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!