Photo by Noah Shatzer

Cultural Landscape Assessment

The South Mountain Cultural Heritage Plan is a long-range project to develop a regional plan for defining, interpreting, and sharing the South Mountain landscape’s major historical contexts or narratives. The project is intended to:

  • Greatly increase the knowledge and understanding of the presence and importance of the cultural resources in the region at a landscape level;
  • Provide information about the cultural resources for tourism and education materials to interpret and share the narratives about the region’s history more widely;
  • Ensure the preservation of important cultural resources while providing public access to them.


Michaux State Forest Cultural Landscape Assessment


Cultural Landscape Assessment for Michaux State Forest


Our collective understanding of heritage has expanded – from single monuments and sites to broad landscapes. This study shows that all parts  of the South Mountain landscape are alive with cultural/historic meaning. Knowing this moves the focus away from just objects and sites toward the entire landscape.

Cultural landscapes are distinctive landscapes that have been shaped by humans through the conscious or unconscious manipulation of natural systems. Cultural landscapes offer a lens through which to consider how people have adapted to and changed the landscapes upon which they live, and thus can reflect social and cultural attitudes of individuals and communities; a comprehensive understanding of such landscapes can be central to understanding how we have gotten to where we are today, both physically on the landscape and culturally within communities.

Coming soon is a fun and useful summary document! We will then begin to explore recommendations set forth through this document.

The South Mountain Partnership received funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Community Conservation Partnerships Program) and the PA Historical and Museaum Commission (Keystone Fund, State Historic Preservation Office) to launch this initial phase of the Cultural Heritage Plan: a cultural landscape assessment of the Michaux State Forest. The document is now available via the above link.

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