The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Landowner Spotlight: Lehigh County

By Liz Rosencrans, Trail & Stewardship Manager

In this continuation of our landowner spotlights we got to know Lehigh County. We caught up with Robert Stiffler, the Director of Parks for Lehigh County.  

Within the County, there are 18+ miles of open D&L Trail and 10+ miles of future trail that when complete will result in nearly 30 miles that traverse both sides of the Lehigh River. Nearly a third of that (13 miles) is owned and maintained by Lehigh County, from mile marker 79-80 and from 83-95. In this section, the D&L traverses a range of landscapes, connects to numerous local parks and trails, and will eventually even link to the Ironton Rail Trail. 

Q&A with Robert Stiffler 

Q: What does the D&L Trail mean to Lehigh County? 

A: It is an opportunity for Lehigh County to provide our residents with an awesome recreational facility that contributes to the quality of life in the county, stimulates local tourism and brings attention to the significant industrial history of Lehigh County and the Lehigh Valley.    

Q: What has the partnership with the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor meant to Lehigh County? 

A: Our partnership has helped us to establish approx. 11 miles of trail in Lehigh County and the D&L assists us in  daily maintenance needs by passing on reported issues to us. This partnership enables us to do a much better job keeping the trail in good condition. 

Q: What are some of the challenges in maintaining the D&L Trail along the Lehigh River and Lehigh Canal?  

A: The main challenges are budgetary and manpower related. We try to maintain a high caliber of quality on the trail, and to do that requires a commitment of manpower each and every week. We spend on average 16 to 20 man hours per week and more when needed or if there is an event or storm.    

Another challenge is getting trail users to respect each other and adjoining landowners. Speeding bicyclists are often a concern as other trail users often cannot hear them approaching from behind unless verbal cues or a bell is used, and this is not always the case.   

Q: What is your favorite part of the D&L Trail? 

A: The trail section from Treichler’s to Slatington for its beautiful scenery. This section gives trail users a sense of wilderness isolation with beautiful views along the Lehigh River. It’s a great stretch for being out in Mother Nature.  

Q: What would you like to share with D&L Trail users? 

A: Please be respectful of others and of the trail

Fun Facts about Lehigh County 

  • The D&L Trail is considered a linear park- please follow the carry in and carry out rules. 
  • The County’s Park & Recreation Department is responsible for 13 parks comprising over 4000+ acres of County park land and open space.  
  • The D&L Trail is on the Lehigh Canal Towpath on the eastern side of the Lehigh River, and on former railroad beds on the western side of the River.  
  • The development of the D&L Trail from Deily Coal Yard in Catasauqua to Hanover Canal Park is in the final engineering phase and is anticipated to move into construction in the Summer / Fall of 2021