This past October Governor Josh Shapiro and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DNCR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced a $52.5 million investment for more than 225 recreation and conservation projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities. We are excited $1.5 million of that investment occurs within the South Mountain Region.
This funding comes from the Keystone Fund, generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, fees for ATV/Snowmobile licenses, and federal monies.
This announcement has special implications for the South Mountain Region, including funding the South Mountain Partnership. As a Conservation Landscape Initiative, we rely on this funding for our 2024 Mini-Grant Program, staff salaries, communications, and annual programs like convening partners, organizing events, Walk and Talks, and Science Summit and Research Corps. Especially exciting, this grant allows the Partnership to take action on the State of the Region Report Card; through a Natural Heritage Inventory Update across the region. We are so grateful for the continued support of PA DCNR for these efforts!
We are also glad to report this funding included a total allocation of almost $1.5 million in our region alone (see chart below for details) and will fund land acquisition, community parks, and trails across the South Mountain landscape.
As Katie Hess, Director of the South Mountain Partnership shared, “The Environmental Stewardship Fund, part of the Growing Greener initiative, is crucial because it is one of only a few sources available in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties to conserve and steward farms and farmland, historic places, a healthy environment, and outdoor recreation infrastructures. We need more of this funding because we are seeing loss of farmland, scenic views, and wildlife and habitat, and more flooding events, and increasing traffic. We are seeing major changes in the region and over the next 20 years, the quality of our environment will impact our ability to attract business location and investment, stimulate tourism and recreation, improve public health, and attract wealth because people want to live in and visit beautiful, healthy places.”