The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) would like to announce 10 South Mountain Partnership mini-grant awards that will help support development of heritage tourism and conservation projects in the South Mountain region totaling more than $204,000. All grants are fully matched by grantees and partnering organizations at the local level, thus leveraging other funding to develop new projects and programming consistent with the South Mountain Partnership goals of preserving and promoting natural and cultural assets.
The grant awards, administered by the ATC and funded by state and federal dollars through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as part of their Conservation Landscape Initiatives program. This year’s projects focus on increased access to community and regional trails, development of new tools to promote tourism, preservation of natural and historical assets, and support for the region's agricultural legacy and local food systems. These many facets of the region's heritage earned the South Mountain region spanning Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and northern York Counties a state designation as one of DCNR’s Conservation Landscape Initiatives in 2008.
“This round of the grant program, now in its third year, saw a very competitive pool of applicants which allowed us to award many strong “nexus” projects overlapping multiple South Mountain Partnership goals that contribute to the region’s sense of place and promote our assets,” stated
Kim Williams, Environmental Planner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is very excited to see a number of diverse partners from the public and private sectors collaborating on projects that address shared goals across interests groups. We see this type of collaboration as an indication successful long term relationships developing through participation in the South Mountain Partnership.”
The 10 awards given as part of the 2011-2012 South Mountain Mini-Grant round include:
· $3,000 to Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council for development of interpretive panels highlighting the trail corridor’s civil war and agricultural history.
· $6,000 to the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club for development of a formal parking area and interpretive signage at the Appalachian Trail’s Trindle Rd. trailhead.
· $2,500 to Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park for a Biodiversity Restoration project aimed at restoring native plant species to the historical areas of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
· $4,500 to Cumberland County Historical Society for development of a major three-part exhibition entitled “Pine Grove: A Lasting Legacy.”
· $15,000 to Greene Township (Franklin Co.) for a trail feasibility study exploring connections between Chambersburg Borough Rail Trail and Caledonia State Park.
· $11,500 to the Borough of Gettysburg for widening and resurfacing an initial segment of the Gettysburg Inner Loop (GIL) bicycle trail aimed at providing alternative transportation options between historical attractions, community amenities and the downtown business district.
· $30,000 to the Appalachian Trail Museum for construction of a handicap accessible walkway to the soon-to-be rehabilitated lower level focusing on exhibits and programming for children.
· $11,000 to the Franklin County Visitors Bureau for development of a self-service mobile “tour guide” application representing the four-county South Mountain region to engage visitors to experience the historical, recreational, cultural, natural, and agricultural assets.
· $2,500 to Shippensburg University for a detailed user count and demographic survey along the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.
· $2,500 to Healthy Adams County for development of a South Mountain Food Security Symposium and follow-up workshop.
The South Mountain Partnership Mini-Grant Program has been developed and overseen by the ATC since 2009. Since its inception, $188,600 in grants have been awarded with almost $390,00 in grantee’s match.
The ATC and DCNR lead the South Mountain Partnership, an alliance of the private and public sector, non-profits, universities, and local citizens. The Partnership identifies its key role as being a regional facilitator and leader in projects that preserve and promote the natural and cultural assets of the region. The ATC was chosen to be the lead of the Partnership because of its local roots and extensive conservation work across Pennsylvania and especially in Central Pennsylvania.
Funds come from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership’s Program, derived from both the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener 1) and the Growing Greener Bond Fund (growing Greener 2), and several federal funding sources.
More information on the South Mountain Partnership and the Mini-Grant program are available at http://southmountaingrant.blogspot.com/