Photo by Loy Elliott

Past Workshops

2020 South Mountain Watershed Workshop: Municipalities and Watershed Groups Working Together for Greater Impact

January 9, 2020

Download materials from the January 9 Watershed Workshop here: WIP Overview Presentation by Elizabeth Grant of Cumberland County Planning Department, Franklin County Conservation District WIP Slides by Tammy Piper, Watershed Specialist for the District (also there was Lori Glace, Watershed Specialist for Cumberland County Conservation District), MS4 Overview and Workgroup Presentation by Rebecca Davis of Lower Allen Township and Kelly Kurtas of South Middleton Township, Chambersburg MS4 Presentation by Phil Wolgemuth and Andy Stottlemyer of the Borough of Chambersburg, CCWA and East Pennsboro Twn Partnership Presentation by Lisa Beatty of the Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association and Ed Myers of East Pennsboro Township, and MacWell Partnership Presentation by Claudia Peet, board member for the Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness (MACWell).   Watershed groups across the South Mountain region have made great strides in protecting and improving water quality, keeping riparian areas as green space, and raising awareness about the importance of our rivers and streams. When these groups work collaboratively with their local municipalities, the impact of these partnerships magnifies the results and ensures longevity of the projects. That is why Capital RC&D and ALLARM partnered with the South Mountain Partnership to organize a FREE half-day work-shop on January 9 from 2 to 6 pm at Dickinson College. This free workshop was open to members of watershed groups in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties, as well as staff from municipalities in those counties. Approximately 48 attendees heard from several watershed groups and municipal staff in the region about how they work effectively together on watershed protection efforts.

2019 Watershed Groups Working with Municipalities for Greater Impact

March 16, 2019

Download materials from the March 16, 2019 Watershed Workshop here: Johnston Run Revitalization Council presentation, Yellow Breeches Watershed Association presentation, and Watershed Alliance of Adams County presentation Watershed groups across the South Mountain region have made great strides in protecting and improving water quality, keeping riparian areas as green space, and raising awareness about the importance of our rivers and streams. When these groups work collaboratively with their local municipalities, the impact of these partnerships magnifies the results and ensures longevity of the projects. That is why Capital RC&D partnered with the South Mountain Partnership to organize a FREE half-day work-shop on Saturday, March 16 from 9:00 am to noon at the Adams County Conservation District Office. This free workshop was open to members of watershed groups in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties, as well as staff from municipalities in those counties. Approximately 40 attendees heard from several watershed groups in the region about how they work effectively with their local municipalities on watershed protection efforts, and learn about potential funding opportunities from the South Mountain Partnership.

2019 Tri-County Watershed Association Meeting

December 3, 2019

Download presentations from the event here: 2019 Tri-County Watershed Association Meeting Presentations All handouts from the event can be accessed at

2018 South Mountain Partnership Trails Workshop

November 20, 2018

Download materials from the 2018 Trails Workshop here: Keynote Presentations – Keynote Presentation - Benefit of Trails; Bike Friendly Communities Panel – Bike Friendly York presentation, Harrisburg Bike Share presentation, and Camp Hill Bike Friendly Community presentation; Trail Case Study Panel – 911 Trail presentation, PEC trail case studies presentation, and Washington Township Trails presentation; Lunch Presentation – Michaux State Forest and transcript; Working with PennDOT presentation and handout 1 on funding and 2 on planning and design; Volunteer Management presentation; Trail User Studies presentation; Cumberland Valley Rail Trail presentation; Building Municipal Support for Trails presentation; and Capital Greenbelt presentation. On November 20, 2018, more than 100 people gathered at Shippensburg University to learn about hiking and biking trail design and maintenance, how to garner support for new trails, how to motivate volunteers, and so much more. Attendees came from across the South Mountain region and beyond, and represented a wide variety of organizations such as municipal and state governments, trail-related nonprofits, design and engineering firms, and retirees who love working on trails – to name but a few. This workshop was part of a capacity grant from the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, Chesapeake Bay Trust, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Program to expand and enhance the work of the South Mountain Partnership. The event was planned in coordination with planning departments from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Environmental Council, the Center for Land Use & Sustainability at Shippensburg University, and Capital RC&D. Because of the great success of the event, we plan to organize a new trails workshop every 3 years or so… stay tuned for more details in 2020!

2017 South Mountain Outdoor Health Provider Roundtable

August 22, 2017

Download materials from the August 22, 2017 Outdoor Health Roundtable here: Why is Outdoor Recreation Good for You? presentation, "Ready, Set, Fit" Health and Wellness App presentation, Notes from South Mountain Outdoor Health Summit, Get Health in the Outdoors infographic, What Does Volunteering Do for ME? infographic, Forest Bathing/Biophilia Effect article, Lyme Disease & Tick Disease Prevention infographic, Outdoor Recreation and Health Web Resources list.

Doctors in Philadelphia are prescribing time in parks to children. A world-class athlete in Wyoming takes those addicted to opioids outdoors. Doctors at Geisinger Health created a pilot project to prescribe outdoor activity rather than pain medications before and after surgery. Why? Because, as you may probably know, outdoor activity has so many benefits to physical and mental health!

A recent Penn State University study found that more than 70% of Pennsylvania residents consider parks, trails, and open space to be a critical part of the health care system.
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, with support from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and in partnership with the Department of Health, the South Mountain Partnership, and the Partnership for Better Health, coordinated the:
South Mountain Health Summit - The Benefits of Being Active Outdoors
August 22, 2017 from 7:00am -9:00 am 
at Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau
at Carlisle, PA
During this event, input was gathered from health care providers to better inform our efforts to connect outdoor physical activity and health and to make it easier for health care providers to promote outdoor physical activity to patients. 
The free 2-hour forum brought together health care providers and outdoor recreation professionals to discuss the connection between outdoor physical activity and health. Their participation in this summit will help us to craft resources for the health care industry to make it easier for them to promote outdoor physical activity to patients.
  Interested in learning more? Sign up now to learn more about leveraging your work to reach new audiences and have deeper impact by understanding your work’s contribution to important health and wellness outcomes.

2015 Go Local for Health: Understanding Natural, Agricultural, and Built Environments as a Front Line of Community Wellness

May 1st, 2015 - Allenberry Resort Inn & Playhouse

Download the 2015 "Go Local for Health" Program  Over the past five years, the South Mountain Partnership has explored the concept of health and wellness as a point of integration for many of its priorities, including open space and outdoor recreation, agriculture and local food, and community design and built infrastructure. In two previous region-wide Summits, the significant momentum has built around exploring the intersection and integration of these topics, and in understanding how diverse, non-traditional partners can collaborate to advance outcomes that benefit local residents and the landscape in which we live. This third "Go Local for Health" Community Wellness Summit convened more than 80 different partners and community members for a day-long discussion centered around the integration of health and wellness within three tracks: outdoor recreation, local food systems, and community design. Dr. William Sullivan (Professor of Landscape Architecture) structured the day's conversation with an inspiring and insightful presentation on the impacts that access and views of the outdoors and natural spaces have on individuals’ abilities to focus attention and handle stress. The morning plenary session highlighted two case studies from the local landscape – one from an urban setting (Eat, Play, Breathe York) and one from a rural setting (Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness) – to explore comprehensive, integrative efforts to consider how our surroundings impact health and wellness. Breakout sessions structured around the three tracks– outdoor recreation & physical activity, local food & healthy nutrition, and community design & the built environment – brought participants deeper into specific topics. The Summit was supported by lead partner Partnership for Better Health. Additional funding was provided by Summit Health and by a grant from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program funded through the Federal Highway Administration. Download the 2015 "Go Local for Health" Program

2013: Go Local for Health: Improving Connection to make Health a Community Conversation

October 2, 2013 – Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center

Building on the momentum that emerged out of the 2012 Go Local for Health Summit, the South Mountain Partnership convened a second summit. Bringing together more than 80 participants, the South Mountain Partnership hosted dialogue around shifting our understanding of health to be a proactive, comprehensive approach to healthy lifestyles and wellness. The Summit sought to identify priorities and needs in communities across the region, and share innovate approaches and lessons learned, and make connections and new collaborations to elevate the work that we are all doing to ensure the future of the place we live remains healthy and happy. The morning’s plenary session featured representatives from the five local non-profit hospitals operating in the South Mountain landscape. As part of the Affordable Care Act, non-profit hospitals must now complete Community Health Needs Assessments every three years; these representatives introduced the process. The concluding session was a Funders panel discussion, in which funders engaged in a discussion on funder priorities and how to think about funding collaborative community approaches to health and wellness. Click here to view the Summit’s Program. Sponsors: Carlisle Area Health & Wellness Foundation, Summit Health, WellSpan Health, PA DCNR, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

2012: Go Local for Health: Affordable Recreation and Food Opportunities

September 18th, 2012 – Gettysburg Hotel

The first Go Local for Health was a regional summit that sought to unite community leaders, stakeholders, and the general public on the issue of affordable and accessible healthy eating and recreation opportunities in south central Pennsylvania. The summit brought together 140 diverse partners to focus on issues of walkability, recreation and access to the outdoors, and how these are components of a comprehensive look at the region’s health. Click here to view the Summit Program. Sponsors: Healthy Adams County, Inc., Gettysburg Hospital Foundation, WellSpan Health, Heathy York County Coalition, Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation, MACWell, Healthy Community Partnerships.

Reinventing the Commercial Corridor

September 22, 2011

Randall Arendt (the Natural Lands Trust) facilitated a “Reinventing the Commercial Corridor” workshop to highlight practical ways of reclaiming existing commercial highway strip centers. The workshop brought together 35 partners and featured both a general educational presentation and a participatory, hands-on exercise. Arendt’s presentation focused on highlighting progressive approaches that emphasize various redevelopment design strategies to create mixed-use centers from existing highway strips. The design exercise following the presentation allowed partners to begin to experiment with implementing the new approaches to consider how to retrofit an existing section of degraded commercial highway strip. The workshop sought to help communities envision how to implement smarter, more sustainable development patterns and introduce ideas for improving economic viability and attractiveness of communities and transportation corridors in the South Mountain landscape. Click here to download the Reinventing the Commercial Corridor informational brochure. The Reinventing the Commercial Corridor workshop was sponsored by the following organizations: PA DCNR, PA DCED, Adams County Office of Planning & Development, C.S. Davidson, Inc., Shippensburg University, Natural Lands Trust, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Franklin County Planning Commission, Cumberland County Planning Go Local for Health The South Mountain Partnership sees many of its priorities and interests – open space, outdoor recreation, thriving agriculture, and livable communities – intersecting in the concept of health and wellness. As such, the Partnership has endeavored to build non-traditional collaborations around this theme of health and wellness, and has hosted a series of regional wellness summits – Go Local for Health. Why health? It has been traditionally considered a topic of conversation between a patient and a healthcare professional, and one to start only after symptoms appear. Yet our surroundings, the environments in which we live, and the decisions and choices we make in our daily lives have a huge impact on our individual and community health. In short, the issues that the Partnership prioritizes also help to inform individual and community health. An initial Go Local for Health summit was held in 2012, and second followed in 2013.

South Mountain Regional Trail Summit

November 3, 2010

The South Mountain Trail Summit convened a focused conversation on greenways and trails in the South Mountain landscape. Held in Carlisle, PA and drawing more than 120 participants, the summit was designed to engage, educate, and solicit support on efforts to advance the quality and connectivity of current and proposed trails. Following a “state of trails” overview of trails within the South Mountain region, the Summit highlighted the demonstrable benefit of trails to communities, explained the nuts and bolts of trail development for communities, helped communities better understand trail needs, and showcased successful case studies from the region. The afternoon session was dedicated to a Trail Mapping Session facilitated by Bob Thomas of Campbell Thomas & Co. This exercise enabled an inventory of existing trails, as well as trails proposed or in development. The exercise also identified the key regional links (existing and/or proposed) within the South Mountain landscape. Finally, the exercise promoted discussion about major challenges facing the proposed trail projects, and concluded by prioritizing key projects throughout the region. The South Mountain Trail Summit was made possible by the support of the following entities: Platinum Sponsor: Rettew Gold Sponsor: C.S. Davidson, Inc. Silver Sponsor: Carlisle Area Health & Wellness Foundation Additional Sponsors: PA DCNR, Appalachian Trail Conservnacy, Cumberland County Planning Department, Penn Trails, Inc., Campbell Thomas & Co., Healthy Adams Bicycle and Pedestrian, Inc. Franklin County Planning Commission, Adams County Office of Planning & Department The following presentations from the South Mountain Trail Summit are available Cindy Dunn –The State of the Region’s Trails (keynote address) Robert Thomas – Planning: Trail Feasibility Studies and Issues to Think About Jim Caldwell – Municipal Planning Tools for Trail Development Mike Piaskowski and Alex MacDonald – Finding Funding for Your Trail Project Chris Houston – Carlisle Case Study: Urban Greenway Plan Steve Hietsch – Carlisle Case Study: The Road Diet Andrea Crouse – Cumberland Valley Trail Connections Case Study Susan Naugle – The Gettysburg Inner Loop Case Study

Balancing Nature and Commerce

April 13-14th, 2010

The South Mountain Partnership partnered with The Conservation Fund to conduct a “Balancing Nature and Commerce” workshops for the South Mountain region. The Conservation Fund’s Balancing Nature and Commerce program has been refined over the last 15 years to help communities find solutions for both conservation and economic development goals. In addition to general national workshops on the topic, TCF offers place-based workshops to focus on creating economic, community character, natural resources and partnership-building solutions and action plans for tackling specific sustainable community challenges and opportunities. The two-day place-based South Mountain Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop was held at the Allenberry Resort Inn & Playhouse and brought together community leaders to explore significant issues facing communities and/or projects that are working to balance community and economic development with preserving the natural beauty and heritage in the South Mountain landscape. Session themes focused on how to advantage of natural, recreational and scenic assets to enhance local economies and maintain the heritage and character of communities. The South Mountain workshop was project-oriented and the Partnership asked required teams to submit applications to participate. Teams consisted of 4 to 8 individuals that were collaborating on a project related to a specific community, important agricultural resources, recreational areas, threatened natural or heritage resources, a travel corridor or some other unifying element. Through case studies, presentations, exercises and work sessions, each team developed a work plan to help guide implementation of the project or community revitalization effort. Eight teams were invited to participate in the South Mountain Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop:

  • The Battle of Monterey PassGoal: Preserving and interpreting an important but little-known Civil War site in Washington Township, Franklin County.
  • Enhancing Trail Opportunities in South MountainGoal: Partnering with Michaux State Forest, volunteers, and others to improve the region’s trail network.
  • The Village of Boiling Springs Goal: Enhancing the village as a destination and as a wonderful community to live by enhancing and promoting the community’s natural and cultural assets.
  • Adams County Fruit BeltGoal: Maintaining economic viability of local orchards and farms in Adams County through promotion of the South Mountain Fruit Belt and collaboration with the business and environmental community.
  • Cumberland County Partners for Excellence in AgricultureGoal: Continue to highlight agriculture as a major driver of economic development within the county and to maintain a competitive position for the county’s agricultural products in the global economy.
  • The Annual South Mountain Hike-Bike FestivalGoal: Develop an annual festival that will serve to enhance and link import economic, recreational, cultural, and natural assets throughout the South Mountain landscape.
  • Camp MichauxGoal: To convene stakeholders in collaboration around promoting, preserving, and interpreting an important historic site with the Michaux State Forest that served as both a CCC camp and as a secret World War II P.O.W. interrogation camp.
  • Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Goal: Develop a formalized action plan to extend the rail tail north into Carlisle from its current Newville terminus.
Click here to download the Balancing Nature and Commerce brochure.

The South Mountain Summit

February 19th, 2010

The South Mountain Summit formally introduced the South Mountain Partnership as part of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Conservation Landscape Initiative. Held at the Mount Asbury Conference Center in Newville, the Summit brought together more than 130 individuals, representing partner organizations, local officials, community leaders and business owners to highlight:

  • Why the South Mountain region is critically important to the communities within and around it – and in particular, how the region’s unique natural and cultural assets undergird our economic vitality and quality of life.
  • How the South Mountain Partnership is emerging as an effort of a wide variety of organizations working together to preserve and promote the region’s assets and sense of place.
  • What opportunities exist for collaboration amongst organizations in defining the actions that will continue to support that conservation of the region’s natural and cultural resources and enhance the region’s economic vitality.
DCNR Acting Secretary John Quigley opened the session by describing DCNR’s Conservation Landscape Initiative: “With its fertile farmlands, clean waterways, renowned trout streams and vast woodlands, the more than 400,000-acre South Mountain region is truly blessed. This summit help[ed] leaders discover the natural and cultural assets of the region and learn why they are important to the local economy; learn about the partnership working to promote the region’s assets; and share their thoughts on what future actions will be crucial to the economic vitality of the region and its sense of place.” Click here to download the summit brochure.

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