On July 13, Senator John Yudichak (D–Luzerne/Carbon) was joined in Wilkes-Barre by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and other state and local officials on the last leg of his Senator Takes a Hike Initiative.
Senator Yudichak hiked and biked all 165 miles of the Delaware and Lehigh Trail (D&L Trail) as part of a pledge he made that if the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII he would complete the entire D&L Trail. The initiative was also created to raise awareness in the areas of the trail that currently have gaps, like the three-mile section Senator Yudichak hiked in Wilkes-Barre.
“The Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles kept their end of the bargain, and today I keep my end of the deal by completing every mile of the beautiful 165-mile D&L Trail,” said Yudichak. “The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor honors the workers who drove the American Industrial Revolution from mining coal in northeastern Pennsylvania, to forging steel in the Lehigh Valley, to transporting goods to market in the Delaware Valley. It has been an inspiring experience to walk in the footsteps of Pennsylvania’s rich history, and meet the remarkable people who make every community on the D&L Trail from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre a true pleasure to visit. With the help of the tremendous D&L staff, our state partners at DCNR, and countless local officials, we have been able to fulfill our mission of raising awareness to the value of the D&L as both a community asset and an economic engine for job growth across Pennsylvania. We have also been successful in drawing attention to the remaining trail gaps, especially the many miles in Luzerne County, that require attention and local support to fully complete the D&L Trail.”
“All of us at DCNR applaud Senator Yudichak’s accomplishment,” said Adams Dunn. “Like this department, the senator has shown he is a longtime supporter of the D&L Trail. Traveling its entire length, he has passed through two of our state parks and three state forest districts, while sampling the unique flavor of so many communities stretched from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre.”
“I would like to thank Senator Yudichak and all of our partners for putting together this successful initiative, that has brought more attention to the D&L Trail than we ever could’ve imagined,” said Elissa Garofalo, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. “What we’ve done with Senator Takes a Hike has demonstrated the significant economic and historic aspects the trail offers. We’ve raised a lot of awareness in key areas where we need to close the gaps.”
“Senator Yudichak made a pledge to walk all 165 miles of the D&L Trail and he has kept his promise,” said Tony George, mayor of Wilkes-Barre. “Whenever he makes a commitment to the City of Wilkes-Barre, he sticks to it and comes through for his constituents. Senator Yudichak is dedicated to Wilkes-Barre and all of the municipalities he represents.”
“Senator Yudichak’s hike today highlights the open-air beauty of Luzerne County. I’m looking forward to partnering with the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to complete the trail gaps in Luzerne County,” said David Pedri, Luzerne County manager. “I can’t wait to see what Senator Yudichak takes on next when the Eagles win the Super Bowl again this season.”
“Today, quality of place is economic development, which is why completing the D&L Trail from Bristol to Downtown Wilkes-Barre means much more than the development of a 165-mile recreational asset,” said Larry Newman, executive director for Diamond City Partnership. “For years, officials, advocates, and volunteers have worked tirelessly to create a regional trail network with the downtown at its center, and to preserve and interpret our city’s remarkable history. The extension of the D&L Trail to its northern terminus at the River Common will leverage all of that hard work, allowing us to realize Wilkes-Barre’s full potential as a trail hub and heritage tourism destination.”
It was also announced today that Geisinger, Pocono Forest and Waters, and the City of Wilkes Barre are joining forces to launch the northeastern Pennsylvania chapter of Get Your Tail on the Trail. This free community initiative was founded by St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to encourage healthy outdoor lifestyles close to home.
“Geisinger is proud to partner with the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Coordinator on this health and wellness initiative. We encourage people to be physically active because it’s one of the best ways to prevent chronic disease and live a healthy life,” said Allison Hess, associate vice president of health and wellness at Geisinger. “The D&L Trail is a great resource for people looking to exercise outdoors and our residents have the benefit of the trail being right in their own backyard.”
For more information on the hike you can visit www.senatoryudichak.com/takeahike/