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Explore Historic Rail Trails with North Branch Land Trust

DiscoverNEPA is partnering with North Branch Land Trust, a nonprofit that conserves the natural, working and scenic landscapes of NEPA. They’ll provide conservation tips and give us a look at their protected lands. Learn how you can join NBLT and do your part to protect NEPA’s natural resources.

Discover Local Rail Trails This Spring

Many of us are excited to get out on the Northeastern Pennsylvania trails and explore the outdoors in the spring sunshine. Did you know that numerous Pennsylvania trails have their roots in the railroad industry of the 19th and 20th centuries?

 

Visit the D&L Trail

 

D&L Black Diamond Trailhead, White Haven

 

The 165-mile Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L) Trail from Bristol in Bucks County, PA, to Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, PA, is on its way to being completed. Check out the D&L website for information on the entire trail.

The Delaware & Lehigh (D&L) National Heritage Corridor preserves, interprets and leverages the nationally significant history of the 165-mile transportation route between Wilkes-Barre and Bristol, PA, by building and maintaining public and private partnerships along the route of the trail.

In 2014-2015, NBLT received ownership of that section of the D&L Trail in Luzerne County from Oliver Mills, around Little Wilkes-Barre Mountain, passing through the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry Seven Tubs Recreation Area and terminating at Northampton Street. While design and construction-related activities have been funded by a combination of sources, including PA DCNR, Earth Conservancy and various foundations, staff time has been considerable and unfunded. Over the years, this has taken a toll on NBLT.

In 2021, North Branch Land Trust completed 2.8 miles of the trail extending from Oliver Mills through the Seven Tubs Recreation Area in Plains Township, Luzerne County, PA. Once construction of the section of the trail from the Seven Tubs to Laurel Run at the base of Giants Despair is complete, all of NEPA will be able to enjoy this beautiful piece of the historic puzzle that is the D&L Trail.

 

More Rail Trails to Check Out

 

Back Mountain Trail, Shavertown

 

Public trail systems that are accessible to those of us living in and around urban areas are vitally important. They give us easy access to affordable recreation opportunities, help improve our health and wellbeing and also vastly improve the economic outlook of the regions where they are located. The D&L isn’t the only rail trail you can access here in NEPA.

The Back Mountain Trail, running from Luzerne through Shavertown, takes advantage of a century-old commercial transportation route and offers scenes of open fields and waterways right in the heart of the Back Mountain!

From Simpson, Lackawanna County, PA, you can access two unique rail trails thanks to the Rail-Trail Council of NEPA. The D&H Rail-Trail is 34 miles, snaking north through Susquehanna County to the NY border. The O&W Rail-Trail runs parallel to the D&H until Union Dale, where it veers east into Wayne County.

The first portion of the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails begins at SR 93 and SR 424 in the southeastern corner of Hazleton and offers four miles of trail to explore. The second segment is three miles, beginning on North Lehigh Gorge Drive and connecting to the D&L Trail.

As the weather tempts you outdoors, consider trekking these and other historic trails in NEPA. Find your new favorite trail through DCNR’s Explore Pennsylvania Trails or DiscoverNEPA today!

 

April Stewardship Tips: Trail Etiquette

 

Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails, Hazle Twp.

 

Getting out on the trail this month? Remember to leave no trace and share the space! Here are some tips for being a steward of the land while hiking, walking and exploring!

Stay on the trail: Trails tell us where to go, but more importantly where NOT to go. Not only is it easy to get lost only a few yards from a trail, but you also risk trampling on delicate plants or disturbing important habitats. Bring some binoculars to get a closer look at things off-trail!

Leave only footprints: Make sure that, if you bring something that makes trash, you bring that trash out with you! Be careful of small bits of paper and plastic that are easily carried away by a breeze. Consider making your hike a plogging adventure by picking up any litter you see along your route.

Take only pictures: While you may be fascinated by a unique rock or want to take a leaf home for identification, protecting these landscapes means leaving their unique features in place for all to enjoy. Take tons of pictures or drop a pin on the trail location to bring your friends back to enjoy the same sights!

Join North Branch Land Trust

Become a member of North Branch Land Trust and support land conservation in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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