Representatives of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) enjoyed a summer picnic at the French Azilum historic site in Bradford County (top) but will have to return another day for their scheduled tour due to a pop-up thunderstorm that cut their Aug. 2 visit short. After a moment of silence in honor of recently deceased board member Scott Wilcox, French Azilum Inc. president and EMHR board member Joyce Kerrick (above) provided welcoming remarks.
Kerrick reported that the LaPorte House (above), constructed in 1836 by the son of an original settler of the Azilum refuge, has recently been repainted and that sill and foundation work will be completed before the organization takes full ownership of the property from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. She was pleased to announce, as well, that plans are being made for the relocation of an 18th century cabin from Terry Township donated by the Welles family.
Sullivan County board member John Krakoski (above) provided an update on plans to establish a trail system that would link Worlds End and Ricketts Glen state parks with trails in Wyoming, Luzerne and Lycoming counties. Krakoski first brought the idea before the board in February.
Lease agreements between private landowners and Sullivan County officials have been approved, and the Sullivan County Recreation Association will assume responsibility for maintenance of the trails. Discussions are underway with state and county officials and others to advance the connector trail concept, Krakoski explained. When all parties are in agreement and the trails are built, he noted, “This will be a hiking destination for the whole United States.”
EMHR’s DCNR liaison Christine Dettore pledged her assistance with the project, noting that DCNR’s Conservation Landscape program might provide additional leverage via shared resources and contacts. EMHR director Annette Schultz also echoed Dettore’s sentiments in that part of EMHR’s mission is the development of regional attractions such as trail networks.
Krakoski added that Wyoming County recreationist and author Jeff Mitchell has also played an integral part in the planning.
Much of the remainder of the business meeting was devoted to planning for the annual Membership Meeting and Conference scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6 at the Wysox Fire Hall. It was decided that the business meeting, which will include the induction of new board members and officers, would be conducted from 9 to 10 am, followed by concurrent sessions on topics such as branding and messaging; new directions and approaches to protecting heritage assets; grants and funding sources; and Susquehanna River Towns, greenways and trails. Schultz will provide a summary of the EMHR’s progress and future plans during a buffet lunch that will conclude the conference.
The annual meeting and conference will be open to individuals and members of organizations who would benefit from the informative sessions and a closer relationship with EMHR. More details and registration information will be released over the next month. In the meantime, interested readers may call EMHR at 570-265-1528.
In the wake of the departure of one full-time employee, Schultz presented a temporary staffing plan to the board in an executive session, during which the board also voted to extend the terms of expiring board seats by one year to provide continuity during the staffing transition. Board members will also be working within their respective counties to fill a number of open seats by October.