Pennsylvania DCNR: Next South Mountain Lecture to Focus on Transportation Corridors and Their Impact on Land Use

Sep 14, 2011, 16:23 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The history and importance of transportation lines in the region will be the focus of the next lecture in the South Mountain Speakers Series on Sept. 29, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said today.

Dr. Paul Marr, a professor of geography and earth science, will offer a free lecture, "Highway Lines: Transportation Change from Braddock's Road to I-81" beginning at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Auditorium on campus.

"When we look closely at the Appalachian Mountains, the central feature is not the many peaks but a central valley running from Pennsylvania to Georgia.  This Great Valley, known as the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania has served as a vital transportation link for many centuries and has shaped the region's history in a wide variety of ways," said Allen Dieterich-Ward, an assistant professor of history at Shippensburg University and the chair of the South Mountain Partnership committee on the speaker series.

The relatively flat route funneled settlement to the south and west and attracted the attention of Confederate generals during the Civil War.  Today, the I-81 Corridor is one of the nation's most important north-south routes and plays an important economic role for local communities.  

Marr received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1995 from the University of Denver.  Before that, he served in a variety of positions with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  He has done work on a wide variety of subjects from Shippensburg's Ft. Morris and socioeconomic conditions on the Pennsylvania frontier to body proportions of Native Americans and language maintenance in Mexico.

His expertise on transportation issues in the South Mountain region extends from published research on the colonial era to a 2008 report on warehousing and trucking industries in Franklin and Cumberland counties.   

After the lecture, Dr. Marr will be joined for a panel discussion on contemporary land use issues by Steven Deck, who recently served as senior planner for a regional transit coordination study throughout south central Pennsylvania; and Kirk Stoner, planning director for Cumberland County.   

This is the second year for the South Mountain Speakers Series, envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscape.  

This lecture is sponsored by Shippensburg University, DCNR, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the South Mountain Partnership. The partnership is a group of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the landscape.

The series will continue next month with "Closing the Food Gap in the South Mountain Region" on Nov. 10 at Wilson College, Chambersburg.

For more information, visit or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 717-258-5771.

Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources