Forest City Installs New Heritage Attraction Sign

Tourist and visitors to Forest City now have a map to encourage them to shop local and guide them to attractions in the greater Forest City area and Susquehanna County.

The unveiling took place in a ceremony at 11 AM on Tuesday, Nov. 1st, which was preceded by a reception in the Forest City Borough Council chambers.

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The Susquehanna County Heritage Attractions sign is a double-sided structure, with a map of Forest City on one side and Susquehanna County attractions on the other side. The Endless Mountains Heritage Region received a $3,000 Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant to erect the County Attractions Sign. Because costs for research, coordination, design and installation of a high quality structure, exceed the $3,000 Room Tax grant, EMHR supplemented the Room Tax grant with an estimated $1,000 Heritage Region grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Greater Forest City Business Alliance was brought on board to fill the back side of the structure and paid an estimated $445 to Panier Graphics, Gibsonia, PA, to produce the enlarged Forest City map and GFCBA member business directory. The panel is a reproduction of the organizations Visitors Brochure, made possible by the Susquehanna County Room Tax grant.

It was installed in the parking lot of Zazzera’s Market on Main Street by Brian Zembryzcki Excavating with the assistance of the Forest City street department.

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The sign facing Main Street highlights historic and recreational destinations throughout Susquehanna County. The sign facing the parking lot uses the map and directory which was developed by GFCBA in its recent Visitor’s Brochure to show the locations of its 93 member businesses within the greater Forest City area. In the past year, the GFCBA and the Rail-Trail Council of NEPA collaborated to install a similar directory at the Forest City trail-head to entice its trail-users to shop and eat locally.
Forest City serves as a gateway to Susquehanna County from Lackawanna and Wayne Counties and is also a major trail head for the D & H Rail Trail. The 38-mile hiking and bike trail stretches from Simpson to the New York border, above Lanesboro in Susquehanna County.

Forest City is also in the process of trying to become the first “Trail Town” along the D & H Rail Trail. If successful, trail users will be encouraged to access Forest City’s downtown and retail businesses and produce what is termed “asset based economic development.”

The sign will also provide trail users, as well as local visitors and tourist, with a listing and map of the Susquehanna County’s many heritage and outdoor recreation venues.

At the unveiling, EHMR Director Annette Schultz served as master of ceremonies. “We approached Forest City Borough because of its great potential as a “Trails Town”, where D & H trail users visiting downtown Forest City on foot could find out about other heritage and recreational attractions throughout the county. The location and content of the County Attractions Sign was vetted by many, from the County Commissioners and Forest City representatives to the non-profit managers of the County Attractions listed on the sign.”

EMHR Pres. Ed Zygmunt also expressed his satisfaction for the great cooperation by Susquehanna County, Forest City Borough Council, Rail-Trail Council of NEPA and the GFCBA.

Joy Zazzera, secretary of the GFCBA, added her thanks to all the parties who contributed to the success of the sign project. “The collaborative project required a quick turn-around time between design, production, shipping and site determination and installation. Being asked to share our map for this new attractions sign was an unexpected opportunity but by already having the digital files from our Visitors Brochure, we were able to meet production deadlines. We recognize conditions change over time. Our digital files and the relationship we have established with our designer Deborah Bailey of Bailey Graphics & Design in Honesdale, will allow the GFCBA to reproduce both the brochure and sign panel in the future with appropriate changes.”

Senator Lisa Baker also thanked EMHR and the local entities which joined together in their efforts to make Forest City and Susquehanna County more welcoming to new arrivals and to improve the tourist economy.

Soon-to-be State Representative Jonathan Fritz called Forest City a “Norman Rockwell small-town” and noted our area is sometimes paralyzed by the status quo but that beautiful things can happen with the work of partnerships.

Susquehanna County Commissioner Chairman Betsy Arnold cited the unity and harmony which is exhibited by the local project. She thanked the local groups for their passion and commitment in trying to better the town and the County.

Forest City Mayor Pauline Wilcox called the sign a beautiful addition to our town and that the new sign and the Main Street improvements now underway, are part of the local effort to be welcoming to visitors.
Rail-Trail Executive Director Lynn Conrad noted the project was accomplished in record time as it evolved from a Room Tax Grant approved July 20 of this year. She also affirmed that this fits well into the “Trail Town” initiative now underway and that another sign is located at the Forest City trail-head also listing Forest City’s assets.

Jean Ruhf, Director of the Endless Mountains Visitor’s Bureau, reminded the crowd that it is important that organizations like EMVB and EMHR help promote the heritage of this area by looking to the past for the strength of the future.
Director Shultz ended by thanking the PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources for its funding support. She noted that EMHR also has smaller vinyl versions of the sign that can be used as backdrops at special events.

For more information log onto www.endlessmountainsheritage.com and www.visitforestcitypa.com

Starrucca Viaduct Celebration

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NEPA Rail-Trails is having a Starrucca Viaduct celebration & sign unveiling!

The Starrucca Viaduct is an awesome bridge of PA bluestone (not concrete). The Nicholson Bridge often gets all the attention.
It is on the national Registry of Historic Places and is one of 260 worldwide civil engineering landmarks.

“Recognized as one of the most daring feats of stone vault engineering ever attempted in this country”

The history is fascinating (and the sign covers much of its history). NEPA Rail-Trail trail goes underneath this ‘bridge of stone’ and to date there has only been a one-sentence historical sign.

We are also having a patio of bluestone installed (with donor pavers) working with Pa Bluestone Association.

Grifola frondosa

Grifola frondosa
Grifola frondosa

Recently a friend stopped by in my driveway and said “Hey, want a mushroom?”

“Sure!” I replied, knowing that in addition to being a renowned watercolorist and fisherman, he was an avid mushroom hunter.

He must have seen the look of uncertainty on my face when he revealed the hen-of-the-woods from the darkness of his auto trunk.

“Just rinse it as you would any other mushroom, and check the nooks and crannies for any critters that may have taken up residence. Slice, saute, and enjoy!”

The mushroom sat in the fridge for a day. I tried to think of neighbors knowledgeable of such things to whom I could pass on the mushroom. But realizing this as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone (I had never knowingly eaten a wild mushroom), I followed my friend’s instructions, and gently fried the mushrooms in olive oil, wine, and some lemon juice.

The result? Magnificent! The taste of the mushroom was somewhat like store-boughten mushroom, with a delightful hint of gaminess. The texture made one think they were eating meat – very satisfying.

I enjoyed some of the mushroom immediately after cooking it, added some to a fresh vegetable soup I was making, and put a bit in the freezer hoping that some early winter evening, I’ll bust out the rest of that mushroom from the freezer, and enjoy a taste of a sunny, early autumn day.

Excerpted From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as hen of the woods, hen-of-the-woods, ram’s head and sheep’s head. It is typically found in late summer to early autumn. In the United States’ supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸, “dancing mushroom”). Throughout Italian American communities in the northeastern United States, it is commonly known as the signorina mushroom…

The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. It is widely eaten in Japan, and its popularity in western cuisine is growing, although the mushroom has been alleged to cause allergic reactions in rare cases.”

Forest City may become the first “Trail Town” on the D&H!

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NEPA Rail-Trail, Forest City Business Alliance to Present “Forest City – A Trail Town”
September 27, 2016 – The Rail-Trail Council of NEPA in conjunction with the Greater Forest City Business Alliance (GFCBA) will hold a presentation on Wednesday, Oct. 5 exploring the opportunity for Forest City to become the first “Trail Town” along the D & H Rail Trail in Susquehanna County.

The free event is open to the entire Greater Forest City community and will be hosted in the Forest City Regional School District Auditorium from 6 pm to 8 pm.

“Forest City is a small-rural town with many opportunities for revitalization,” states, Erin Debish, President of the Greater Forest City Business Alliance. “Investigating the opportunity for us to become a “trail town” is putting the focus on community and economic development around tourism and outdoor recreation. We’ve already begun collaborating with our Borough Council on identifying priorities for revitalization around the connection between the trail and our Main Street business district.”

The GFCBA, Rail-Trail Council of NEPA, Forest City School District and Forest City Borough Council have been working together to better promote each other and increase community awareness. Earlier this summer, a new student-designed bike rack was installed near the Erie Street trail-head to promote trail users to stop and support the many local Main Street businesses located just a few steps away from the trail. The Rail-Trail hosts a number of events throughout the four seasons that draw tourism from the surrounding Mid-Atlantic states. Their feature annual event, the D & H Distance Run, held each September draws over 400 runners with its start and finish line at the Forest City trail-head.

In an effort to further promote tourism, the GFCBA, Borough Council, Rail-Trail Council of NEPA and the Endless Mountain Heritage Region will soon unveil a new sign that depicts a way-finding map of the GFCBA member businesses as well as capturing the culture of living in Susquehanna County. An unveiling ceremony with local and county representatives will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Zazzera’s Supermarket, where the sign will permanently reside. The GFCBA continued its efforts to promote tourism by producing a visitors brochure highlighting their member businesses including the recreational opportunities along the D & H Rail-Trail and in the greater Forest City area. The brochure was placed at Pennsylvania Visitor’s Welcome Centers, along the major rest-stops along the PA Turnpike and at numerous local establishments that draw visitors and tourists. Additionally, the town is currently undergoing a street-scape project to improve the function and aesthetics of it’s Main Street.

“We have many projects in the works and on the horizon to reignite a sense of pride in our quaint town,” notes Debish. “Our main objectives are to help our small businesses be profitable and to make our community a more desirable place to live and to visit. We couldn’t be more excited about this trail-town presentation and we really hope to gain the support of the entire community.”

The “Trail Town” presentation will be a fun evening filled with entertainment provided by the Forest City Regional High School Band and Chorus. Finger foods will be featured by local GFCBA member businesses with raffles, bake sales and more. The presentation will also include the unveiling of new websites for the Forest City Borough and the Business Alliance with computers available for community members to navigate through these new sites.

Forest City Regional High School is located at 100 Susquehanna Street in Forest City, Pa.

How much different can heaven be?