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The Longest Road: PA's Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is a historic pathway that once carried coal and iron from Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia, connecting the abundant natural resources of northern Pennsylvania with one of America's greatest cities and the rest of the world. Once home to the Native American Lenni Lenape tribe, the large region was a major hub of the industrial revolution. Bethlehem Steel, a world-class business of the 19th century, gained international renown by providing the steel for the George Washington, Brooklyn, and Golden Gate Bridges, as well as the steel for the St. Louis Arch and Madison Square Garden. Now, these organizations are dedicated to revitalizing the natural landscape, preserving its heritage and world-class historical value, and restoring the towns that became empty and abandoned following the surge towards suburbia.

The corridor has many things to do such as biking and hiking. It also has many museums and educational areas, as well as the city of Allentown at its very center. The Lehigh Gap Nature Center, located at the foot of Kittatinny Ridge, is an environmental education center that also hosts a 756-acre wildlife refuge. Much of the land in this area has been restored from an industrial wasteland to a thriving wildlife habitat and water conservation area. Another interesting attraction in the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is the Slate Belt Museum, housed in what was originally the Mount Bethel Presbyterian Church, and built in 1730 by Scotch-Irish families. The country gothic building, listed on the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places, is now a repository for artifacts and other memorabilia that make up the history and culture of the Slate Belt area. 

There are dozens of locations hidden in the hills and ravines of this area; to find them all, or find which ones would interest you, visit the website. A full map of this large region can also be viewed at http://delawareandlehigh.org/map.

Brandon Sherbo, Guest Blogger

 

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