Hiking Around Midstate PA: A community blog

Explore hiking trails, environmental issues, recreational funding challenges and trail maintenance in Central Pennsylvania with Jim Foster.

White Rocks Project Honored as Keystone Fund's Conservation Project Of The Year

Written by Jim Foster, Community blogger | Mar 19, 2013 7:13 PM
(l to r) Mike Piaskowski, DCNR; Karen Lutz, Appalachian Trail Conservancy; Debbie Bowman, DCNR

(l to r) Mike Piaskowski, DCNR; Debbie Bowman, DCED; Karen Lutz, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The White Rocks Project has been honored as the Conservation Project of the year by the Keystone Fund.  This award was part of a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund held in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on March 18.

The White Rocks Project acquired five parcels comprising a total of 850 acres which are contiguous to lands acquired by the National Park Service for the protection of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, commonly known as the Appalachian Trail.  Extending 2,184 miles from Maine to Georgia, The Appalachian Trail is the nation’s best known and most heavily used long distance hiking path.  The five parcels are located along South Mountain in Cumberland County.  These lands are an important recreational and ecological resource in central Pennsylvania.  Perhaps the most significant value is the spectacular viewshed and habitat of unbroken mixed eastern forest on the south side and limestone rich productive agricultural lands to the north.  The White Rocks quartzite ridge has been identified as a geologic heritage site. These lands also serve to recharge the community's drinking water and the high quality cold water fishery of the Yellow Breeches Creek.  The White Rocks Trail provides a very popular outdoor recreational resource for hikers, birders, and rock climbers.

The White Rocks Project was a unique project involving several public and private partners.  Public partners include the National Park Service, Pennsylvania DCNR's Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, and the Cumberland County Planning Department. The primary non-governmental partners are the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club, Mountain Club of Maryland, and Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club.

The lead partner for the project was the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the primary steward of the Appalachian Trail.  In particular, the project was led by Karen Lutz, Director of ATC’s Mid-Atlantic Region, with offices in Boiling Springs, PA.  Karen accepted the award on behalf of the Project’s partners.

The Keystone Fund was established in 1993 by the Pennsylvania Legislature, with funding coming from 15% of the State's realty transfer tax.  For two decades, the Keystone Fund has consistently delivered tangible and lasting results, helping communities to forever protect new parkland, natural areas and other greenspaces important to them, as well as funding local libraries and preserving Pennsylvania's historical landmarks, structures and museums.

Follow THIS LINK for a slideshow of the ceremony.  Follow THIS LINK for more information on the White Rocks Project.

Published in Hiking Around Midstate PA and Beyond: A community blog

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