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New D&L Trail provides miles to explore in Luzerne County

Acting DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti joined partners on Monday for the grand opening of the new Black Diamond Section of the D&L Trail in Luzerne County.

"When people come into the area, they come to the towns where the trails run through, and buy from the local businesses," Ferretti said at the ceremony at the recently completed Black Diamond Trailhead located along Route 437 just south Glen Summit. "You'll also see studies that show people want to buy a house in an area where there is a walking trail.

"In recent surveys, trails rank as the number one recreational interest among Pennsylvanians. Trails are critical, because they connect places, connect natural resources to communities, and connect people to the outdoors,” Ferretti said. “We see all of this embodied in the D&L Trail. It connects the environment to the economy by making the natural resources important to economic development, and community revitalization."

Funding for the Black Diamond segment included a $250,000 DCNR grant for trail design, and $1.1 million PennDOT grant for construction.

Elissa Garofalo, president and executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, said the new trail will continue telling the story of how rail, the Lehigh and Delaware canals, and the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers were used to transport coal to port a century ago.

"We stand here today along the route where anthracite traveled via railroad from its source to be delivered to the canals to the south, from the mines of Carbon and Luzerne counties to the markets in Philadelphia and New York to help fuel America's Industrial Revolution," Garofalo said. "It's a powerful and nationally-significant story. The D&L Trail is the platform to tell that story. Today, here, we can begin to tell that story."

Garofalo said the new trail leaves just 30 miles left to develop of the proposed 165-mile trail from Bristol, Bucks County, to Wilkes-Barre - the largest part left being the rest of the Black Diamond Trail.

This most recent addition includes three segments. Starting from the ground-breaking event site, about 1.7 miles from White Haven, the section runs 8.1 miles north and west to a trail head in Mountain Top near Route 437. Another 1.1 miles to Johnson Street in Mountain Top plus a half-mile to link the Black Diamond Trail to the D&L Corridor's Trail in White Haven completes the distance covered in the contract (9.7 miles total).

The project connects to an existing 26 miles of completed trail in Lehigh Gorge State Park. It will provide opportunities for longer trips for trail users and expand the economic impact potential for the communities of White Haven and Jim Thorpe, and the region’s many businesses.

“I am proud to see three DCNR bureaus represented in this undertaking. D&L trail travelers will pass through Delaware Canal and Lehigh Gorge state parks overseen by our Bureau of State Parks,” Ferretti said. “They will park at the trailhead on state forestland overseen by our Bureau of Forestry.

“And, our Bureau of Recreation and Conservation continues to offer guidance and grant assistance in both planning and financing of the trail.”

This Black Diamond trail segment also is a true collaboration between DCNR, PennDOT, the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association and the Delaware and Lehigh County National Heritage Corridor.

“We thank our partners for their commitment to quality of life in eastern Pennsylvania, and for opening up a new stretch of land for public enjoyment,” Ferretti said.

For more information about the D&L Trail, visit here.

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