Blog Post By: Elissa Garofalo, D&L Executive Director
A lot, when it comes to our collective success.
Each designation — Black Diamond, Lehigh Gorge, Lehigh Canal, Asher T. Boyer, Lehigh River Water Bike Trail and Delaware Canal Towpath — commemorates a unique story found along the 165-mile D&L Trail.
When the original D&L Commissioners settled on the name “Delaware & Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor and State Heritage Park,” they were thinking about mission and purpose: interpreting stories of communities that grew up around the mountain mines and along the transportation route, the flourishing industries that arose because of anthracite’s availability, and the people who have lived and worked here. It would assist state and local authorities in preserving and interpreting the Corridor’s historic and cultural resources and foster compatible economic development.
All eleven words of our original name are certainly informative, but, it’s a mouth full. Perhaps our early leaders did not consider the day would come when the D&L would become a subject so many are interested in.
Other names were considered. Earlier in my career, I recall talk of the Two Tow Trail, but what about the railroads that replaced the towpath canals? And then there was the Chief Tamanen Trail to celebrate the 1683 deed signer conveying what is now Bucks County to William Penn. But what about the other four counties? Somewhere around 2006 we settled on the D&L Trail. It was what everyone was calling the path that connects us, anyway.
Today we celebrate the whole 165-mile Corridor and Trail, its five counties (Luzerne, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks), three regions (Anthracite, Lehigh Valley, Delaware Canal) and dozens of sections under the D&L. Delaware & Lehigh evokes our rivers, canals and railroads – the very transportation path that ferried anthracite from mine to market. We’re an organization and a trail that will soon be Pennsylvania’s longest.
With 88%of the D&L Trail connected, we are more committed than ever to the “foster compatible economic
development” part of our mission. By collectively and consistently using the D&L Trail name as we refer to trail sections (i.e. D&L Trail – Delaware Canal Towpath Section), we acknowledge the local story and gain traction in marketing our long-distance trail as an economic generator for small business and the hospitality industry as well as a key component to area’s health, wealth and quality of life.
D&L is our brand and we want folks to get our name right. More importantly, the D&L Trail is the place where we can collectively tell our region’s nationally-significant story.