Lehigh Valley Greenways
Located in Lehigh and Northampton counties, Lehigh Valley Greenways is using greenways and trails to connect natural and cultural resources across the Lehigh Valley linking urban areas to outdoor experiences, protecting watersheds, and retaining the character of the landscape, the region’s heritage and the community.
On the eastern edge of Pennsylvania, less than 90 miles from New York City, Northampton County and neighboring Lehigh County are rich in natural resources—from the majestic Blue Mountain (Kittatinny Ridge) to the north, the scenic South and Lehigh mountains (Pa. Highlands) to the south, and the fertile farmlands of the Great Valley in between. The Lehigh River, the Delaware River and many smaller streams beckon boaters and anglers and serve as sources of drinking water. These waters and the surrounding fields and forests provide critical habitat to birds, mammals, and other wildlife. But these counties are two of the fastest growing counties in the state.
Population is predicted to increase 22 percent by 2030 to over 700,000 people. The Lehigh Valley’s natural resources are at risk.
The Lehigh Valley Greenways aims to accelerate the conservation of critical open spaces and natural corridors and to establish greenways and recreational trails throughout the region. Activity is presently focused on the Two Rivers Area of Northampton County but will expand to other priority areas in the Lehigh Valley. DCNR’s Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Northampton County serves as a focal point for public outreach and education efforts related to the initiative. One high priority is to preserve the connection between Jacobsburg and the Kittatiny Ridge
The goals of the region are to:
- conserve and connect at least 25 percent of the natural areas with high conservation value to preserve the Lehigh Valley’s remaining unprotected significant natural areas and watersheds
- create greenways and trail connections that connect people and outdoor recreation experiences in core communities to valued natural, recreational, and cultural resources
- revitalize core communities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton by integrating green infrastructure into riverfront development, greenways and trails, and neighborhood revitalization projects
- increase the understanding and use of smart growth land use practices to create more livable and sustainable communities and protect the quality of life