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:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Making a weekend out of it? Check out Duncannon Area Attractions

Come enjoy the attractions, businesses and historic sites in Duncannon either this weekend or next time you come back to town!

The Appalachian Trail runs right through the Borough on High St., but it starts to climb Cove Mountain at the south end of town off Inn Rd. once you cross Sherman’s Creek – offering awesome views once you reach Hawk Rock!  Across the Clarks Ferry Bridge the Trail takes off north, climbing up to the ridge of Peters Mountain offering great views back over Duncannon and south to the Susquehanna Water Gaps.

Blue Mountain Outfitters paddle trip on the Susquehanna
The Doyle Hotel on Duncannon Square is where you’re likely to meet a flock of thru-hikers stopping to enjoy some tasty food (with a Cajun flair!) and local brews.  Owners Pat and Vickey Kelly will take great care of you!  Rooms are available at great rates.  Other places to grab a bite in town include The Pub, Sorrentos Pizza, Goody’s Restaurant and RoadHawg BBQ.

Interested in a good paddle or need to pick up some hiking/outdoor gear?  Stop by Blue Mountain Outfitters in Marysville, located in the Old Train Station and offering guided trips, canoe and kayak retail sales, livery services and repair services. Owners Doug and Mary Gibson also design, manufacture, and sell their own line of canoe and kayak trailers.  Also in Marysville is the Bridgeview Bed & Breakfast, nestled along the west shore of the Susquehanna River, with a splendid view of the Susquehanna Valley, including the famous Rockville Bridge.

View from Duncannon Tower at Old Sledworks
Old Sledworks located at 722 North Market St. houses over 125 antique and craft vendors!  A visit to the OLD SLED WORKS will take you back in time. Experience a working Old Time Penny Arcade and Soda Fountain, spend some time in our Sled Museum for a look at some of the early Lightning Guider sleds and other items produced for 85 years in this old factory. You can also climb the Duncannon Tower, an old forest fire lookout tower moved to the Old Sled Works in 1999. This restored 110' tower offers a wonderful view of the Susquehanna River and surrounding landscape.

Across the street from Old Sledworks you’ll find the SusquehannaGreenway interpretive panels that highlight local historic attractions and orient you to Duncannon’s location in the Susquehanna Greenway corridor.

Travel just south of the Borough on Rt 11/15 and you’ll find one of the newest additions to the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail, Buddy Boy Winery – offering tastings (though they may be closed for a private event on June 2nd). 

Duncannon is actually located along the Rt 15 Byway of the Arts, a PA Artisan Trail.  This Artisan Trail is approximately 180 miles running north to south, captivating you with rural hideaways and quaint shops to hip urban galleries and distinctive lodging choices.  Check out a map of places to stop here.

Visitors can also stay at the Riverfront Campground or Stardust Motel right in Duncannon.  For a bit of upscale-country luxury, the Pretty Meadow Farm Bed and Breakfast in the nearby small village of Markelsville offers a meticulously restored, four-suite farmhouse that sits on a picturesque property in the heart of Perry County.  Pretty Meadow is also a working cattle farm!

AND MUCH MORE!  For other things to do around the region check out Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau's web site.  Post additional things to do in Duncannon in comments and they will be added!

Thanks to Those Who Have Donated Prizes!

Albert Dragon, Avalanche and Gorilla Jim
Charlie “Linguini” Duane, Racing Light the Soft Power of a Day’s Walk
Gene Espy, The Trail of My Life, The Gene Espy Story
Jennifer “Odyssa” Pharr Davis, Becoming Odyssa
J.R. “Model T” Tate, “Walkin’ with Ghost Whisperers,” Lore & Legends of the Appalachian Trail
Larry Luxenberg, Walking the Appalachian Trail
Nature Nymph LLC, Gail Lowe, Instructional Backpacking Series, “Amateur to Ace”
Paralee "Trapper Lee" Dawson, Living a Dream: Laughter, Pain and Life on the Appalachian Trail
Randy “Windtalker” Motz & Georgia “Mom” Harris, Solemates and The Walk
Scott Wade, Big Trees of Pennsylvania Register
Terry “Bluebird” Croteau, Footpath My Ass!
The Barefoot Sister, Walking Home and Southbound

Ambrus Eniko, Jewelry
Annie Leiby, A View of the Soul Photography
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Bass Pro Shop
Blue Mountain Outfitters
Brenda Benner, Perry County Commissioner
Country Wood Bird Houses and Toys, Mable Lopp
Dalton Liddick
Daniel G. Heacock, Mountain Bloom Honey
Darlene King, D. King Photography
“Fishin’ Fred” Orser
Gander Mountain
Ginny Reich, T.H.G. Studio
Gwen Lehman, Audubon PA
Hattie Snavely, Tastefully Simple
Jasmine Colbert, PCCA
Libby Goodhart, My Wife’s Barn
Mark "Koru" Vincent, Maori Koru Necklaces
Mary “Trailangelmary” Parry, ATC Membership
Mary “Welsh Nomad” Morgan
Nancy “Slim” Robinson
Perry County Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Jones, A.T. Poster Postcards
Sharon "Wonder" Hart, Jewelry
Sheldon P. Ott, Appalachian Primitives
Susquehanna River Trail Association

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DATC on Youtube: Announcing Duncannon PA Appalachian Trail Festival June 2, 2012

Special thanks to Sean O'Shell for putting together this awesome video narrated by Trailangel Mary announcing Saturday's event!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Duncannon's June 2nd event, Trailangel Mary and The Doyle Hotel featured on WITF's SmartTalk

This morning’s Memorial Day Weekend episode of WITF’s Radio Smart Talk hosted by Scott LaMar featured Jim Foster, President of Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club and Curt Ashenfelter, Executive Director of Keystone Trails Association.   In addition to offering up a variety of information about hiking and local trails to explore, they mentioned exciting upcoming events on National Trails Day including Duncannon’s Appalachian Trail Community designation!

Follow the link below to hear Jim and Curt tell Smart Talk listeners about the upcoming event, the warm hospitality towards hikers in Duncannon and local Trail institutions in both Trailangel Mary and the famed Doyle Hotel.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Photos from Duncannon "Trails" Mural Prep-work

Earlier this month, Trailangel Mary, muralist Carol Boyd and a few volunteers started prep-work on the Rt 11/15 retaining wall across from Perry County Beer & Soda slated for a DATC mural project!   The planned vision for the mural entails a map of area trails with significant landscapes and wildlife artistically featured.Special thanks to PNC Bank for sponsoring the mural!

Stay tuned for opportunities to help out with the community mural project, and there's only 11 DAYS until the June 2nd designation event.  The last DATC prep meeting to tie up loose ends prior to the event is taking place tomorrow evening (5/23) at 6:30pm at the Borough Office.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

SATC Hikes on June 2nd - Haldeman Island & Hawk Rock

Sign up for hikes hosted by Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club as part of the Duncannon area's National Trails Day schedule - followed the the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community designation festival!  The two hikes are: 

June 2, Saturday, 8:00AM 
Haldeman Island Birdwalk
P: Leisurely T: Easy L: 2 miles, 0 driving miles 

Join Scott Bills of the PA Game Commission on a guided Haldeman Island birding hike. Usually closed to the public, this 990-acre island is managed by the PA Game Commission for waterfowl and served as a rearing location for young eagles brought to PA from Canada as part of the eagle restoration area. Bring binoculars and wear light-colored clothing and hiking boots. This hike is part of Duncannon's National Trails Day hosted by local hiking clubs prior to the Borough's A.T. Community designation festival at noon. Must register with hike leader in advance. MEET at Haldeman Island parking area, accessible off PA 11/15 N just north and across from Ranch House Restaurant, Duncannon. Follow the driveway back to parking. Leader: Kim McKee,


June 2, Saturday, 8:30AM 
Hawk Rock Hike for Duncannon A.T. Designation Day
P: Average T: Strenuous L: 8 miles, 0 driving miles 

Hike up to Hawk Rock as part of the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Designation celebration. This hike is for the intermediate to advanced hikers. We'll take the steep way up the A.T. to Hawk Rock. We'll continue on the A.T. for a few miles and turn down a steep side trail to a forest road that will take us back to Duncannon. MEET only at the Duncannon Recycling parking area at the end of Watershed Drive. Leader: Trisha Sanders,

See SATC's hike schedule for all hikes & activities in the coming months and see the Duncannon event web site for info on the remainder of the June 2nd hikes.  Hope to see some of you out on the Trail!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mini A.T. Race prizes for June 2nd event

DATC has been collecting door prizes and prizes for mini-Appalachian Trail race participants at the June 2nd designation event.  Donations thus far have been collected from Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Gander Mountain and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  ATC's prizes just arrived at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office today including a few t-shirts, tote bags and day-pack!  See photo at right.  Two of the Appalachian Trail Community street signs (pictured at right) will be presented to the Borough at the June 2nd designation ceremony as well!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Norfolk Southern Enola Yard Diesel Shop employees pitch in to clean out River Arches

Photos by Mary Parry
Norfolk Southern Corporation’s spring volunteer day brought employees from the Enola Yard Diesel Shop to the Borough of Duncannon this past Saturday, May 12th with enthusiasm and a back-hoe to help improve access points to the Susquehanna River in the downtown area.   The railroad helpers pitched in with assistance from Borough workers and community volunteers to help scrape sediment, even out the floor and clear brush and debris from under the railroad arches.  They were finishing up just as the first batch of paddlers marched their boats down Ann St. to put-in under the arch on the beautiful day.

The idea for this effort came from Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club President Karen Balaban and was coordinated with assistance from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and DATC as a lead-in to the upcoming Appalachian Trail CommunityTM designation eventThe arch-ways receive heavy use from recreational paddlers and pedestrians accessing scenic views of the broad river and surrounding forested ridges.  The Norfolk Southern group’s collaborative efforts with the local community will maximize resources towards improving public safety for pedestrian access following damage from last year’s flooding, helping prevent future erosion, and enhancing the appearance of the river access points.

 “Many of our employees live in Perry County and recognize this rail line for the beautiful scenery of the Susquehanna Water Gaps,” said NSCorp. Enola Diesel Shop Senior General Foreman, Archie Glace.  “We’re happy to help improve local access to the river under our tracks and strengthen ties with the communities where our people live and work.”

For more awesome photos taken by Trailangel Mary, view the facebook photo album here!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Smokey the Bear attending the June 2nd event!

Smokey the Bear - forest fire safety guru, mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, and all around fine individual - has confirmed his attendance at Duncannon's Appalachian Trail Community designation festival on June 2nd!  Come visit him on Cumberland St. between noon and 4pm.

We're sure glad he's coming in light of the recent wildfires in Tuscarora State Forest and up on Peter's Mountain.   Learn more about Smokey and his message at and be sure to visit Smokey's special kids section with lots of games, stories and fun!  

Special thanks to the DCNR Bureau of Forestry regional Fire Warden for helping bring Smokey to our event!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Susquehanna Rovers Volksmarch Club to lead 5K & 10K walks on June 2nd

As part of Saturday morning National Trails Day activities in advance of the designation event, on June 2nd the Susquehanna Rovers Volksmarch Club will be leading 5k and 10k (3.1 and 6.2 miles respectively) self-guided walks along the Appalachian Trail through Duncannon (maps and directions will be provided). 

Start/Finish location is at the Senior Center, located in the Asbury Methodist Church, 27 North High Street, Duncannon. Start times are from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with all walkers to be finished by 4:00 p.m. Walks are free to non-IVA-AVA participants and are suitable for all ages with hike rating of 1A. Register at the Start location. Pre-registration is not necessary. For further information, contact Charlie Johnson at

The Susquehanna Rovers are a group of people in Central PA and surrounding areas who share a love of the outdoors and an interest in walking.  Rovers range in age from babies in backpacks to folks in their 80's, and they come from all walks of life.

Susquehanna Rovers are part of a worldwide network of similar clubs, all of whom host and take part in volkssporting events.  "Volkssport" means people's sport.  There are four main sports - walking, biking, swimming and cross country skiing.  Walks, or volksmarches, are the most popular type of event.

DATC is very excited to have the Rovers joining the day's events!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Designation announced on Patriot News blog

Marcus Schneck of The Patriot News reports:  

Duncannon to be named an official Appalachian TrailCommunity

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will designate Duncannon, Pennsylvania, as the newest Appalachian Trail Community on Saturday, June 2, in conjunction with National Trails Day.

The designation festival, which is titled "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder, begins at noon.

It will include workshops, presentations, sponsored hikes with local trail groups, live music, vendors and a raffle and sponsored hikes with local trail groups, to be followed by a ceremony at 2:45 p.m.

According to ATC, the designation is coming to Duncannon because the community works collaboratively to bring awareness to the AT and to their respective community highlighting the trail as a national resource and international icon.  During the ceremony the ATC and town leaders will speak with a proclamation signing and an unveiling of new community signs.  

"Each year, municipal leaders, members of the Boy and Girl Scouts, Trail Angels, local citizens, and members of the school community take a great deal of pride in making Duncannon part of the trail by offering a unique experience for those passing through a community nestled along the sparkling Susquehanna River. It is indeed an honor to be one of a small number of towns through which the Trail directly passes," wrote Daniel Sheats, superintendent of schools, in his letter supporting the community designation.

The festival also will announce the winners of a fourth grade postcard art contest, which will be made available for sale at local businesses.

The Appalachian Trail Community designation is a new program of the ATC, the nonprofit responsible for management and protection of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Launched in 2010, this program recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the AT as an important local and national asset.

Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community is aimed to engage community residents, trail visitors and stewards; thank communities for their decades of service to hikers; aAct as a catalyst for sustainable economic development; aid municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning initiatives; and promote the trail as a community resource and asset

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail," said Julie Judkins, community program manager for the ATC. "These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning as well as support healthy lifestyles for community citizens."

A Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Advisory Committee was formed to process the community's application, and will continue to work on behalf of the outdoor recreation and natural assets in the area.
The committee is also planning improved river access and downtown beautification through their support of Apple Tree Alley, a proposed site plan that would transform the underused old railroad right-of-way corridor into a new space for community use and serve as the route of the AT in Duncannon, guiding hikers through a town park to connect them with amenities, river access points and businesses.

"Each hiker experiences not only a piece of America as they stroll Duncannon's sidewalks, but also senses the welcoming atmosphere innate to the neighborhood," said Karen Balaban, president of the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club.

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains.

The AT runs about 2,180 miles from Maine to Georgia, making it one of the longest, continuously marked footpathes in the world.

Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours each year on trail-related work and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the AT each year.  This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the AT. 

Potential Economic Benefits of Apple Tree Alleywalk

The Apple Tree Alleywalk project will be on the agenda at the upcoming Borough Council meeting on May 15th at 7pm.  Show your support for this innovative trail/greenway project that would be both a great asset to residents and an attraction for visitors.  More info on the potential economic benefits of Apple Tree Alley  below or learn more about the economic impacts of Trails in Damascus, Virginia.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Volunteers needed to help with Duncannon Trails Mural!

Mural art by Carol Boyd
A group is meeting this eve at 6pm in the Perry County Beer Lot to start washing the PA-11/15 retaining wall slated for an upcoming mural that will feature a map of trails in the greater Duncannon area with natural features drawn artistically.  Muralist Carol Boyd will be coordinating the effort.  Head out there to help out if you can!

The next DATC meeting will be held 
Monday, May 7th at 6:30pm at the Borough Office on N. High St.  More upcoming dates include: