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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail Continues to Grow

On Saturday or Sunday mornings, if you're up early enough, you can see plenty of marathoners doing their weekend "long runs" of ten to twenty miles. The place they frequent the most is simply called the "towpath." You can pick it up in Allentown''s Canal Park, Bethlehem's Sand Island, Freemansburg's mule barn or in Easton's Riverview Park. It runs along the Lehigh Canal and is part of 165-mile Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. It's the old route once used to deliver anthracite coal, and might be the most beautiful part of the Lehigh Valley.

I used to be one of those early morning runners. My brother and I illegally spray-painted mile markers between Sand Island and Allentown (4.4 miles) , and between Sand Island and the Bethlehem Boat Club (6.2 miles). A round trip run was exactly 21 miles. Once we could do that, we knew we were highly conditioned, well-trained athletes, ready for a marathon.

Stay away from the towpath south of Easton. On my first run there, I was nearly run over by some warhorse that delighted in shitting every time it breezed by me. The last time I went, I was nearly killed by a psycho goose. The damn thing started chasing after me when I got just a little too close to a gosling. Don't ever piss off a goose. It was hissing like a snake, snapping at my ass and was actually gaining on me even with its little webbed feet. That's when my foot jammed into a root, and I tumbled down the river bank.

Goose - 1, O'Hare - 0.

"Honk, Honk, Honk," the bastard laughed.

Later that day, I returned with a shotgun, but the goose went into hiding. Every now and then, I'd hear a "Honk," but all I could find were little goose feathers and those ugly green shits they leave all over the place.

Between Bethlehem and Allentown, there are no horses, and the geese are all on drugs, although they shit all over. There used to be a friendly beaver. He never bothered me, but loved to torment my brother's dogs. He probably moved to Easton when the canal dried up.

These days, the only wildlife you might find on the "towpath" is 18' tall state Rep. Joe Brennan. As a word of warning to my Republican friends, Joe is out of season until sometime after Labor Day.

We pretty much take these things for granted, but if truth be told, local officials do a lot of work to make those long runs and other forms of recreation possible. On Monday, at 11 AM, Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley will officially open the newest section of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor trail, a 2.8 mile stretch between Cementon and Laurys Station. Pricetag? $230,000. Costs are shared by Lehigh County, DCNR, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Emmaus-based Wildlands Conservancy.

My brother, the beaver and I supply the spraypaint for free.


Anonymous said...

When will they pave this trail?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

My parents use the trailhead in Laurys Station quite a bit. They love the trail and can't wait for its completion to the walnutport area. The area along the river is beautiful.


Anonymous said...

The trails need playground equipment and things to be enjoyed by all citizens, including disabled children.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see electronic components added to part of the trail's proposed playground equipment, much in the vein of anon 7:05's comment

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Any suggestions for the source of funding for the added features to the park.

Chris Casey said...

Hell, why not pop up targets for firearm enthusiasts to practice on while jogging along the path?

Anonymous said...

Add a cross-country ski trail for winter and combine that with Chris Casey's suggestion for target shooting.

Easton could produce the next Olympic Biathlon champion!

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, I would be intersted in what is meant by "electronic components". Is this an ADA accessory?

No thanks Mr. Casey...Save your electronic targets for somewhere else.

Anyone know what part of the trail the event is on? I know there is a tot playground in Cementon.

Anonymous said...

I am less afraid of the four legged animals or the geese than the two legged thugs who mug people using the trail.

What they should do is increase surveillance to catch the filthy hood rats.

Anonymous said...

The trail is very safe from muggings because so many people use it. The reason that the trail does not have playground equipment is that this is available elsewhere, often adjacent to the trail, as is the case in Cementon, Northampton, Allentown, Bethlehem, etc. The reason there will never be electronic media on the trail is because this is available everywhere else on earth. We need one or two places without this crap.

The trail will not be paved, but you should try out the cinder surface. People who ride and jog a lot know this is better on their feet and tires, and municipalities know it is better on their maintenance budgets than paving.

When complete, this trail be a treasure to eastern PA. It already is, in many ways.