CARLISLE, PA (May 7, 2012) - Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard Allan will visit Cumberland County on May 11 to tour the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail and celebrate the beginning of a project to connect the trail into downtown Shippensburg and an effort to extend the trail east from Newville to Carlisle.

Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council (CVRTC) recently received a $150,000 DCNR grant to complete the Shippensburg portion of the trail. Previously, a $96,500 DCNR grant was awarded for the Newville to Carlisle Extension.

The visit is part of a larger landscape tour organized by the South Mountain Partnership.

The South Mountain Partnership is a unified group of private citizens, business, not for profit organizations and governmental officials working to protect, preserve and enhance the South Mountain Landscape in Central Pennsylvania (Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York Counties). The Partnership is lead jointly by DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The purpose of the South Mountain Landscape Tour is to highlight projects and accomplishments of the members of the South Mountain Partnership. The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail is the feature project on the Cumberland County portion of the tour. A press event and short tour of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail will occur Friday, May 11, 2012 at 9 AM at Shippensburg Township Park, Britton Road, Shippensburg, PA. The public and media are invited to attend the event, along with local municipal officials and trail stakeholders.

The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail is a multi-use, handicapped accessible trail that extends approximately 10 miles from Shippensburg to Newville along the alignment of the abandoned Cumberland Valley Railroad. The trail is owned and managed by the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council (CVRTC). CVRTC is an all-volunteer, non-profit, charitable corporation dedicated to conservation, historic preservation, recreation and alternative transportation in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania through the development of multi-use trails along former railroad corridors and other areas.

Highlights of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail press event will include a celebration of two major accomplishments. At the close of 2011, CVRTC acquired approximately 100 acres of land from PPL Corporation. This land is the core of a proposed trail expansion which will extend the existing trail another 10 miles from Newville to Carlisle. This summer, CVRTC will begin development of a Master Site Plan/Feasibility Study for the proposed Carlisle expansion.

The other significant accomplishment for CVRTC is the Fogelsanger Road Bridge/Downtown Shippensburg Connector Trail project. Funding was recently awarded to the organization to design and build a bridge over Fogelsanger Road and lay approximately 1 mile of trail into downtown Shippensburg. This project is over 10 years in the making and will create a critical trail link across Shippensburg University Campus and into downtown Shippensburg.

For more information on the event for the South Mountain Partnership, contact Kimberly Williams, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, at (717) 258-5771 or or Stephanie Williams, Cumberland County Planning Department, at (717) 240-5383 or