Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn Views of Cove Mountain from Buddy Boy Vineyard

Buddy Boy Winery & Vineyard just posted some beautiful views of Cove Mountain to their facebook page.  Buddy Boy Winery is located just outside Duncannon Borough off Rt 11/15.  

The Winery's scenic setting at the base of Cove Mountain, above which the Appalachian Trail passes, contributes to its appeal as  a unique part of the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail.  Click on the photo to view the rest of the album!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Upcoming Meetings: DATC Oct. 17th and Apple Tree Alley Oct. 20th

Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee's monthly meeting will be held this evening, Wednesday, October 17th at 6:30pm at the Borough Office and the final Apple Tree Alley public meeting leading up to the referendum vote will be held this Saturday, October 20th at 9:30am at Duncannon Presbyterian Church (Corner of Cumberland St. & High St.)  

All interested residents are encouraged to attend.  The public meeting agenda will go as follows: 
  • Presentation of the question to appear on the ballot.
  • Overview of the proposed plan.
  • Grant funding opportunities and liabilities.
  • Comments and questions from the floor addressed to members of Council and Solicitor.
  • Opportunity for individuals or organizations to appeal to the group in favor of or opposed to.
For more information about the Apple Tree Alley project and its potential impacts as a catalyst for Duncannon community revitalization, visit  Click here to read a letter from a Duncannon resident addressing concerns expressed at the September public meeting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Duncannon and The Doyle Hotel featured in Harrisburg Magazine column

A lunch at The Doyle.  (Source:
Greater capital area foodie, Jane Adams, recently spent some time in downtown Duncannon enjoying the hospitality of Pat & Vickey Kelly at the Doyle Hotel and featured the experience in her Harrisburg Magazine column!  The write-up features a quick run-down of Duncannon's unique transportation history and local attractions including the Appalachian Trail and Old Sled Works.  Jane then went on to describe her experience at the Doyle Hotel

"It was after lunch and there were just a few customers finishing up their dishes. There were maps of the Appalachian trail, mementos and hiker logs. The age of the place impressed me, and was evident as I looked up and spied original tin ceiling tiles... 

As the bartender continued to describe the menu, I noticed used personal pronouns in his sentences, for example, “I’ve got”, “I made”, and so on. As he spoke, it was evident to me that he must be the owner. Right then I knew that the food would have one essential ingredient... people who care about the quality of the product that they are serving to their customers and take pride in their food."

Duncannon's really getting on the map as a capital area destination!  See the full article here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Addressing Apple Tree Alley concerns: Letter from a Duncannon resident

September 12, 2012

At the Apple Tree Alley Meeting on September 11, 2012 Jack Conrad, the Borough Council member spearheading the Apple Tree Alley Project, announced that at a recent meeting with DCNR they would be willing to give Duncannon a grant for the matching funds. The minimal cost of the project therefore would be only $2 ‐ $5,000 to cover the costs of grant applications and changes to the master plan to suit us.

Therefore the referendum is no longer totally accurate because of recent developments. However, the Duncannon Borough council still wants the community’s input in order to help make the final decision on the project. So please vote on Election Day in November on the referendum. Registered voters who qualify to vote on the referendum are Duncannon Borough Residents. You can register to vote for this election up until October 9th.

To all concerned,

Thank you to everyone who attended the Apple Tree Alley Meeting. Whether you are for or against the project it was good to see so many Duncannon residents coming together to express interest in community related issues.

I'd like to address some of your concerns about the following issues that I noted from the Apple Tree Alley meeting on September 11, 2012:

Wouldn't the money be better spent somewhere else? Possibly but the "free" money isn't available for any purpose other than Apple Tree Alley. Funds used on any other project would have to come directly from the borough's own coffers and would not be subsidized in any way.

But the money isn't “Free”. True. The borough has to make a small investment of 2 to 5 thousand dollars for planning and project review but by doing so it stands to gain a return of 1 hundred fold. Risk is present in nearly every investment but you need to weigh the minimal risks against the significant gains. This aspect of the project should almost be a complete non‐issue due to the enormous return gained from such a small initial investment.

We need to be fiscally responsible; I don't want to take the money. This is truly a noble sentiment and it's reassuring to know that good people have such sensible concerns. The government has been known to occasionally waste money on things like 6 HUNDRED dollar hammers and 400 MILLION dollar "Bridges to Nowhere" but this project is far from wasteful. This project will benefit the small, ailing town of Duncannon and attempt to restore community pride in an otherwise lackluster area. If
Duncannon Borough doesn't accept this grant the funds will still be spent. You are not saving taxpayer money by declining the grant, you are merely diverting the funds to a different, potentially less deserving, project. If you can personally do without help from the government, that's great but please don't deprive your community of a rare chance to help improve itself.

I don't want criminals or shady characters behind my house. In its current state, the only people who tend to use Apple Tree Alley are the people who NEED to use it or the people who might abuse it. Very few people WANT to go there, it just isn't very appealing. By beautifying the area you will attract more of the good people from the community who have an interest in preserving, protecting and enhancing it. As it is now, a criminal would be more likely to exploit the cover provided by the "disarray" of the alley, but by opening the area and increasing visibility you diminish the potential for criminal activity.

Safety. Some people seem to believe that allowing bikes, pedestrians, cars, skateboards, scooters and everyone else to use the same area is a sure fire way to guarantee mayhem. But you have to look at the alternative. If people aren't biking, walking, driving, skateboarding and scooting along the less used Apple Tree Alley, where will they be? On the primary thoroughfares of Main and High streets where the volume of traffic significantly increases the danger to all involved. Is renovating Apple Tree Alley a perfect solution guaranteeing safety for everyone at all times? No, but it is definitely better than the current alternative and certainly a step in the right direction. The only way to guarantee "Zero Incident Safety" is by taking zero action and that, as most people agree, will only lead to the further decline of Duncannon.

I don't see prosperity forthcoming. While hikers certainly come from far and wide to hike the Appalachian Trail, I don't believe people will be traversing the globe simply to stop off in Duncannon to view the magnificent Apple Tree Alley; but I do believe it will contribute to Duncannon's economic growth. Many people go "through" Duncannon to access the local natural resources but very few of them actually stop in town because they haven't seen or heard that there's anything there for them. Many of the people who hike through town will share their experiences with the world and publish them via media such as television, radio, books, magazines, blogs, and even letters to home. By showing these hikers and the world the good side of Duncannon, they in‐turn encourage other visitors to come and enjoy the area. Just like painting your shutters or planting a flower won't bring the world to your doorstep, it's still a positive step forward. This project is also a small deliberate step in the right direction.

Catch22. How can I vote for the project when I don't know all of the details and I can't know all of the details unless I vote for the project? It's true that we can't know every aspect of the project until we study it in more detail and get feedback from the community but we still know the general intent of the project. The vote is simply to say whether or not you believe the project has some merit and deserves further investigation at a minimal expense.

Encroachment. After a preliminary survey, it has been found that some residents have built private structures on public land. Whether this project succeeds or not, it won't change the fact that some properties have overstepped their bounds. If borough council desired, it could potentially request that these encroachments be remedied (removed) or could otherwise force expensive legal litigation. Fortunately Duncannon Borough Council members are wise enough to avoid such pitfalls and they are determined to work with all parties involved.

Access. The Borough Council members have promised that the Apple Tree Alley project will not cut off anyone's access to their property and that in some cases it may actually enhance it. They have also reassured us that at no point in time will the use of "eminent domain" be considered.

Maintenance. Sure, maybe they'll build it for free now but who is going to take care of it later? This is like winning a brand new car and then asking who will pay to change the oil? You, the community, will have to maintain Apple Tree Alley. Much like owning a car, the minimal cost of upkeep outweighs the many benefits. A volunteer group might take responsibility; residents might take personal pride in their new "back yard", the borough might have to expend its own resources or it could be any combination thereof. Either way, you shouldn't turn down a free car or a low cost park just because someone will have to perform minor maintenance. And if maintenance proves too costly, the worst that will happen is that the alley will revert to its former unkempt state.

Vehicular traffic. Some people seemed upset that the improvements made to Apple Tree Alley would increase traffic and the associated concerns would not be addressed. Others believe the route could be enhanced to allow more traffic for better flow through town. And still another group was worried about parking. These are all legitimate concerns and would be best addressed by the engineers who would plan the project. Perhaps 4‐way stop signs at every intersection would deter high‐speed through traffic. Perhaps key areas could be enhanced to alleviate traffic during emergencies or special events such as the town‐wide yard sale. Perhaps wider areas of the alley could serve double duty as parking and recreation areas. These are all problems that engineers are trained and paid to solve which is why we are asking you to vote "yes" so we can proceed to the next step and get their input.

Project Segmentation. This is a double edged sword which cuts both ways. On the one hand we don't want to spend a great deal of money on one large cohesive yet disruptive project while on the other hand we don't want to disperse our efforts in such a way as to diminish the overall vision. Both are valid concerns but neither one is reason enough to abandon the project in its entirety. Both approaches have their ups and downs. I'm sure the Duncannon Borough council members will do their best to find an acceptable balance and do what they expect to work best within the community. Your continued input on these matters will help guide them in their decision making process.

Sean O’Shell
Duncannon Resident and DATC Vice‐President

Friday, September 14, 2012

Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Committee meeting Monday, Sept. 17

The next Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting is planned for Monday, Sept. 17th at 6:30PM at the Borough Office.  On the agenda will be a presentation from the Mountain Club of Maryland Trail Supervisor, Mike Jenkins, and planning for the upcoming year.  A few things for Committee members to think about in advance of the planning meeting: 

What does Duncannon hope to get out of the A.T. Community program?  Answers may include: 
  • Be part of the national designation network
  • Gain recognition and visibility through signage, media, etc.
  • Enhance partnerships with public land agencies
  • Enhance partnerships with volunteers
  • Increase community viability and economic health
  • Increase community environmental stewardship
  • Preserve Duncannon's sense of place
  • Enhance recognition of Duncannon as an outdoor recreation area
  • Increase visitation to Duncannon
What can Duncannon do for the Appalachian Trail?  Answers may include: 
  • Provide volunteers to manage and maintain the A.T.
  • Increase knowledge of the A.T. as an asset
  • Increase community awareness of the A.T.
  • Protect resources within the trail corridor through zoning, comprehensive planning, smart growth, etc.
  • Include the A.T. in community marketing info (brochures, web sites, etc.)
  • Increase proper use of the A.T.
  • Increase education about responsible behavior in the outdoors
  • Build membership for the local A.T. clubs and Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Increase partnerships and dialogue among land managers, volunteers, and community leadership
How available are the following hiker services?
  • Lodging
  • Camping 
  • Outfitter
  • ATMs
  • Restaurants
  • Laundry
  • Grocery/Re-supply
  • Showers
  • Pharmacy/Medical Services
  • Library/Computer/Internet
  • Post Office
  • Public Restrooms
  • Discounts for Hikers
  • Storage for Hikers
  • A.T. Souvenirs
  • Signage about the A.T.
  • Kiosks about the A.T.
  • Information about how the A.T. relates to your Community
What is Duncannon's stage of action for the following?
  • Our community has strong partnerships with public land agencies
  • Our community offers clear communication about the A.T. to wider audiences
  •  Volunteer leadership for the A.T. in our community is committed
  • New A.T. volunteers have stepped up lately
  • My community offers community-led hikes of the A.T.
  • We have regular programs to protect the A.T.
  • We regularly partner with the ATC on programs
  • The A.T. is included in our community brochures
  • Information about the A.T. is included on our web site
  • Community events have a clear focus on trails and outdoor recreation
Does Duncannon have?
  • Visitor or Community center
  • Comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance
  • Downtown beautification plan
  • Strategic marketing plan
  • Shuttle from A.T. to town
  • Shuttle to points north and south on the A.T.
  • Public transportation/shuttles to the airport
  • Car rental/taxi services

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hawk Rock vista featured on's Pop Quiz!

Those of you cruising the Patriot News' web site yesterday may have noticed a "Pop Quiz! Where in Central PA?" link with a photo of.... Hawk Rock!   See article here.  The scenic Duncannon vista along the Appalachian Trail in Perry County was prominently featured and many guessed correctly in the comments.  

You can bet many mid-staters are now thinking about their next trip up to Duncannon for a hike!  Fall foliage just around the corner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Apple Tree Alley project web site is live!

An informational web site about the Apple Tree AlleyWalk project is live at so residents can learn more about the original concept plans and the significance of the project to community revitalization efforts when considering the upcoming referendum vote.  Project funding has been an important topic, learn more about how the state and federal grants and fundraising from private sources can reduce the amount the Borough would invest significantly on the Funding page.

A PDF of the Apple Tree Alley presentation from the August 16th meeting is available for download here.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00pm at the Borough Office.   Spread the word!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Community Trail Project success story from Blairsville, PA

Recent article from about a Community Trail project  in Blairsville (pop. 3,607) - Indiana County, PA.  

The article notes that: Funding for the trail project includes $281,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $150,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and $10,000 each from the Friends of Blairsville Parks and Recreation Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Foundation, with additional costs covered by local in-kind services.

Blairsville Breaks Ground for Trail 

BLAIRSVILLE -- State. county and local officials gathered last Thursday at the west end of Blairsville's Market Street to celebrate the start of two projects that are meant to boost the town's tourist appeal, quality of life and housing stock.

Construction has begun on the town's long-awaited Riverfront Trail hiking and biking path while demolition of nine vacant properties is under way nearby to clear ground for a proposed Riverfront Village residential development.

Local advocates have pushed for the trail project for more than a decade. It's realization has arrived at a time when, combined with the riverfront housing, it's expected to raise Blairsville's profile as a walkable, bike-friendly community that offers trail and water recreation.
Blairsville Borough is involved in both projects. The borough holds a 25-year lease on the federal flood control property where the trail will run, and an entity borough council created, the Blairsville Community Development Authority, is the prime mover behind the Riverfront Village proposal.

"It's going to be a great redevelopment area down here," borough manager Tim Evans said of the West Market riverfront area. "The buildings have started to come down, and the trail has started. Some dozers have already gone through and cut out the path."  In front of Blairsville's bandstand, at the Diamond intersection of West Market and Liberty streets, the gathered officials last Thursday symbolically broke ground for the 1.8-mile Riverfront Trail. Later, some in attendance walked about two blocks to view the western terminus of the trail, near the intersection of Water and Brown streets.

The trail will arc south of town, roughly parallelling the bank of the Conemaugh River, and will end at WyoTech Park, off Johnston Avenue.  The trail will follow a 25-foot-wide right-of-way granted to Blairsville Borough by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which controls the flood impoundment area along the river.  A finished bed and a surface of mostly crushed limestone is being constructed by the Blairsville-based 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Company and its subcontractor, Gregori Construction and Engineering of Sarver. Evans has said a portion of the trail that will be most prone to flood damage during periods of high water may require a more durable surface.  A trailhead and parking area are to be included at either end of the trail.

The trail construction is to be completed in about three months at a cost to Blairsville Borough that is not to exceed $436,690.  The Indiana County Parks and Trails department has agreed to maintain the Blairsville Riverfront Trail once construction is completed. It will be added to the nearly 46 miles of trails already under the jurisdiction of County Parks and Trails Director Ed Patterson.  Patterson, who is based at Blue Spruce Park north of Indiana, said he and his work crew will rely upon volunteers in the Blairsville community to alert them when a maintenance issue arises.  "We're going to be relying on the community to help us take care of it," Patterson said of the trail. "We're hoping that people will take ownership of it and let us know when something needs addressed."

Blairsville resident and BCDA board member Linda Gwinn, who has been a leading advocate for the Blairsville trail since the inception of planning, expressed confidence that local volunteers organized by the BCDA also will work with the Johnstown-based Natural Biodiversity group to assist in the constant battle of controlling invasive Japanese knotweed along the trail route.  Volunteers additionally will help with litter clean-ups along the trail.

Funding for the trail project includes $281,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $150,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and $10,000 each from the Friends of Blairsville Parks and Recreation Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Foundation, with additional costs covered by local in-kind services.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Borough Purchases Clarks Ferry Tavern

Duncannon Borough Summer 2012 Newsletter announcement:

Standing along on the West side of the Susquehanna River where the Native Americans had a crossing they called "Queenashawakee" and built prior to 1788 is a stone tavern.  John Clark, an early pioneer of what is now Perry County, has been credited with starting a Ferry on this site prior to 1800 and keeping a tavern for the travelers along the first through-road from Huntington to Pittsburgh.

This historic building in the late 18th century being one of the only buildings in the area is now located in the center of the Borough of Duncannon.  While the years have been hard on the old Clarks Ferry Tavern, and its owners many, the historical significance still captures the heart of the local history enthusiasts.

Recently the ownership of the Tavern has fallen upon difficulties and into a state of neglect, finally the building was listed on the open market for purchase from the mortgage holder and Duncannon Borough has purchased the Tavern and the associated land officially closing the deal on July 19, 2012 for the realized price of $50,000.00.

The money was obtained from the Borough's Capital Reserve fund which is made up of monies realized from the sale of timber on the forestry managed watershed.  A few years ago Borough Council voted to use monies from the sale of timber only for capital improvements such as new buildings, facility upgrades, and special projects that are of a "bricks and mortar" nature to improve the Borough.  Borough Council voted 6 in favor to 1 opposed to purchase the tavern based on the asking price and the current condition.  During our discussion many concerns of the purchase were volleyed to include; what may happen if the building was purchased and the buyer decided to dismantle the structure to recover the cut stone?  Can the Borough recover their investment if it proves not to be a worthy project?  What can we do with the structure and the property?  Is it worth saving?  Are we acting responsibly with the monies of the Borough?  These were just a few of the questions bantered about and with the Guidance of our Solicitor to confirm we were acting in a legal and appropriate manner, Borough Council made the offer by resolution.

What will be the future history of the Clarks Ferry Tavern?  Borough Council has decided first to secure the property, evaluate and prevent further deterioration, and maintain the exterior and grounds in an appropriate manner for the short run.  Since our budget does not reflect any planning for owning this property in 2012 we will do the minimum needed to accomplish the above.

Moving forward we will appoint a group of interested residents to look at the many options of what this location could be in the future, how it can be funded for rehabilitation into its new use, and how it will be maintained for future generations.  The possibilities are many and the ideas will grow as our community gets behind a project to save a historic structure.  We look forward to working together as friends and neighbors in the Borough of Duncannon.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on this project email your contact information to or stop by the Borough Office and let one of the office staff know.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Apple Tree Alley Public Meeting Schedule

As residents may have seen in the Summer Duncannon Borough Newsletter, the Borough has planned a series of upcoming public meetings to discuss the Apple Tree Alley project regarding a plan to move forward and a referendum question to appear on the November ballot.

Learn more about the Apple Tree Alley project and potential benefits.

While the project is in essence a community pedestrian/bikepath (that also allows for vehicle access), its regional significance and potential positive community and economic impacts make it an important piece of transportation infrastructure in the Borough's downtown area.  In addition to providing new amenities and healthy exercise opportunities for Borough residents, the Alleywalk will enhance Duncannon's attraction as an Appalachian Trail Community and destination for outdoor recreation tourism.  

Duncannon resident and Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee attendance at upcoming public meetings is encouraged to both show support and learn more about this exciting project!  

The schedule will be as follows: 
  • August 16th, 7:30pm at Duncannon Borough Office
  • September 11th, 7:30pm at Duncannon Borough Office
  • October 20th, 9:30am at Duncannon Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Susquenita Teachers Hit the Trail!

On Wednesday, July 25th, 27 teachers from Susquenita School took to the Appalachian Trail in Perry County!  Susquenita Middle School civics teacher and Trail to Every Classroom alum Paul Marth did an awesome job coordinating three group hikes and providing outdoor education materials for an In-Service Day in Susquenita’s “backyard.”  While taking breathers along the trek, readings from both Bill Bryon’s A Walk in the Woods and Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods added to the experience in highlighting the benefits of direct exposure to nature for children and the Appalachian Trail as a resource and outdoor classroom.  

ATC staff were able to join the teachers in their hikes traversing Cove and Kittatinny Mountains.  One group did 5 miles on the Darlington Trail and Appalachian Trail from the ridge of Kittatinny Mountain to PA-850 and two groups hiked 7 miles from the PA-850 parking area, up Cove Mountain, and then down into Duncannon.  The path was well-blazed thanks to Susquenita efforts earlier in the year

Handing out maps and excerpts from A Walk in the Woods.

The group on the Darlington Trail, criss-crossing Cumberland & Perry Counties.

Appalachian Trail crossing farm fields in Rye Township.

Susquenita Group at Hawk Rock.

Hikers at the intersection of the Darlington Trail & A.T. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Duncannon A.T. Community Committee joins Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau

The Duncannon A.T. Community Committee recently became the newest member of Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau!  Check out the DATC page on their web site.

This represents an important step in promoting economic development through outdoor recreational tourism.  Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau provides opportunities for collaborative marketing of Duncannon as an Appalachian Trail Community, as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and as a gateway to to exploring Perry County from the Capitol area.  

Collaborative marketing is critical to attracting visitors as "Trail towns" are not stand-alone communities; they are linked by the trail corridor and part of a regional set of attractions that will invite visitors to an area to enjoy its many offerings.

The mission of Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau is to generate economic growth and stability for Dauphin and Perry Counties through the marketing and promotion of the Hershey Harrisburg region as a competitive meeting, corporate and leisure destination, and to coalesce, develop and expand its hospitality industry, products and workforce. 

Other Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau members in the greater Duncannon area include Blue Mountain Outfitters, Buddy Boy Winery, Hearts Design at Needful Things, Perry County Council of the Arts, Perry County Chamber of Commerce, the Perry County Fair and the Historical Society of Perry County.

And don't forget to check out the Appalachian Trail and Little Buffalo State Park!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Updates from the Appalachian Trail Community Network

A.T. Community Coordinator Julie Judkins has launched an AppalachianTrail Community blog!  
Visit to learn more about newly designated communities, the A.T. Community Ambassadors and their work, and successful projects and initiatives in communities across the Appalachian Trail Corridor.  One of the benefits of participation in the A.T. Community program is information and idea-sharing across the network of trail towns along the corridor.  So check it out and think about updates to send from Duncannon!

The Front Royal/Warren County, VA A.T. Community Committee also launched their own blog to send updates about their projects and programming as an A.T. Community and local tourism information.  Visit their blog here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Measuring the Economic Impact of Special Events, a Case Study from Missisippi

A research team for the annual Peter Anderson Arts Festival that takes place in Ocean Springs, Mississippi recently completed their second economic impact study to measure the positive influences the event has on the local economy.  The first economic impact study of the event, conducted in 2010, revealed that the annual festival grossed $13 million in a town of 18,000 people. 

The local economies of many towns depend on the revenue, employment and income that festivals and events bring to the community.  The Peter Anderson Arts Festival happens on a very large scale in a larger town, but check out the article at the above link to learn more about the local tourism strategies and the economic impacts that events and festivals can have on the local economy.

On another note, the Ned Smith Nature and Arts Festival is coming up in Millersburg on July 28th!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apple Tree Alley discussed at June Borough Council meeting

The Alleywalk behind Old Sledworks (from SEDA-COG plans)
Apple Tree Alley is an old railroad right-of-way running from Fritz Avenue to Noye Park between High and Market Streets in Duncannon Borough and future plans for this underutilized corridor were up for discussion at the June Borough Council meeting as funding opportunities for federal and state programs have been proposed.  In 2009, SEDA-COG completed concept plans to convert the Alley into a pedestrian/bike-path for community use.  As proposed, the AlleyWalk would extend approximately one mile in length between Little Juniata Creek and Fritz Avenue.  The AlleyWalk would be constructed within the limits of the existing Borough right-of-way and could also serve as the route of the Appalachian Trail through the Borough - guiding hikers through a linear town park with connecting hiker-amenities, community services, historic sites, and businesses.  

But even more than its significance within the Susquehanna Greenway and Appalachian Trail Corridor, the SEDA-COG concept plans note that the Alleywalk is about making Duncannon a better place - increasing its attraction as a place to live, work and play - and improving public health by making better use of Apple Tree Alley as a community destination for walking and bicycling.  The Alleywalk can also enhance real estate value and create new business opportunity in Duncannon.  While maintenance of existing infrastructure is always important, this project is considered an investment geared towards improving public health, beautifying the downtown area, and better taking advantage of the outdoor recreation and heritage tourism visitor spending in the greater Capitol region.

At the June meeting, Borough Council voted to proceed in holding public meetings and beginning to address right-of-way issues, with the caveat that the project will be on the ballot in November as a non-binding referendum.  Stay tuned for public meeting announcements in the Borough Newsletter!
In a similar-type project, Millersburg recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their Riverfront Park which includes an asphalt hiking/biking pathway, additional paved parking and the erection of a welcome center.  Read more in a recent article from the Republican-Herald or better yet, go check it out!! 

Millersburg Riverfront Park boasts new path, upgrades

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Duncannon A.T. Community proclamation caught on Video!

Thanks to Rose Jenkins for video-taping the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community proclamation read by ATC’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Karen Lutz, and Mayor of Duncannon Borough, Kraig Nace.   Watch below on YouTube.

Also be sure to check out Brian "Nimble" McPherson's Katahdin Song!   A special Duncannon version was performed at the designation event on June 2nd.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Susquenita Middle School Post Card Art Contest Winners

Post Card Design Winners from each grade on display at ATC's Mid-Atlantic Regional Office!
This past Saturday the A.T. Community designation ceremony was kicked off by Susquenita Middle School and Trail to Every Classroom teacher Paul Marth awarding the winners of the Post Card Art Contest from each grade!

The winners are (clockwise from top left): 
  • Michaela Todaro - Grade 5
  • Hanna Luzier - Grade 8
  • Danielle Bentley - Grade 7
  • Cali Beasom - Grade 6
Congratulations!!  Many other Middle School students submitted awesome designs as well that were on display this past Saturday at event central.  These post cards are available in downtown businesses and the post office in Duncannon for hikers and visitors to mail home - and for residents to enjoy.

Special thanks to Paul Marth for coordinating, Susquenita Middle School art teacher Abby Fisher, the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Advisory Committee for funding printing, and of course to all the amazingly talented students that submitted their designs!  This will hopefully be the beginning of an annual tradition in Duncannon that will also spread to Appalachian Trail Communities from Georgia to Maine. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Event Photos from Sedentary Steve

Thanks to Trailangel Mary and lead photographer Annie Leiby for planning to have photographers stationed at all of the day’s events!  Can't wait to see some of the photo booth shots.  Steve Fehr, or “Sedentary Steve,” as he’s known in the Trail community, sent over a set of photos from the day’s events.  A few are posted below or visit his Picasa web album for a whole gallery.  Be sure to check out Sedentary Steve's "Tales from the Trail", a series of thru-hiker interviews he did in 2002.  It's great stuff!

Hikers heading to Hawk Rock (Photo: Steve Fehr)

New Mural by Muralists Carol & Alston Boyd (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Steve Saffier of PA Audubon (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Cumberland Street (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Portrait Artist on Cumberland St. (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Hikers at the Mountain Club of MD Tent (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Randy "Windtalker" Motz performs (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Trailangel Mary reads excerpt from Nat Geo (Photo: Steve Fehr)

A.T. Community designation ceremony (Photo: Steve Fehr)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Inaugural Duncannon A.T. Community a SUCCESS!

Congratulations to the entire Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community advisory committee and Trailangel Mary for a successful event this past Saturday!  

Photo by Sean O'Shell of (Click for larger view)

Trail and Duncannon-enthusiasts turned out in droves on the beautiful day for morning hikes sponsored by area Trail clubs, information & retail vendors, live entertainment, and Trail-related programs.  A designation ceremony capped things off at 2:45pm when the Susquenita Middle School Post-Card Art Contest winners were awarded and speakers from the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail Museum Society, Perry County Commission, PA State House of Representatives, and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Lancaster County Conservancy President & CEO, Ralph Goodno, informed attendees of the reasons we need to get our children and citizens out-of-doors and what we can do going forward to see this change.  Appalachian Trail Conservancy Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Karen Lutz, and Duncannon Major, Kraig Nace followed with the reading of the A.T. Community Proclamation.  Thanks to Mayor Nace for serving as master of ceremonies.  Thanks again to ALL THE VOLUNTEERS that helped make this event a success.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A.T. Photo-Booth and Parking for Saturday's Event

See below map for available parking and shuttle stops on June 2nd in Duncannon.  Street parking may be available as well. 

Click on image for larger view.

And Committee member Annie Leiby -- of A View of the Soul Photography -- will be hosting an Appalachian Trail photo-booth on Cumberland St. during the event!  See backdrop below.   Photos will be available for download for $5 after the event and proceeds will be donated to DATC.

Mountain Club of Maryland June 2nd Trail Maintenance Trip

Luke Johnson & Jerry Wright out on the Trail
The Mountain Club of Maryland (MCM) trail maintenance trip heading up Cove Mountain will meet at the Recycle Center on Saturday morning, June 2nd at 9:30am.  Join in to help out and learn about how the local clubs maintain the Appalachian Trail before the big event!  Contact Jerry Wright or Mike O'Connor with questions.

Susquenita High School sophomore, Luke Johnson, has been helping out with Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community efforts as part of his Senior Project since early 2012.  He spent a day out on the Trail helping out MCM Trail Maintainer Jerry Wright back in early May and has since been painting fresh blazes on the Cove Mountain section of the Trail.  Thanks to Luke and his mother Beth for all their help!  And to MCM for taking on such a worthy apprentice.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Muralists Carol & Alston Boyd signing Duncannon "Trails" Mural on June 2nd at 12pm

Muralists hard at work.   Photo by Mary Parry.
Before you hop on over to Cumberland street for the day’s festivities on June 2nd, stop by the site of the new Duncannon Trails mural at 12pm to see the muralists sign their nearly-completed work.  The mural is painted on the side of the Rt 11/15 retaining wall in Duncannon across the parking lot from Perry County Beer & Soda.  Muralist Carol Boyd and her son Alston will be working hard over the next few days, weather pending, to finish up as much as possible before Saturday’s event.  So excited to see the finished product!  The mural project has been coordinated by Trailangel Mary and a special thanks to PNC Bank for financial support, PennDOT District 8 for allowing DATC to use the wall, and Duncannon resident Brian Barlup for lending scaffolding.

Out on the Trail: Duncannon ready for big National Trails Day

Thanks to Rita Floriani, Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club member, for this awesome article in the Reading Eagle!  Only 2 days until the event!!  Visit

Duncannon, PA -- All across America, a vast array of hikes and outdoor activities will be taking place this Saturday as the nation celebrates the American Hiking Society's 20th annual National Trails Day. The theme for this year's National Trails Day is "America's Largest Trailgating Party."

Perhaps one of the largest trail parties that will be held this day will be the one over in Duncannon, Perry County, as the borough residents join members of the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club, the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club, the Mountain Club of Maryland, long distance hikers and the hiking community at large, along with the members and staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, as they all come together to celebrate the borough of Duncannon being designated as an Appalachian Trail Community by the Conservancy.

Being designated an Appalachian Trail Community is an initiative by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to get communities located near the Appalachian Trail involved in helping to protect the trail for future generations.

Located 12 miles north of Harrisburg on the western edge of the Susquehanna River, this tiny town of 1,334 people is well acquainted with Appalachian Trail hikers; more than a mile of the Appalachian Trail runs straight through the main streets of Duncannon.

The Appalachian Trail enters the south side of town where the trail descends off of Cove Mountain and into the Susquehanna water gap. Hawk Rock, a lookout high over the town, offers a view of Duncannon, the Susquehanna River and on the northern end of the town, a view of the Juniata River as it flows into the Susquehanna.

Hikers follow the standard 2-by-6-inch white-painted blazes of the Appalachian Trail off the mountain and across Sherman's Creek and the Little Juniata Creek. After walking under the underpass of Routes 11 and 15, hikers enter Duncannon on Market Street and reach the town square.

Double white-painted blazes on a corner phone pole direct the hiker to make a left turn onto Cumberland Street and then a right hand turn onto High Street. The hiker will follow High Street north for more than a mile until double blazes indicate a right turn and then a left.

The white blazes lead the hiker across the Route 849 Bridge over the Juniata River and immediately over the Clarks Ferry Bridge, which crosses the great Susquehanna River before leaving the gap and climbing Peter's Mountain on the eastern shore.

Rarely does a hiker enter the town of Duncannon and not take a break from the trail. In the main square there is a well known hiker stop, the Doyle Hotel, where hikers can purchase beverages not found on the Appalachian Trail. Hikers have access to a grocery store, a laundromat, restaurants and a post office.

The streets of Duncannon will be blocked off this Saturday for the festivities. Planned events include the following:

Hikes will be led up to Hawk Rock by the Susquehanna Trail Club and the Mountain Club of Maryland.

There will be a trail maintenance hike with the Mountain Club of Maryland.

The PA Game Commission will be leading a guided bird hike on Haldeman Island, which is usually closed to the public. Registration is required for the bird walk.

The Susquehanna Rovers Volksmarch Club will be leading 5K and 10K walks.

Blue Mountain Outfitters will be holding trips on the Susquehanna River.

The Duncannon Fire Company will be having a chicken barbecue. There will be music, vendor tables and outdoor-related presentations. Speakers at the main ceremony will be from the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Trail Museum and a Perry County commissioner.

With a full day of activities, it looks like it's going to be one very big day for the little trail town of Duncannon.

Email Rita Floriani: