Dauphin County—lying at the intersection of the Susquehanna River and Kittatinny Ridge—is one of the fastest-growing counties in Pennsylvania. Newcomers and businesses are attracted to its scenic mountains, farmland, river corridors, pristine groundwater, large forest habitat, and high-quality recreation. From kayaking and fishing its 18 rivers and creeks, to hiking on the Appalachian Trail or hawk watching in Pennsylvania’s Global Important Bird Area, residents appreciate the rich diversity of natural resources available in Dauphin County. The Kittatinny Ridge, which traverses the northern half of the county, forms the iconic mountain backdrop for Harrisburg, the state capital.
More than just pretty places, Dauphin County’s open spaces provide natural system services and recreational and property-value benefits estimated at nearly $1 billion annually. Its trees, stream valleys, farms, and forests account for millions of dollars each year in savings and avoided costs. Open spaces positively affect everything from tourism and property value to healthcare and stormwater management; increase revenues from recreation; and naturally improve air and water quality.
Today’s Dauphin County residents are showing an increasing interest in organic, locally grown food, and open space plays a significant role. Native forests and meadows provide pollinators essential to the production of agriculture, landscape, and native plant populations at no cost. But as honeybee numbers diminish (as much as 48% in Pennsylvania over the past decade), pollinating species could permanently decline, threatening the sustainability of our natural ecosystems and food production.
Click the links below to see how Dauphin County’s natural assets are essential to our everyday life: