The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (DLNHC) joined Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Sen. Pat Browne as they announced a combined $7 million investment in the D&L Trail through the Lehigh Valley.
Once the route through Luzerne County is completed, the D&L Trail will connect Wilkes-Barre to Bristol with over 165 miles, making it the longest multi-use trail in Pennsylvania.
Browne secured $2 million of the funding through the 2022-23 state budget, and PA DCNR has committed to $3 million for the canal side to close trail gaps in Catasauqua, Hanover Township, and Allentown. In addition to this, PA DCNR has also awarded Lehigh County a grant of $2 million to be matched by county funds for assistance with land acquisition for future D&L Trail development on the west side of the river that contains rail trail.
“Expanding the D&L Trail helps tremendously with DCNR’s goal to increase access to trails for all Pennsylvanians and close trail gaps,” Dunn said. “The Lehigh Valley is a heavily populated area where we see more and more people calling for outdoor recreation opportunities. We expect to see increased activity on this critical multi-use trail that connects communities in the region. ... Watch for a possible announcement in January.”
This investment will help connect two significant sections of D&L Trail along the eastern side of the Lehigh River, creating 140 miles of continuous open trail through the five counties that make up the National Heritage Corridor.
This announcement comes on the heels of a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September for 1.5 new miles (mile marker 80 to 81.5) of D&L Trail, also within the Lehigh Valley Gap.
This is a monumental announcement that quite literally forges the path to connect D&L Trail from Mountaintop in Luzerne County to Bristol in Bucks County, bringing it through the heart of Allentown,” DLNHC Executive Director Claire Sadler said. “Our work is impossible without the support of essential partners whose efforts and expertise help create these vital connections throughout the Corridor.”