The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Developing Resilience

By Claire Sadler, Deputy Director

At the D&L, we have often talked about resilience as a theme. A theme that defines our organizational history as well as the heritage that we help to preserve and interpret. However, I think it is safe to say that never in our 32 years have we been dealt more adversity. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these challenges were COVID-related and some not. From an oil spill in the canal to email hackers.  Boat crew testing centers closed for COVID to Tropical Storm Isaias trail washouts. We have faced so much. As a result, I have been immensely proud of our staff and volunteers. They rose to the occasion time and again continuing the D&L mission of making connections. 

I recently read an article about tips for developing resilience as an individual and realized how true many of the tips are for D&L as well. As we all face the continued challenges of this year and life, I thought I would share how we’ve nurtured resilience.

Build your connections 

Prioritize relationships or join a group. We appreciated connecting with so many of you in the D&L Trail Challenge Facebook groups. We learned more about what inspires D&L Trail users to walk, run and roll; saw pictures of wonderful places people were spreading out on the trails; and got to share in the experience together while staying physically distant. Tag #DLtrail on social media to connect with us more.  

Foster wellness 

Take care of your body and practice mindfulness. Trail counts, this year, were consistently higher than 2019 numbers. This reminds us how necessary time in nature, exercise and outdoor recreation are for our communities– this year more than ever. Breathe fresh air and clear your mind on the D&L Trail.  

Find purpose 

Help others, be proactive and look for opportunities for self-discovery. A series of Closing the Gaps virtual town halls and no-touch trailside visitor centers brought us closer to the community members to answer questions, better understand community needs, and hear reminders why our work is important. Help us build more D&L Trail by dedicating your donation to the trail, today.  

Embrace healthy thoughts 

Keep things in perspective, accept change, and learn from your past. Everyone is going through struggles, whether visible or hidden and COVID-related or not. So with each new challenge, we looked for the silver lining and opportunities for improvement. Let us know what D&L changes and adaptations you are most happy with by writing a review online.  

Andrew Zolli says resilience is the capacity to maintain core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances. At D&L, we focused on staying healthy, keeping D&L Trail miles open for fresh air, respite, and exercise, and providing educational opportunities, both social-distanced and virtual, for educating and entertaining people of all ages.  

We have felt closer than ever to our D&L Community, all while staying six feet apart. Our team made it possible to connect with you all through virtual field trips, no-touch trailside visitor centers, socially distanced rides on the canal boat, the new D&L Trail Challenge, and record trail counts. We hope you have seen the benefits of our efforts and partnership progress while you’ve been out in the Corridor, whether on the D&L Trail, in the towns, visiting Trail Friendly Businesses, in the National Canal Museum or following our online updates.

If you’ve flocked like many to the D&L Trail during the pandemic, consider supporting our efforts to keep connecting trail gaps and improving existing trail by becoming a member or donating to the D&L, today.