Participants in the EMHR’s Fall Heritage Benefit Paddle (top), held in October 2021, raised $1,000 for the French Azilum Historic Site, which is located just down the Susquehanna River from the famous Standing Stone in Bradford County. The EMHR plans to expand biking opportunities in 2022, like the Loyalsock State Forest Cycling Challenge (above) held in Sullivan County in October 2021.
Endless Mountain Heritage Region (EMHR) board members learned recently that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) had allotted a grant totaling $235,000 to help them achieve their goals in the new year. The funds will be used to help the EMHR pursue a wide variety of initiatives and assist other heritage-related organizations.
In a letter from DCNR secretary Cindy Dunn on behalf of Gov. Tom Wolf, Dunn stated, “Your DCNR grant award is a recognition of outstanding recreation and conservation work that should be shared with your community.”
Board members were quick to react, with Chris Brown of the Progress Authority in Bradford County calling it “Phenomenal News.” Susquehanna County board member Dave Palmer member replied, “Outstanding. It is a pleasure to be a part of this organization.” Sullivan County commissioner Donna Iannone said, “Awesome! Now the work begins.” Wyoming County Cultural Center director Erica Rogler remarked, “This is Significant! DCNR’s funding will allow EMHR to continue its meaningful work throughout the four counties.”
According to EMHR executive director Cain Chamberlin, projects submitted to the DCNR for approval as part of the Round 27 grant include management of the Upper North Branch Water Trail; hosting several sojourns and benefit paddles along the North Branch during the summer and fall; creating paddling/water safety videos for the website with EMHR water trail managers and a professional videographer; designing, creating and promoting the 400-plus-mile Endless Mountains Gravel Bikepacking Loop that is expected to launch in the spring; encouraging land trail development initiatives across the region, implementing a new membership/corporate giving campaign; collaborating with the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau and Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency on a regional “Farm to You” guide; providing sponsorships to regional public school districts for visits by the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab from PA Friends of Agriculture Foundation; and making $65,000 in partnership mini-grants available to local organizations and municipalities for heritage-related projects.
“We are incredibly grateful for this funding from the DCNR and thank the state for its continued support of the 12 Heritage Areas across the Commonwealth, including the EMHR,” Chamberlin stated. “We are so excited to complete our Management Action Plan update, administer our annual grants program, partner with more regional businesses and organizations, and support more trail initiatives.”
Of the $235,000 awarded, Chamberlin noted, $120,000 was from the DCNR, and $115,000 came from the Environmental Stewardship Fund.
“We commend Cain Chamberlin and his staff at the EMHR for their continued dedication and support of the Heritage Region,” said EMHR DCNR liaison Christine Dettore. “Working with partners such as the EMHR provides the opportunity to advance the recommendations of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation plan and provide additional capacity to better manage our heritage resources.”
To learn more about the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, interested readers can log on to www.emheritage.org and follow the Endless Mountains Heritage Region on Facebook and Instagram.