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Last week Secretary Michael DiBerardinis, head of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), visited the Lehigh Valley for a two-day tour and the presentation of several large grants. The DCNR is charged with maintaining and preserving the commonwealth’s state parks and forest land, providing information on the state’s ecological and geologic resources, and establishing community conservation partnerships to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space and natural areas.
On Thursday, Secretary DiBerardinis toured Northampton County sites and presented recreation and conservation grants totaling $282,600. Palmer Township received $200,000 to improve the Bushkill Creek bike and walking path, which is an integral part of the Lehigh Valley’s extensive greenway network stretching from the Delaware River to the Appalachian Trail at Lehigh Gap. In addition, the Nature Conservancy received $82,600 to protect two parcels of land in Upper Mount Bethel Township.
The next day Secretary DiBerardinis visited sections of the D&L Trail in Lehigh County and attended a grant announcement and trail dedication at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center. The Center’s Executive Director Dan Kunkle accepted a check for $200,000 to improve interpretive signage, support environmental education, and plan for a renovated visitor and education center.
After the check presentation, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the opening of the overhauled trail section and trailhead at Lehigh Gap. Although the section is relatively short, it completes a portion of finished D&L Trail running approximately 8 miles from Slatington and Walnutport to Bowmanstown. The event brought out dozens of supporters, state and local officials, and members of the press.
D&L Conservation Resource Specialist Sherry Acevedo organized both days of events and served as indefatigable tour guide. We thank Sherry, Secretary DiBerardinis, and all of the supporters who attended the events for their commitment to conserving the natural resources of the Lehigh Valley.