Archive for the ‘FYI’ Category

A Perfect Spring Day Along the D&L

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Written by Jeremy Ebersole, National Park Service Northeast Region Heritage Areas Communications Coordinator

I was very privileged to spend a beautiful day last week getting my feet dirty and exploring the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor with Executive Director Elissa Garofalo.  We traversed about half the length of the Corridor from the small wooded town of White Haven in the north down to the bustling streets of Easton in the south, stopping to chat with friends from partner organizations, take in stretches of the D&L Trail, and enjoy the sights along the way.  What I saw throughout the day was not only incredibly interesting but a lot of fun as well.

Our first stop was in White Haven, a canal-meets-railroad town best known today for rails-to-trails hiking and great paddling opportunities.  These attributes are getting another leg up thanks to the construction of a new trailhead for the D&L Trail, which will provide improved access to and from the town and the shops and restaurants it provides to trail users.  And on a hot day along the trail, what a benefit it will be to be able to hop just a few blocks away to the brand new White Haven Area Community Library, It’s getting ready to open in the old Lehigh Valley Railroad Engine House thanks to initial support and assistance from D&L.

White Haven Community Library

As we headed south along the gorgeous drive to Jim Thorpe I heard the fascinating saga of this “Switzerland of America,” renamed in the 1950s to honor the man many call the world’s greatest athlete.  Just outside of town we visited the Lehigh Gorge trailhead and learned of the dedication and perseverance used to connect the D&L Trail to the town across the Nesquehoning Trestle over the Lehigh River thanks to an innovative “rail plus trail” scheme that takes trail users safely mere feet from the railroad.

Nesquehoning Trestle

After a quick photo stop at the lovely Lehigh Canal Park in Weissport and a delicious lunch stop at Lorenzo’s Pizza in Bowmanstown, I heard about the vast soil depletion of the Lehigh Gap area as a result of local zinc smelting and the subsequent ongoing effort to reestablish vegetation in the area.  After years of trial and error, I discovered at the nearby Lehigh Gap Nature Center, the struggles are certainly paying off with some attractive and healthy vistas.

Weissport Trailhead

Our final stop was at the headquarters of the D&L in Easton’s tranquil Hugh Moore Park, sharing a building with the National Canal Museum.  I arrived just a tad late and missed an Immersion Day, the annual spring-time educational program that will reach 2,000 students this season by using canal stories to meet a number of state education requirements.  I also got a quick glimpse of a few of the over 100,000 items in D&L’s archives.  From local history, to documents tracing the rise and fall of canals, to intriguing artifacts like old miner’s tags, this collection was impressive indeed.

Lehigh Gap Nature Center

The D&L is just one of 20 active National Heritage Areas in the Northeast Region of the National Park Service, stretching from Virginia to Maine, and almost 50 across the country.  All of these critical regions are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally-important landscape.  It is a grassroots, community-driven approach to the important work of heritage conservation and economic development through, in Elissa’s succinct words, “connecting, preserving, revitalizing, and celebrating.”  The Park Service provides technical, planning, and limited financial assistance to the heritage areas, and last week overlooking the Lehigh River and seeing the smiles on residents’ faces, I could not have been prouder of the work we’re doing together!

Check out Interactive Maps of D&L Heritage Marathon & Half-Marathon Routes

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

The second annual Delaware & Lehigh Marathon & Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, November 3, 2013.

For more information or to register online, click here.



Mining History Week in the D&L Corridor

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Written by Dale Freudenberger

Mining History Week in Northeast Pa was celebrated the week of January 16 -23, 2013. The annual commemoration in the Anthracite Coal Region of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor included observances in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Port Griffith, Ashley, Summit Hill and Lansford. The annual event focuses on honoring and remembering the tens of thousands of mineworkers who worked in or around the coal mines. Many were injured, killed, or suffered black lung disease.

Among the programs offered were a visit to the site of the 1959 Knox Mine disaster along the banks of the Susquehanna River, laying a wreath at several grave sites of disaster victims, a program about the Blue Coal Corporation, a Molly Maguire lecture and dinner at Kings College, and a feature story about a 50 year underground mine fire in the Panther Valley.

This year’s Mining History Week featured programs sponsored by the Anthracite Heritage Foundation, King’s College, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Luzerne County Historical Society, the Huber Breaker Preservation Society, the Anthracite Living History Group, the Old Forge Coal Mine Committee, the Greater Pittston Historical Society, the Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Committee, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum, and Summit Hill Historical Society.

One of the highlights of the week-long event was a lecture by Professor Kevin Kenny of Boston College. Professor Kenny is one of the foremost authorities on the Molly Maguires and the author of ‘Making Sense of the Molly Maguires’. Kenny was welcomed by a capacity crowd of over 250 people in the Burke Auditorium at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre.

Pictured with Professor Kenny are L to R – Jim Christmas, Prof. Kevin Kenny (author of Making Sense of the Molly Maguires), Jim Burke (retired COO of Paramount Pictures and the movie ‘The Molly Maguires’, Dale Freudenberger (Anthracite Region Coordinator with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor), and Dr. Robert Wolensky, author of numerous books on Anthracite history. Burke, Freudenberger and Wolensky are also Directors of the Anthracite Heritage Foundation.

A New Face Hits the Trail Running

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Written by Jeffrey Hall, D&L Intern

Hello, my name is Jeffrey Hall. I am the newest intern at the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. For the next few months, I will be assisting the D&L in developing a Wellness Program with St. Luke’s hospital. I will also be responsible for all of the D&L’s social media as well as updates to this blog. Before I get into that, I’d like to tell you a little about myself.

I’m originally from New York City.  When I was six, my family and I moved to the Poconos (Effort, PA), where I graduated from Pleasant Valley High School. I currently attend Kutztown University.  My major is Public Administration, and I am just starting my final semester of college. After graduation my goal is to move to D.C. and start a career in the healthcare sector. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my 36 fraternity brothers, going to the gym, and going on walks with my dog George.

Some of you might be asking how some city kid became an intern at the D&L. Well, it’s sort of a funny story.  Elissa Garofalo, the D&L’s president, came to my Senior Seminar class and gave a presentation about the D&L. Elissa’s presentation peaked my interest.  When she mentioned that she was in the early stages of creating a wellness program, I knew I had to become a part of this organization. The more and more I began to understand what exactly the D&L does, the more interested I became. That’s how I became the D&L intern. So, I lied… It’s not that funny, but it’s the truth. Now that I’m a member of the D&L, I’m excited to hit the ground running. 2013 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the D&L and all its partners.

So now that you know a little about me, let me tell you what I hope to accomplish at the D&L. In the next few months, I will be working on developing a wellness program that utilizes the D&L Trail. I will also be using this blog to highlight some individuals that participate in the wellness program. You will be able to see them transform before your eyes as they “get their tails on the trail” and take on the goals laid out in the wellness program. You’ll be able to cheer them on and give them words of encouragement. So I hope you’re ready to embark on a new adventure along the D&L Trail.

Bristol: The End of My Journey

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Written by Jay Marsden

We’ve come to the end of the trail in more aspects than one. This summer has been a remarkable one filled with new places, new insights, and new people and I owe a substantial amount of that to the D&L. I’ve been allowed to run free with my blog and explore the corridor in my own fashion and for that, I am thankful. Coming to the end of the 165 mile long Delaware and Lehigh Canal Trail in Bristol, PA is a bitter sweet end for me. In one hand I will begin the next chapter of my life at Penn State very soon but on the other I will be leaving this area that I have come to love so dearly. Although I couldn’t ride directly from Morrisville to Bristol to honestly seal the end of my journey due to the obstructions I mentioned last week. I was able to spend some time in this once epicenter of commerce.

Although there isn’t much tangible evidence of the place where all of the canal boats, their families, their mules, and their products ended up before turning back north, it is still fully remembered. The end of the trail comes at a point along the Delaware River where it looks more like a bay than the river into which Lehigh flows Easton.

Here there once existed Lock #1 of the Delaware Canal and the Tidal Lock, which preached the schedule of the canal boats entering the canal. By using the tide schedule the lock would raise and lower just as the water elevators of the upper grand section of the Lehigh Gorge but rather than using a series of locks and dams this primary lock worked with the moon’s schedule to allow boats to begin their journey. Although this lock is no longer in existence it is memorialized next to the Delaware River along with one of the most active toll stations that once stood here.

Bristol is filled with history and culture and soon this vital part of the canal’s story will be linked to the rest of D&L trail for all to ride and experience. The plan is to bridge the gaps of the trail with new trail heads, tunnels, and groundbreaking events in the near future.  The vision is to have a beautifully smooth trail from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol.