South Mountain Partnership- Regional Capacity Building Initiative

The South Mountain Region connects portions of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties in south central Pennsylvania. It covers approximately half a million acres from a forested upland ridgeline to fertile agricultural valleys. The South Mountain Partnership is a regional, landscape-scale conservation project in one of seven Conservation Landscapes identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

The Chesapeake Bay Trust recently selected the South Mountain Region to participate in a capacity building program. The 12 Core Partners below are working to decide on the group’s goals and priorities and create a governance structure in order to apply for funding over the next 2-3 years of this project.

  • Audubon Pennsylvania
  • Cumberland Area Economic Development
  • Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau
  • Capital Resource Conservation & Development
  • Cumberland County Planning Department
  • Dickinson College
  • Franklin County Planning Department
  • Franklin County Visitors Bureau
  • Partnership For Better Health
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Wilson College
  • York County Planning Commission
2016 Minigrant Award: Visualizing Regional Investments

In 2017, the Center for Land Use and Sustainability developed a story map to illustrate the project funded through the South Mountain Mini-Grant program, as well as establish a sustainable framework to update and maintain this product over the long term. This student created story map shows the locations of each funded project, either the geographic location of an on-the-ground project or the location of the lead organization, along with photos and text describing the project and, where relevant, links to documents or reports that came out of the project. Explore the story map here:

2016 Minigrant Award: Michaux State Forest Predictive Model
In 2017, Dr. Paul Marr partnered with Matapeake Soil LLC and PennDot archaeologist Joe Baker to develop a predictive model for the locations of historic and prehistoric cultural features in the Carbaugh Run Natural Area of Michaux State Forest. In particular, research focused on very fine-grained metarhyolite (a rock that is well suited for tool-making). The baseline data collected for this research will aid resource managers in protecting important archaeological sites across the South Mountain Landscape.

South Mountain is a landscape containing significant cultural resources that are heavily utilized. These different, and often competing, uses require cooperation from a variety of interested parties. Prehistoric archaeological sites in the region face pressure from decades of artifact collecting, timber sales, and other potentially destructive activities. Resource managers and researchers often encounter difficulties in locating prehistoric cultural features (specifically metarhyolite quarries) using traditional field methods alone. This project has provided a regionally specific tool for those interested parties as they try to balance the needs of the users of each landscape. Modeling, predicting and mapping these sites gives us to greater insight, not only as specific cultural features, but also their relationship to each other and the broader pre-historic landscape. We hope to foster a greater understanding of the importance of South Mountain’s prehistoric cultural resources, while at the same time preserving these sites for future examination.

Through this research, we were able to find previously unrecorded prehistoric quarry (archaeological) sites. Our team developed field computer techniques to help distinguish cultural sites and natural features, and compiled a database that will be useful for future archaeological investigations. Our most important contribution was the discovery of a large number of isolated quarry locations and far fewer quarrying complexes consisting of multiple individual quarries. This suggests that although there was widespread use of metarhyolite, metarhyolite from certain locations had characteristics that made it much more desirable. Future research should focus on determining those specific metarhyolite characteristics.

PennDOT archaeologist Joe Baker (left) and others examine prehistoric artifacts piled at the base of a tree by illegal artifact collectors

Large quarry pit with hiking pole for scale

Large metarhyolite outcrop in the Carbaugh Run Natural Area

Affiliated Scientists:

Claire Jantz, Ph.D. – Past Director

Deputy Secretary

B.A. in College Scholars from University of Tennessee M.A. in Geography from University of Maryland Ph.D. in Geography from University of Maryland Dr. Claire Jantz is the former Director of the CLUS. She has extensive expertise in land use and land cover change...
College of Arts & Sciences

Paul Marr, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Geography-Earth Science

B.A. in Anthropology from University of North Texas M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of North Texas Ph.D. in Geography from University of Denver My interests include historical geography, statistical techniques for spatial sciences, and spatial analyses of historical data. Additionally,...

Joshua Barth

Graduate Student Fellow

Joshua earned an A.S. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Burlington County College and a B.S. in Geology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He is currently pursuing a M.S. in Geoenvironmental Studies at Shippensburg University. Joshua enjoys...

Patricia Newdeck

Graduate Student Fellow

Trish applied her BS in Geosciences (Penn State) toward an environmental consulting career where she performed soil and groundwater investigations and designed remediations plans for industrial and petrochemical clients.  As an SU graduate student, Trish is gaining GIS processing skills and and land use...