The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Landowner Spotlight: Delaware Canal State Park
(Photo courtesy of Friends of the Delaware Canal) 

By Geoff Merz, Program Coordinator

In this new section of Dirt on the Trail, we highlight – one by one –the landowners of the various sections of the D&L Trail. Without their support and great efforts, the trail would not be where it is today. 

In this feature, we caught up with Devin Buzard, the Park Manager at the Delaware Canal State Park.  

The Delaware Canal State Park was established in 1940. Today, it is home to 60 miles of multi-use D&L trail stretching from Bristol to the forks of the Delaware in Easton. Along this extended towpath, 23 locks remain in varied permanence. In effect, the towpath depicts the old route of shipping goods throughout the eastern PA corridor. From riverside to farm fields to historic towns, visitors to Delaware Canal State Park enjoy an ever-changing scenery.  

Q&A with Devin Buzard: 

Q: What does the D&L trail mean to the Delaware Canal State Park? 

A: We are one and the same tied together. Since the creation of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor in 1988, the trail has been a part of who we are and the opportunities we can provide for the public. It is not just supporting the trail – the trail is part of our identity. We are the trail. 

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

A: It is critical to have an advocate and a partner. Someone that supports the work you do in its totality. So especially as a resource to Pennsylvania’s, the D&L has been instrumental in what we do daily here. This transportation system has been in use for over 180 years, dating back to the creation of the canals along this section of the Delaware River in 1832. Our partnership with the D&L allows us to keep this corridor moving and touching the lives of many people.  

Q: Sixty miles is a lot of trail, what does it take to maintain it and what motivates you to do so? 

A: We hold the belief of being caretakers of the trail. Of maintaining it in its perpetuity for future generations to enjoy. Especially, as something with national historic significance, we have to maintain its value. It takes a lot of work and money to keep this place up and running. It is a multipronged effort that brings together state personnel, volunteers, non-profits, support organizations, in addition to support from local legislatures and other stakeholders up and down the entire length. Neighbors will come out and help. Even something as simple as moving fallen branches off the trail is a big deal. The trail creation and maintenance do not happen in a vacuum and never have.  

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

A: I really do enjoy lock 22 to 23 adjacent to the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area. There is a pretty significant elevation change and an old hydro plant that was built in the 1900s that speaks to the history of the area. It is not only the physical location, but also the amount of activity – be it people picnicking or other outdoor activities – that is going on there that makes it a stunning place. It is a great spot that encompasses a lot that we do. But, there are many places throughout the park that catch my eye!  

(Photo courtesy of Pete Long) 

Delaware Canal State Park Fun facts 

  • The first shovelful of dirt was dug in Bristol on October 27, 1827. Consequently, this commenced the construction of the Delaware Canal. Check out the abbreviated history of the Delaware Canal
  • The Delaware Canal State Park employs 14 full-time maintenance staff across the trail! 
  • The park has 11 river islands that provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl and songbirds.
  •  The Giving Pond, a former quarry, is now home to a 90-acre pond that is open for non-motorized boating.
  • Check out the interactive map and recreation guide to learn more about historic places of interest, trailhead locations, hiking options, and more! 
  • The Friends of the Delaware Canal is a non-profit located in a lock-tenders house along the trail that dedicates itself to helping preserve the beauty of the canal and trail. Volunteers are welcome!