Northampton Press

Monday, June 17, 2019
Press photo by Hanna O’ReillyElissa Garofalo, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and Chris Kocher, president of Wildlands Conservancy, introduce the new interconnected trail plan titled The Link during a news conference Nov. 1 at Canal Street Park, Northampton. Press photo by Hanna O’ReillyElissa Garofalo, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and Chris Kocher, president of Wildlands Conservancy, introduce the new interconnected trail plan titled The Link during a news conference Nov. 1 at Canal Street Park, Northampton.

Interconnected trail system coming to the Lehigh Valley

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by HANNA O’REILLY Special to The Press in Local News

Lehigh Valley residents gathered Nov. 1 at Canal Street Park, Northampton, to celebrate an exciting announcement.

For years, individuals have been wanting the trails in the area to connect with one another, giving more opportunities for traveling without a car. The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Lehigh Valley Greenways, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Discover Lehigh Valley, Wildlands Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Northampton and Lehigh counties to work on this interconnected trail that will be called The Link.

Michael Drabenstott, board chairman for the National Heritage Corridor, led the event at Canal Street Park.

“I am a big supporter of trails, which is why I got started with D&L in the first place,” Drabenstott said.

Elissa Garofalo, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and Chris Kocher, president of Wildlands Conservancy, were thrilled to see an idea they had a year ago come to life.

“We were aware of Philadelphia’s trail service Circuit and wanted something like that in our area,” Kocher said.

The Link will be 125 miles of existing trails with plans to add 100 more miles to close any extra gaps. This map of interconnected trails is expected to encourage Lehigh Valley residents to spend more time outside, enjoying what the area has to offer.

The Link also has the potential to “bring in a billion dollars with eco-tourism,” Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said.

The Link’s development will continue with the hopes of increasing life quality and promoting economic growth while giving individuals the opportunity to see what the area has to offer.