Welcome to the South Mountain Partnership

The South Mountain Partnership has a new web site!! Please visit http://www.southmountainpartnership.org. The South Mountain blog will continue to be hosted at http://southmountaincli.blogspot.com


The Partnership would like to recognize annually partners and projects that significantly and positively impacted the South Mountain region by contributing to its sense of place through promoting or conserving its natural and cultural assets. We especially looked and asked for nomination for those that leveraged partnering and made it a key to their success. We call this “The Power of the Partnership” award.

This award goes to what we like to call the “dream team of Partnerships”. This is the Pine Grove Furnace team which being recognized for their outstanding partnership activities that directly support the vision of the South Mountain Partnership. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, located at the mid-way point of the Appalachian Trail is nestled in Michaux State Forest and has been a conduit for other important projects of interest.

The Partnership have played collaborative roles in supporting Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the Cumberland County Historical Society for Camp Michaux, Central Pennsylvania Conservancy for the Iron Master’s Mansion and the AT Museum. Together, they have become a regional hub for tourism. The addition of these three incredibly rich heritage sites, and the Friends Group, is exactly what the South Mountain Partnership is all about. This partnership’s cumulative efforts promotes local agriculture through educational programs; promotes and preserves cultural heritage, conserves natural resources, promotes and develops recreational opportunities and develops business and tourism opportunities for over 500,000 visitors. 

In addition to offering biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, camping, and hunting to area residents and outdoor lovers -
Pine Grove Furnace State Park has been the logical destination to incubate and nurture new assets for the next generation to enjoy. These assets include: 

· The AT Museum – the country’s only museum dedicated to hiking and the history of the Appalachian Trail. The AT Museum has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cumberland Valley and due to the incredible media attention; attendance over the past two seasons has exceeded 15,000. The museum honors men and women who hike the trail; it honors the volunteer network that works to maintain the AT. Had Larry Luxenberg and the many volunteers not partnered with DCNR to “save” the old Mill – this aging building would have remained boarded up and closed.

The Ironmaster’s Mansion – the recently renovated Mansion on the grounds that is open to hostel overnights, groups, meetings and weddings just completed its first season. Prior to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy’s lease arrangement with DCNR and Deb Bowman’s willingness to take the challenge head on; this beautiful old mansion had fallen into such a bad state of repair that it had to be shuttered. Rather than walk away from a problem; the CPC and Deb Bowman with the assistance of thousands of hours of donated time and money; worked for a year to renovate the Mansion. This beautiful aging structure that has so much South Mountain history is supporting hiker overnight stays, youth group educational programs and activities and weddings.
· Camp Michaux – A late 18th, 19th, and early 20th century farm that was part of the iron industrial complex known as Bunker Hill and later a CCC camp until 1942, followed by a German POW interrogation center until 1946 and finally a church camp until 1972. Fallen into disrepair and torn down by the State with just a few remnants of its past; the average visitor to the area had no idea what lay under the vines and brush. Had it not been for the commitment and leadership David Smith and the Cumberland County Historical Society’s willingness to work in partnership with Michaux State Forester Roy Brubaker, Cooke Township, the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Zion United Church of Christ in Arendtsville and others – this heritage area would have continued to be one of the South Mountain’s secrets. Through strong partnering and a South Mountain grant, this team was successful in getting approvals to add the site to the National Historic Register of Historic Places. Walking tours have been developed and visitors can now explore this rich heritage, cultural and recreation area with or without a guide.

The Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park
exists to keep history alive and promote the educational and recreational programs of the park and surrounding areas through special events and trail development while protecting the park’s natural resources. Chaired by Mary Calderelli and established in 2010, the Friends Group played a major role in this year’s highly successful Furnace Fest.

Accepting the award, on behalf of these organizations were:

Jason Zimmerman, Larry Luxenberg, Debra Bowman, Bill Breen, and David Smith