locations where the team will focus their efforts this month. For more information, please visit the Friends of Fort Halifax Park Facebook Page and note the excellent article published this week in the Upper Dauphin Sentinel.

On-site press events and Q&As will be hosted between 10am–12pm on Friday June 18th and Friday June 24th. Fingers crossed the team can finally put this age-old question to rest!

With the buildings and structures located outside of the conservation easement, and following a recent proposal of demolition by the local municipality which owns the property, the park was recently listed by Preservation Pennsylvania as ‘At-Risk’ with the aim to support the preservation of historic structures through awareness and advocacy. CPC supports the tireless efforts of the Friends of Fort Halifax Park to restore and celebrate the rich heritage of this special place.
The PA state government is set to receive $7 billion from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan.

Call or email your senator or representative and urge them to allot $500 million or more (7%) of Rescue Plan funds to green infrastructure projects that will benefit your community now and for decades to come.

  1. Remind them of how past state investments in specific conservation, restoration, or and/or recreation projects are still benefiting your community. Without these funds, CPC projects like Waggoner's Gap, Letort Spring Garden Preserve, Windemaker Preserve in Cumberland County, additions to Boyd Big Tree Preserve, and Fort Halifax Park in Dauphin County would not have been possible.
  2. Also, explain to them that so much more can be done to help your community with a boost in state investment—whether your focus is ensuring water quality; preventing flood damage; restoring streams, wetlands, and other wildlife habitat; improving outdoor recreational opportunities, or other conservation-related efforts.

More funding means more opportunities for CPC and our partners to conserve, restore, and protect central PA's rural, historic, and wild spaces!
Save the Date! CPC will co-host a Public Dedication of the 404-acre Peters Mountain Addition to PA State Game Lands and Appalachian Trail Corridor
Join us on Friday, August 20th at 4 PM for a public dedication program celebrating this project and the many partners who collaborated to make it happen. Stay tuned for more d in a few weeks.