Photo by Loy Elliott
WHITE ROCKS LAND ACQUISITION
The South Mountain Partnership, and many of its partners, played a critical role facilitating the 2011 acquisition of 850 acres of land along the South Mountain ridge line in Monroe and South Middleton townships, Cumberland County.
In fact, the White Rocks project was an initial focusing element and goal that solidified the collaboration that allowed the South Mountain Partnership to take form. This project too was a major success that built momentum and credibility for the Partnership’s vision.
The White Rocks acquisition was two decades in the making. The National Park Service acquired four parcels within Cumberland County in the late 1980s and early 90s (300 acres) to protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail corridor. In 2006 Penn Products, the original landowner, proposed developing 274 homes adjacent to the A.T. corridor on five remaining parcels. Well-attended public meetings underscored public opposition to this proposal, and in 2009 Penn Products approached the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy to discuss a conservation sale. A strong group of partners emerged: the Appalachian Trail Conservancy negotiated the acquisition, with the National Park Service – Appalachian Trail Park Office becoming owner of the protected lands. Other partners included the DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, the Cumberland County Planning Department, Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club, Mountain Club of Maryland, and Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club. Thanks in large part to the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and DCNR’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the $3.2 million acquisition closed in 2011. Today White Rocks remains an unbroken swath of forest that preserves stunning views, critical wildlife habitat, sources of drinking water, and outdoor recreational opportunities.
Click here for more information on the White Rocks project.
White Rocks receives Keystone 20th Anniversary Conservation Award
In March, 2013, the White Rocks Acquisition project received recognition during a celebration highlighting the 20th Anniversary of Pennsylvania’s Keystone Fund. The Keystone 20th Anniversary Awards were designed to recognize successful Keystone projects throughout the Commonwealth. The awards recognized exemplary projects in 6 categories: library, recreation, trail, historic preservation, state park, and conservation. The White Rocks Acquisition project received the award for the conservation category.
About the Keystone Fund: The Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund is a critical dedicated funding source for recreation and conservation projects, libraries, historic preservation initiatives and higher education. Established in 1993 with an overwhelmingly approved voter referendum, a 48-0 vote in the Pennsylvania Senate and a 196-3 vote in the House, the Keystone Fund automatically receives 15 percent of the state’s realty transfer tax. Since its establishment, the fund has helped conserve more than 130,000 acres of green space, supported more than 1,900 park projects, and funded 570 historic preservation projects and more than 200 library projects.