Allentown, PA — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced a significant state investment in new grant funding to support the development of the D&L Trail in the Lehigh Valley at an event in November at Kimmett’s Lock in Allentown.
“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 multiuse trail that connects communities in the region. Completing the D&L Trail in the Lehigh Valley is a priority for the agency.”
Dunn added that, in concert with the D&L and Senator Pat Browne, the agency is committing $3 million total to close trail gaps in Catasauqua, Hanover Township, and Allentown. The funds will be matched by $2 million in funding Sen. Browne secured through the 2022-23 state budget to close significant sections of trail gaps along the eastern side of the Lehigh River. Once the sections are completed, the D&L will have 140 miles of continuous open trail.
DCNR is also committing $2 million to match funds from Lehigh County to help acquire land for future trail development. Once completed, the 165-mile trail will connect Wilkes-Barre to Bristol, making it the longest multi-use trail in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of our nation’s most outstanding outdoor recreational areas,” Browne said. “This state investment in the crown jewel of our region’s trail system will complete a vital corridor on the D&L Trail, and finally close the trail gap through the Lehigh Valley. I am proud to work with Secretary Dunn to invest in the D&L and ensure that they have the resources necessary to close this critical gap.”
In addition to the state and county investment, this trail expansion has consistent support from the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (DLNHC), which preserves the historic pathway that carried coal and iron from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol to fuel America’s Industrial Revolution. The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor advocates for the trail and the key community connection to health, environment, history and economic development it provides.
“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,” Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor 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.”
The D&L Trail spans multiple regions in the state, including the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape, Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape, Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape, and Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape.
Pennsylvania is home to more than 12,000 miles of trails and DCNR supports trail projects across the commonwealth as a part of its goal to have a trail within 10 minutes of every resident.