Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee Wraps Up 2011

Photo by Paul Zeph
This past summer, Borough Councilman Fred Lauster organized a small meeting with local trail club reps, ATC staff and a well-known Trail Angel to discuss the Borough of Duncannon applying to become an official Appalachian Trail Community 

Since that time a group of dedicated volunteers have organized to form the Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee which has logged well over 400 volunteer hours towards projects and planning aimed at raising awareness of the greater Duncannon area's natural and scenic assets and getting residents out-of-doors, enhancing Duncannon as a destination and gateway to the Appalachian Trail and various regional greenways, and positioning the Borough to benefit economically from outdoor recreation and heritage tourism. Special thanks to Fred and Event Coordinator Mary "trailangelmary" Parry for all their enthusiasm, time and hard work put towards this effort.

Committee progress and accomplishments thus far include:

Submitted an A.T. Community application having solicited 11 strong letters of support from local, County and regional organizations. 

Saw representatives from 23 organizations and community groups attending and participating in Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee monthly meetings.  See contacts page for more info.

Recruited over 150 people to Duncannon A.T. Community's facebook group and received over 1,500 hits since July on the Duncannon A.T. Community blog

Officially established an organization by obtaining a federal EIN. 

Duncannon is one of ten communities trail-wide to have an ATC-appointed A.T. Community Ambassador serving as a liaison between the community and local trail-maintaining clubs in recruiting volunteers for stewardship projects.

Supported the Borough in moving forward with Apple Tree Alleywalk implementation by raising project awareness, highlighting its importance as a pedestrian/bike path connecting businesses and historical attractions to the A.T. and communicating Mountain Club of Maryland's support for a trail re-route through the alley.

Received media coverage:
Garnered additional event promotion via partnering organizations web sites, facebook pages and community calendars:

Thus far received commitments for the designation event from 5 speakers to help commemorate the designation, 6 authors donating books for door prizes, 5 retail and information vendors, 3 items for raffle, and 4 presenters for Sat. afternoon programming - with many more looking to sign on before the January 10th commitment deadline.

Received enthusiastic commitments from the Susquenita High School and Middle School Bands as well as the High School Chorus to perform at the designation event. 

Susquenita Middle School students involved in the Trail to Every Classroom program have already submitted numerous original post card designs to the Post Card art contest. The winners will be unveiled at the event on June 2nd.

The Graphics Committee has produced a designation event t-shirt design as well as event-flier and hiking game-card designs.

Mountain Club of Maryland, through its Duncannon A.T. Community representative, coordinated and funded an Appalachian Trail interpretive panel to accompany Susquehanna Greenway's Rivertown kiosk.  Installation is expected this coming Spring.

So what is in the pipeline for early 2012?? 
  • The DESIGNATION EVENT is a little over FIVE MONTHS away.
  • Designation event web site currently under construction and hoping to be launched during the second week in January.
  • The Fundraising/Budget Committee plans to secure a premier sponsor for the event in the coming weeks.
  • Plans for a community mural on the side of Miller's Newstand building are in the works as well as other volunteer beautification projects in advance of the event.
  • Event T-shirts are slated to be ordered at the beginning of February.
  • The Committee also hopes to produce a post-event display for an empty storefront on Market St. highlighting the designation event and Duncannon A.T. Community activities. 

Contact event coordinator Mary "trailangelmary" Parry at if interested in helping out with any of the above.  
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Duncannon marks its trail heritage

Another article appeared in the Duncannon Record over the weekend highlighting the A.T. Community Committee's mission and plans for the June 2nd, 2012 event.  Thanks to Sarah Kramer at the Perry County Times for covering the Committee's progress in Duncannon!

Duncannon marks its trail heritage

"Designation event coordinator Mary Parry, or Trailangelmary as known locally, said the event will involve local officials, residents, business owners, representatives of nonprofit organizations and trail clubs, as well as a team of dedicated volunteers who will offer outdoor recreation and environmental education activities for the Duncannon community."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Explore the Middle Susquehanna Greenway via Scenic Driving Tour

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership has just published a Middle Susquehanna Greenway Driving Tour booklet on their web site and Duncannon is Stop #19 as a scenic and historically significant River Town!  This 95-mile driving route explores some of the cultural and natural features of the Greenway and features audio interviews with local researchers and residents. A River Town orientation panel is currently being installed at Old Sledworks on Market St.  Appalachian Trail and Harrisburg-to-Pittsburgh Main Line Canal Greenway panels will be installed as well this coming spring!

Susquehanna Greenway also highlights Duncannon attractions on a dedicated page.

"Along the way, we hope you will sense the pride river communities have with their connection to this critical resource. The cultural and natural history of the Susquehanna River is centuries long and the impact of the river is longer still when you consider geological time. This tour will guide you through both and suggest you linger when you want to explore more at selected stops, viewpoints, and historic river towns."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Duncannon Area Landscapes: Aerial Photos of the Susquehanna Water Gaps

Paul Zeph of the Appalachian Audubon Society provided us with these awesome aerial photographs of Peter's Mountain, Cove Mountain and the Susquehanna Water Gaps for your viewing pleasure (part of the larger Kittatinny Ridge landscape).  Committee Members, remember to log an estimate of your volunteer hours when you get the chance!  This info helps us show the power of volunteerism in Duncannon.

Where the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers meet the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail through Rye Township (Rt. 850 crossing)
North Side of Cove Mountain
View from Duncannon tower at Old Sledworks

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DATC Regular Meeting Date Determined - 2nd Thursdays

Results from the latest scheduling poll indicate that the regular meeting date for DATC will be:

Every Second Thursday of the Month at 6:30pm

Next month's meeting will be held on January 12th at 6:30pm, location T.B.D.  Other significant DATC dates in January include: 
  • Jan. 8th - Business Subcommittee meeting at Doyle Hotel at 1pm
  • Jan. 10th - Participation Commitment form due (or let Trailangel Mary know when you or your organization will be able to commit)
  • Jan. 11th - Start "Fundraising Goal" Thermometer
  • Jan. 12th - January DATC Meeting
  • Jan. 29th - Event schedule finalized
  • Jan. 30th - First publicity release with Event Schedule

Monday, December 19, 2011

Check out the Designation Event T-Shirt Design!

DATC Graphics Committee chairperson, graphic design professional and Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club member Susan Norris has created an AWESOME t-shirt design based on the concept presented by Paul Smith.  Check it out at left!  Thanks to Susan for all her amazing efforts.  These graphics help promote the mission of the event and also the "brand" of Duncannon as an outdoor recreation destination.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Duncannon Appalachian Trail Panel Design Finalized

The design has been finalized for the Appalachian Trail interpretive panel slated to be installed along with two Susquehanna Greenway panels and a Main Line Canal Greenway panel this Spring as part of Susquehanna Greenway's River Towns initiative (**Apologies that the image isn't larger and more legible!).  The content and funding for the panel was provided by Mountain Club of Maryland rep Mike O'Connor through a grant from MCM's Miles Fund.  SEDA-COG's Adam Wynn assisted with the layout and graphic design work.  

Exciting that the panel will be in the ground in advance of the designation event in June!  Special thanks to Mike O'Connor and MCM for their important efforts in marking Duncannon's place as an important stop along the Appalachian Trail.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Duncannon Highlighted on Progress Pennsylvania

Over the weekend Duncannon made an appearance on the Progress Pennsylvania blog, tales of Pennsylvania revitalization and economic development told by blogger Roy Keeler based in Pottstown, PA.

"This tiny town of 1,522 people, 15 miles north of Harrisburg, is making the most of having the Appalachian Trail running down its main street.  Taking advantage of natural surrounding is a tool for economic development.  Nature-based Tourism also known as Ecotourism is a great way for a town like Duncannon to revitalize itself." - Progress Pennsylvania

Also check out the Case Studies page to read about post-industrial town turned outdoor recreation destination - Jim Thorpe, PA.  Also highlighted is Damascus, VA - which dubs itself the "friendliest town on the trail."  Do I smell a challenge?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ATC Appoints A.T. Ambassador in Duncannon

Committee member Paul Smith was just named an A.T. Community Ambassador for Duncannon! Paul, also the Duncannon A.T. Advisory Committee's Arts & Music chairperson, will join nine other A.T. Community Ambassadors along the whole trail corridor as a local community representative trained to facilitate outreach to community members and youth groups for volunteer stewardship projects.   

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy very excited to have Paul on board for this position as he's done awesome work and brought great ideas and enthusiasm to the A.T. Community Committee in Duncannon since its formation this past summer.  

P.S. Did you know these hats are on sale at the Borough Office??  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Value of Outdoor Festivals to PA Communities

Paddlers on the Susquehanna River, Source:
The A.T. Community designation celebration and town-wide outdoors festival themed "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder" hopes to resonate beyond June 2012.  The concept of an Outdoor Festival as a means to promote sustainable economic development by linking economy, society and nature is not a new one in Pennsylvania.  Sustainable Pittsburgh's "Guide for Organizing an Outdoor Festival" explains it best:
  • Outdoor recreation is a magnet for people of all ages and integral to the changed image of a region.
  • Outdoor recreation contributes to equity by serving all people and narrowing the disparities gap.
  • Participating in outdoor recreation contributes to healthy lifestyles for young and old.
  • Outdoor enjoyment leads to awareness, appreciation, and likely action by all to be better stewards of the environment at home, at work, and at play.
  • In common with Pennsylvania's two biggest industries - agriculture and tourism - recreation amenities are resource-based strategies for significant economic development.
  • Recreation resources such as trails, watershed, connected parks, rivers and streams know no political boundaries.

Promotion of amenities within regions and communities can lead to legitimate economic development in the form of jobs, tourism, and vitality.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vendor Commitments and Duncannon/Susquenita Middle School IN THE NEWS!

Over the weekend two articles by reporter Sarah Kramer appeared in the Perry County Times - one focusing on Susquenita Middle School's participation in the Trail to Every Classroom program and one about Duncannon's designation and plans for the event!   Follow the below links to read the articles:

Update for Designation Event Planning: Commitment forms for information and retail vendors, hike leaders, presentations on topics relating to the outdoors, musical entertainment, river trips, shuttle service, donations for free lunch for hikers, volunteers for manning event central, photographer and videographers, donations of cash and/or hiking gear, and donations of books relating to the AT and outdoors are due to Mary Parry Event Coordinator by January 10, 2011.

Commitment forms have been received from:
Jennifer Pharr Davis and
Event Coordinator Trailangel Mary

Friday, December 2, 2011

Graphics, TTEC, Business Committee Meeting Minutes

Designation event planning has been moving forward with a recent meeting amongst members of the Graphics, Trail to Every Classroom and Business Committees at The Doyle Hotel on December 1st.  Minutes are below.  The next Graphics Committee meeting will be held on Sunday, December 18th at 2pm at The Pub on Market St. in Duncannon.  Please join us if you're interested in helping out!

  • Mary Parry, Event Coordinator
  • Susan Norris, Graphics Chairperson
  • Malissa Hoover, TTEC Chairperson
  • Paul Smith, Music and Arts Chairperson
  • Vickey & Pat Kelly, The Doyle Hotel Owners
  • Annette Mullen, Owner of Curves in Duncannon, Wheatfield Township Supervisor
Meeting Topics:

Event Central
  • Mark Lukens to provide 2 free standing panels, each 4' x 8'
  • 4 sides - display schedule, Top 10 reasons we need "Vitamin N", Raffle & information on Items for Sale
  • Susan Norris will create chalkboard surface on the display base and then use flourescent chalk
Trail to Every Classroom Committee ~ Malissa Hoover accepted the Chairperson position 

T-Shirt Design
  • Additional T-Shirt design submitted by Susan Norris.  Both designs were discussed and final plan for design will be completed by Susan for the Dec. 18th meeting.  
  • T-shirt design will be consistent with other graphics & the web page.
Business Window Decorations
  • Mary explained her vision for designs for business window displays
  • Paul and Mary will approach businesses - how will it be funded?
  • Susan and Malissa will recruit participants to help with this project
Potential Mural at Miller's Store
  • Kim McKee checking in Norfolk Southern Corp. will paint the wall white.
  • Mr. Miller wants to know the size and see design before approving.
  • Mary's vision is of a large trail map of the area with embellishments of nature/natural features
  • How will it be funded?
  • Susan stated she will have design for presentation to Mr. Miller done by January 10th
Basic Timelines
  • Wooden nickel design is done
  • ASAP - Event Web Page
  • December 18th, Graphics Committee Meeting - review and assign all tasks and finalize timelines and T-shirt design.
  • January 10th - Miller's Newstand mural design - need sponsor and budget, game card design
  • February - order shirts
  • March - designs for window decorations, event flyer ready for printing, start Miller's Mural
  • April - event central base ready, start finish of event central, banner designs, thank you notes, elementary school contest
  • May - directional signs, window decorations, shuttle stop signs, print game cards
  • Post-event - Semi-permanent event display, send thank you cards, evaluate event
Thanks to the Graphics Committee for all their hard work!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Duncannon's page is Live on ATC's Web Site!

Duncannon's page is live on the Appalachian Trail Communities section of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's web site!  Duncannon is now listed with other designated communities with info regarding past community efforts to support the Trail, local hiker services, and upcoming plans for the designation event.  Click here or on image at right to have a look.  A tentative event schedule has been posted on the Event page of this blog as well.

Duncannon's designation is also announced on Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club's homepage!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Event Venue/Vendor Space Update

Update from event organizer Mary Parry - Vendors who are concerned about the  info stating that vendor space will be 8' need not be concerned. Since many vendors have 10'x10' canopies, we will be adjusting each vendors space to suit.

She has been receiving lots of suggestions for event venue sites.  The most logical to Fred Lauster and Mary is Cooper Field, rather than Cumberland St, Noyes Park, and Fortenbaugh's lot.  At Cooper Field we can have everything in one location.  The Advisory Committee will vote on this at the upcoming meeting in January. 
Stay tuned for Jan. meeting date/time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perry County Greenways, Parks, Recreation & Open Space Plan

How do the efforts of Committee members representing various public, private and volunteer partners in Duncannon fit into Perry County's larger picture?

The Perry County Board of Commissioners officially adopted the Perry County Greenways, Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan (GPROSP) on July 18, 2011. The plan (to view, click here) recognizes greenways, provides an updated inventory of community parks and recreation together with recommendations, and offers direction for open space protection by way of sample ordinances.  In addition to supporting the Apple Tree AlleyWalk project, the following goals and action items are notable to the Duncannon Advisory Committee efforts:

  • Identify Trail Towns – As defined in Trail Towns Capturing Trail-Based Tourism a “Trail Town” is a destination along a long-distance trail. Whether on a rail trail, towpath, water trail, or hiking trail-trail users can venture off the trail and to enjoy the scenery, services, and heritage of the nearby community. It is a safe place where both township residents and trail users can walk, find goods and services they need, and easily access both trail and town by foot or vehicle. In such a town, the trail is an integral and important part of the community. A Trail Town is a vibrant place where people come together. It may have a bike shop, an ice cream parlor, casual restaurants, a grocery store, and quaint local shops. It has wide sidewalks, clean streets, bike racks, and benches at convenient locations. It has places to rest for the night. Trail Towns are not stand-alone communities; they are linked by the trail corridor where trail users may be passing through a town on a day trip or long distance trek, or may drive to a community and park to access a river or trial.
  • Promote and coordinate special events in Perry County. They are a top recreational interest among the citizens and have the potential to draw people to visit in Perry County. There is currently no centralized means for people to access information about events and programs in Perry County. Establishing a “go-to” place for people to go to in order to find out about recreation opportunities would increase awareness and stimulate participation in recreation. Consider using current providers of information as the “Goto” resource or mix of resources including Perry County, the Perry County Council of the Arts, the Dauphin County Visitors Bureau, municipal newsletters and others that may be in place.
  • Pursue heritage and outdoor recreation tourism as a major industry of Perry County. Action:  Work aggressively with the Hershey – Harrisburg Visitors Bureau to position Perry County’s recreation and heritage assets for increased tourism.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Designation Event Budget Committee Update

The Budget Committee has met and worked on the budget worksheet to develop a preliminary budget.  It can be viewed here - DATC Budget Worksheet.  Please enter any updated figures on that sheet.  Further research is being done to develop the final budget.  Fundraising Chair Matt Smith is talking to potential sponsors and will prepare the final budget. 

Donations will be accepted to supplement sponsorship so we may accomplish all that is planned!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Updates from Event Coordinator Mary "trailangelmary" Parry

The Board of the Advisory Committee Designation Event shall consist of 9 members including Mary "Trailangelmary" Event Coordinator, 8 other Committee Chairpersons, and Advisor Kim McKee, Appalachian Trail Conservancy Act 24 Coordinator.   All chairpersons have been confirmed with the exception of 2 which we are waiting for a reply.

Mary attended the November Borough Council Meeting and distributed our "3-minute commercial" Statement, Participation Confirmation Form and cover letter to all Council members.  Council member Jack Conrad spoke highly of our plans for the event to those present and asked Mary to speak about the event. Mary was also approved as a new member of the Duncannon Recreation Board at the meeting.

Members of the Event Board are meeting this week to determine the preliminary budget.  Donations for this event will be accepted and are greatly appreciated.  Other Subcommittee meetings will take place between now and January before the January Advisory Committee Meeting.

Participation Confirmation Forms are being distributed to potential partners for the event with a return due date of January 10.

The event web page has been started by Karen Allen Reckert of Mekea Designs.  It will go public at a later date.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Duncannon A.T. Community Committee Meeting Minutes

Nov. 14th ~ Attendees:

Fred Lauster, Borough Council/Parks & Rec Board
Jerry Bell, Borough Council/Parks & Rec Board
Jack Conrad, Borough Council/Parks & Rec Board
Mary “trailangelmary” Parry, Lead Volunteer
Paul Smith, Entertainment Chairperson
Jason Finnerty, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission/Perry County Planner
Kim McKee, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Mike O’Connor, Mountain Club of Maryland
Barb Van Horn, Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club
Rob Shaw, Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club
Susan Norris, Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club/Graphics Chairperson
Pat Woods, Susquenita Middle School
Paul Marth, Susquenita Middle School
Malissa Hoover, Susquenita Elementary School
Luke, Susquenita High School (Senior Project)
David Snyder, Appalachian Music Conservancy
Annie Lieby, Outdoor Photographer
Jim Renner, Penn Township Parks & Rec
Linda Britcher, Business Owner
Deb Takach, Resident and Storyteller
Jim McNulty, Susquehanna River Trail Association
Bruce Bishop, Susquehanna River Trail Association

Committee Members/Participating Organization Reps that couldn’t make it:  Matt Smith, Fundraising Chairperson; Bob Peiffer, PR/Advertising Chairperson; Linda Sieber, Sherman’s Creek Watershed Association; Gwen Lehmann, PA Audubon


Introductions and congratulations to the Committee on Duncannon’s application having been approved!  Going forward we will need a volunteer to do a write-up and pick photos/images for Duncannon’s page on the A.T. Communities section of the ATC web site.  For examples click on the communities listed on this page:

The Borough can also start planning for two 18" x 24" A.T. Community signs (see image at top right of blog) that will accompany the designation to be placed at community gateways or other preferred locations.

Mountain Club of Maryland (MCM) Rep Mike O’Connor let us know that the A.T. panel for the Susquehanna Greenway River Towns kiosk is currently undergoing final design and then will be sent to fabrication.  MCM is funding and coordinating this effort.

Councilman Jack Conrad updated the group on the Apple Tree Alleywalk project.  The Borough has voted to move forward with a site design for the first phase of the project – starting in the section adjacent to Clark’s Ferry Tavern. 

Susquenita Middle School teacher Paul Marth announced that the Middle School Art Teacher has already received several submissions from all four grades for the Post Card Art Contest.  The winner from each grade will be announced at the designation event and the post cards distributed to area businesses.  Mary will be coordinating donated prizes for the winners.
See all planning updates for the designation event on the A.T. Community Planning page of this blog.

Action Items:
  • Borough can start planning for placement of two 18 x 24" full color aluminum street signs
  • Volunteer needed to produce content for Duncannon page on ATC's A.T. Community web site
  • All should fill out their event participation confirmation forms and return to Mary by January 10th or let her know when she will be receiving it if after that date.  If you need participation forms for additional organizations you'd like to reach out to, contact Mary. 
  • Malissa Hoover will check into the possibility of screening the Nat. Geo. Appalachian Trail film at the School the Friday before the event.
  • Insurance - Kim McKee will get answer on NPS insurance coverage - Mary(?) will explore other options for the event.
  • Susan Norris has (wonderfully) volunteered to head up the Graphics Committee - additional volunteers needed to serve on this committee and start helping with graphics, fliers & signage
  • Jason Finnerty will start putting together an event map in GIS outlining activity and event locations for use in meetings, on the web site, during the event
  • Volunteer needed to head the Logistics subcommittee and to coordinate and delegate responsibilities
  • Budget team will meet over the next few weeks to make sure the budget and fundraising targets line up once cost estimates are nailed down.
  • Kim McKee will start organizing volunteer workday with NSRR Enola Yard employees

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Two Donations received for Designation Event Prizes!

The Committee's received the first two donations for prizes at the June 2012 event!  Mary "trailangelmary" Parry has donated an Appalachian Trail Conservancy membership; and Jennifer Pharr Davis, the record-holding speed-hiker who this summer completed the 2,182 miles of the A.T. in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, donated a signed copy of her book Becoming Odyssa

If you would like to donate a door or raffle prize to Duncannon's A.T. Community Committee for the upcoming designation event themed "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder" (a little over six months away!) please contact event organizer Mary Parry at 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Next Advisory Committee Meeting this coming Monday, Nov. 14th

The A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting is coming up on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6pm at the Borough Office on North High St.  The Committee will continue planning for the June 2nd, 2012 designation event and offer updates on Apple Tree Alley and plans for potential volunteer projects in the downtown area.  If you'd like to get involved, do attend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Local Artists and Musicians sign on for Designation Celebration

Antonio Andrade, Musician
In addition to the Susquenita High School and Middle Bands, local artists and musicians from Perry County Council of the Arts have signed on to perform/display at the designation celebration next June.  Thus far Antonio Andrade is tentatively scheduled to perform and Sheldon Ott of Appalachian Kraft Products, outdoor photographer Annie Leiby and artist Kim Wolfe are planning to display. 

Committee member and music/artist chairperson Paul Smith has also developed a t-shirt design for the event!  Free vendor space is available at the June 2nd event for vendors selling products relate to nature - wood products, textiles, etc.  Contact Mary Parry at for a confirmation form.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Duncannon's application accepted! Borough achieves A.T. Community designation

In news that comes as no surprise, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee had their meeting this last weekend and voted to officially designate Duncannon as an Appalachian Trail Community!!  The designation celebration and signing of the official proclamation is currently scheduled for June 2nd, 2012 (on National Trails Day).
This decision was based on the strength of Duncannon's application submitted this past August outlining many of the Borough and community support of the Appalachian Trail and those who use it over the years - including Susquenita School District's participation in Trail to Every Classroom, hosting the annual Billville Hiker Feed, the Borough's passing of a land use ordinance to protect the character of the trail corridor, planning for Apple Tree AlleyWalk and many other examples.  For more information visit the A.T. Community Planning page.

The next A.T. Community Committee meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 14th at 6pm at the Borough Office on N. High St. to discuss event planning and other actions the Committee can take going forward.  If interested in attending please contact Mary Parry ( or Kim McKee (

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Check out Event Speaker, Ralph Goodno, on WITF SmartTalk

Ralph Goodno, President of Lancaster County Conservancy and former ATC Board Member, has committed to speaking at the June 2nd designation event on the theme of "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder."  The Lancaster County Conservancy is doing a lot of work right now that stems from Richard Louv's work and that of other writers and educators.  The Committee reached out to Mr. Goodno after hearing his visit to WITF Radio SmartTalk back in August where he discussed the LCC's mission to "save and steward the ecosystems and landscapes upon which we depend for food, clean water and air, economic and public health and the restoration of soul and spirit" and how the organization aims to achieve those lofty goals.  Listen to the full show here:

We will hopefully be reaching out to WITF as well as the event approaches. In other updates, Susquehanna River Trail Association and Shermans Creek Conservation Association have both confirmed that they would like to be involved with the event!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Special Permit approved by Borough for June 2nd, 2012 Designation Event

Update!  Last evening, Borough Council approved a special permit for the June 2nd, 2012 Appalachian Trail Community designation event themed "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder."  The Committee is chipping away at the to-do list in event planning - thanks much to Borough Council for their support.

I also wanted to post this video relevant to the potential for tourism development in Duncannon which was recently developed by the PA Wilds Initiative, a collaborative effort that aims to revitalize a 12 1/2-county area of rural Pennsylvania through nature and heritage tourism development.  It outlines a strategy for community revitalization based on developing and promoting the natural, recreation and historic assets that make small towns and rural areas unique. 

"After decades of job losses and population decline, rural PA looked around and realized it had some unique products that could not be outsourced to China - and that people would pay to enjoy the stuff we sometimes took for granted.."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Susquenita Middle School and High School Bands to Perform at Event!

We've received confirmation that both the High School Band, Middle School Band and High School Jazz Band from Susquenita School District will all be performing at the designation event on June 2nd, 2012!

The Committee is also planning to have local musicians and artists from both Duncannon and Perry County Council of the Arts performing and displaying artwork during the main event in the afternoon.

Trailangel Mary has created a facebook group for supporters of Duncannon as an Appalachian Trail Community and to post quick updates for event planning - visit or join the group here151 members and counting!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sept. 14th A.T. Community Committee Meeting Minutes

Duncannon A.T. Community Committee 
Meeting Minutes
September 14th, 2011
Duncannon Borough Office

  • Fred Lauster, Borough Council
  • Kim McKee, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Barb Van Horn, Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club (also Keystone Trails, Penn Township)
  • Mary Parry, Trail Angel and Duncannon Resident
  • Mike O’Connor, Mountain Club of Maryland
  • Jason Finnerty, Tri-County Regional Planning
  • Paul Smith, Duncannon Resident
  • Paul Marth, Susquenita Middle School
  • Rick Knepp, Susquenita Middle School
  • Matt Smith, Perry County Chamber
  • Bob Peiffer, Perry County Chamber
  • Thru-Hikers “Don’t Ask” and “Turtle,” Origins unknown...

Meeting Minutes:

Introductions and Kim M. recapped minutes from the August 11th meeting.  The Appalachian Trail Community application has been submitted and Duncannon’s designation will be officially determined at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee meeting taking place October 21-23.


Trails to Every Classroom – Susquenita Middle School teacher Paul Marth updated the group on some projects the TTEC teachers have started and are working towards at the Middle School including:

  • Starting off the school year with the “Let’s Move” initiative, 100 mile walking clubs with grade levels competing to “finish the A.T.”
  • 6th graders are reading the book “Halfway to the Sky” and hiking Pole Steeple in Pine Grove Furnace S.P. in the spring
  • Developing “Quests” for the 7th and 8th graders
  • Also developing an annual Post Card Contest with student-produced post card art specific to Duncannon available in town for hikers to mail home, other trail towns will follow suit – can unveil the Duncannon post card at the celebration

Paul Marth is also involved with Scouts and anticipates Scout participation from Duncannon, Sherman’s Dale and Marysville in the event – can lead hikes for Scout members on morning of event

Driving Tour Kiosk – Mike O’Connor has been collecting text and images.  He and Kim M. will try to meet up in the near future to discuss panel layout.

Apple Tree Alley – Kim M. gave the group an update on DCNR’s recent meeting with the Borough regarding applying for the DCNR Community Partnership grant to begin a first phase on the AlleyWalk. 
  • Borough Council President Duane Hammaker will be presenting the question at the next Council meeting of whether Council feels comfortable moving forward with this grant or if there are issues they feel need to be addressed first.  Conversations between Mike Piaskowski of DCNR and the Borough will proceed from there.
  • Kim M. will be attending next Borough Council meeting (September 20th at 7:30pm) to hear Council’s determination, potential concerns to be addressed and show support for the project.  Any others interested in attending are encouraged to do so.  Fred indicated a large portion of the meeting will be dedicated to public comment on another topic and recent flooding and that it may be a long meeting.
  • In addition we’ll be waiting to see a 2011 update on the Borough’s RICH Plan (ReIntroducing Community Heritage), more specifically the sections on the Appalachian Trail, Apple Tree AlleyWalk and Civic Events as the Committee can potentially play a role in assisting the Borough in meeting their goals.

Designation Event Planning

  • Date: The Committee decided on June 2nd, 2012 for the designation event, which is National Trails Day, Town Yard Sale Day and the Fire Company also hosts a chicken BBQ on that date.
  • The theme is “Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder” – see recent articles from the NYTimes: and Patriot News (August):
  • General Event Outline (still tentative): The event is envisioned as a series of outdoor activities taking place in the morning including different types of hikes, paddle trips & trail maintenance trips – the Scouts may potentially do an overnight Friday eve and hike-in to town the next day, the event can also encourage families to camp out the night before and provide a guide to area campsites.
  • All groups will then converge on town in early-to-mid afternoon where vendors (trail clubs, environmental groups, community groups, etc.), local artists and musicians will be set up, student art work – likely near intersection of Cumberland & High St. where National Night Out is held (Fred will check on special permit from Borough)
  • Other events for children/hikers may take place in Noye Park, Waggoner’s Park prior to main event in town – Rick Knepp mentioned a public run/hike the school hosts on the cross-country course as another possibility for a coinciding event.  Mary has additional ideas on her tentative agenda as well.
  • A free meal will likely be provided around late afternoon/dinnertime for those who have a certain amount of stars on their “event card”
  • Main Programming will also likely take place in the late afternoon with speakers, the official designation proclamation, school band, the presentation of the official Post Card, etc. 
  • Who are we targeting? Trail clubs and their members, Boy Scouts, environmental groups, school children and their families, local church groups, Susquehanna River Trail Association, local outdoor-oriented “meet-up” groups, thru-hikers and the larger A.T. hiking community.  Mary is maintaining a list of organizations and groups we’ve reached out to.
  • Numbers We’re anticipating somewhere in the range of 200-300 people participating in the event and attending the celebration in town.
  • Keynote speakers:
  1. Paul Marth suggested the blind thru-hiker that spoke at designation event in Georgia – Mary will get in touch via A.T. Museum
  2. Larry Luxenberg of A.T. Museum
  3. Elected officials – State Rep, County Commissioners
  4. Kim M. spoke to Ralph Goodno of Lancaster County Conservancy this morning about suggestions or his interest in speaking – more specifically on Nature Deficit Disorder theme.  He said he is interested and will get back to us next week once he checks his schedule.  Would like a better idea for what we would specifically like him to speak on – send thoughts.
  5. Karen Lutz, ATC Regional Director and potentially a rep from the National Park Service A.T. Office
  • Music Chairperson: Paul Smith has been in touch with a variety of local musicians and artists willing to participate.  Has been in touch with Perry County Council of the Arts.
  • Fundraising Chairperson: Matt Smith will head up fundraising and sponsorships with assistance from Bob Peiffer.
  • Graphics Chairperson: SATC has a club member that is interested in getting involved and good with graphics.  Barb Van Horn will get in touch.  Kim M. can assist as needed.
  • Advertising/PR Chairperson: Bob Peiffer indicated he can help with advertising and has contacts with local media.  Kim M. can help with advertising as well and utilize ATC media contacts/press releases to spread word.  Can also work with Mary to develop event web site.  Committee will call on local groups to spread word amongst their memberships as well regarding their guided hike/trip and the main event later in the day.

Action items:

  • The Committee will meet again in early November, Kim M. will schedule at some point in October – at this November meeting we will set up an event outline and determine a timeline both for day-of and pre-event planning items.
  • Anyone interested in attending Borough Council meeting to hear Apple Tree AlleyWalk discussion can do so next Tuesday, Sept. 20th at 7:30pm
  • Barb Van Horn will get in touch with potential graphic designer for event.
  • Mary will continue adjusting/developing agenda and outreach to partnering organizations, confirm date with those she has been in touch with, try to get in touch with blind thru-hiker as potential speaker (believe his name is Bill Irwin)
  • Fred will seek special permit from the Borough for event.
  • Kim M. will communicate with Bob Peiffer regarding advertising and communicate with Mary about developing an event web site
  • Mike O’Connor and Kim M. will meet to discuss A.T. panel lay-out
  • Paul Marth and Rick Knepp will confirm date with school groups (art teacher, school band, etc.) and continue developing TTEC programs to be integrated into event
  • Paul Smith will continue organizing local musicians and artists to participate and confirm date, communicate with Susquenita re: school band participation.
  • Matt Smith and Bob Peiffer will continue developing fundraising plan and confirm date with any businesses/organizations engaged.
  • Kim M. will be in touch with Jason Finnerty and Fred regarding resources for Comprehensive Planning if Borough seeks to update and notify committee when updated RICH Plan is complete

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept. 14th (Tomorrow) A.T. Community Advisory Committee Meeting STILL ON

Despite flooding in Duncannon from Tropical Storm Lee over the weekend, we will still be holding tomorrow's A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting at the Borough Office at 6pm. Click here or see post below to see more info on meeting details.

**Preservation Pennsylvania just sent out an alert spreading word about resources available for flood damaged buildings.** (See below)

Photo by Mary Parry - Market St. on Sept. 8th
A good place to begin is this website:   It includes a checklist of things to do, first steps in drying out your buildings, how to save your foundation and a number of other useful topics.  Another great resource is The Treatment of Flood Damaged Properties:

Additionally, please let Preservation Pennsylvania know if your historic building has sustained any significant damage.  They are maintaining a list of properties damaged by the storms; and are also offering free technical assistance to anyone (individuals, organizations, municipalities, corporations) who requests it.  Please call their office at (717) 234-2310 or send an email at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"A Trail to Every Classroom" plans at Susquenita Middle School

As the schoolyear begins, the teachers at Susquenita Middle School participating in the Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) service learning program have several exciting ideas and projects they are working on - projects related to the trail and the local communities. 

Some the programs they are working on and towards are:
  • 100 mile walking club with Grade level teams competing to complete the AT
  • Student Developed “Quests” for both Duncannon and Marysville
  • A Student “Post Card” contest for hikers on the AT.
  • A “Trail Mail” Program with other TTEC Schools
  • A Bio Diversity inventory of Local Flora and fauna
  • A “Micro” AT on School District property
Susquenita teachers were present at the Sept. 14th meeting to offer updates and discuss how some/all of these projects can be incorporated into the event!  Check out the awesome video they put together for students about TTEC below!