• Get Outside

    Built by the AMC, Highlands Mobile contains over 80 great outdoor adventures.

  • Threats

    Discover more than 15 first-hand accounts of cherished parks and trails that have been impacted by fracking.

  • Learn

    Click below for a fun, family-friendly activity, which teaches us about the impacts of our decisions on water quality and watersheds in the PA Highlands.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Help Wanted to Install Water Trail Signage

Our friends at Delaware Canal State Park are seeking volunteers to help with installation of several Delaware River Water Trail Signs at the Giving Pond access, at 10:00 AM on April 19. Giving Pond is located along River Road (Rt. 32) just north of the Frenchtown-Uhlerstown Bridge. For information please call Delaware Canal State park Environmental Education Specialist Sara Berg at 610-982-0161 or via email: sberg@pa.gov.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Bethlehem Bump Into Nature" Hikes Coming this Summer

This summer, AMC is partnering with Wildlands Conservancy, Friends of Johnston, and the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Center to offer four family-friendly nature hikes in the Bethlehem area of the Pennsylvania Highlands.
The event series is called "Bethlehem Bump Into Nature." Designed with young families in mind, these short nature walks (under three miles) will include opportunities to learn about the natural and cultural significance of the Pennsylvania Highlands region. Events are open to the public and free of charge.
The first hike will take place on June 14th (which coincides with National Get Outdoors Day) at Monocacy Way and the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Center, from 9-11 a.m. Healthy snacks will be provided after the walk. 
The other hikes will take place:
  • July 19th, 9-11 a.m. at the historic Johnston Estate 
  • August 23rd, 9-11 a.m. exploring the urban trails of downtown Bethlehem
  • September 27th, 9-11 a.m. at South Mountain. 
More details will be posted shortly at outdoors.org. To learn more or to register early, please contact Cathy Reuscher at creuscher@outdoors.org.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Share Your Outdoor Recreation Priorities with DCNR



The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is writing a new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan ("SCORP") for the years 2014-2018. The new SCORP, like the previous one from 2009-2013, will help guide policy and prioritize funding for recreation projects in Pennsylvania, and is a requirement for receiving federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Planning has been underway for some time, and DCNR is now asking for input to get a better idea of Pennsylvanian's recreation priorities. The confidential online survey, which takes about five minutes to fill out, asks participants to rank the importance of funding projects like bike lanes, community gardens, and dog parks, as well as asking them other questions, like how important outdoor recreation is to their day-to-day lives. 

The answers to those questions will provide guidance to DCNR as they determine ways to connect Pennsylvanian families to outdoor recreation opportunities. The results of the survey will be analyzed along with other data this spring, and a draft plan will be available for review late this summer. 

To participate in the survey, click here!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Get Outdoors Pennsylvania Weekend is June 7th and 8th

Signs of spring are everywhere, and before you know it, it will be time for Get Outdoors Pennsylvania Weekend (and National Trails Day!) on June 7th and 8th.

AMC is teaming up with DCNR, the Delaware Canal State Park, L.L. Bean, and Natural Lands Trust's Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary to provide a number of exciting outdoor activities for families on  June 7th and 8th, which is the same weekend as American Hiking Society's National Trails Day.

Some of the activities we and our partners are providing include a kayaking trip on the canal, a beginners' camping trip for families, a camping gear demo, a safety demonstration, a chestnut tree nature hike, and a bike ride and picnic. These activities are all low-key events that would be perfect for families with young kids.

These activities are part of a state-wide effort led by DCNR called Get Outdoors PA. The purpose of Get Outdoors PA is to connect Pennsylvanian families with the fantastic outdoors activity resources available across Pennsylvania. Get Outdoors PA will list outdoor activities year-round, and most of these activities are free of charge.

To learn more about Get Outdoors PA, and to find activities, including the ones being led by AMC and our partners, check out the Get Outdoors PA website here and click on the tab for "Event Calendar."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

September 11 National Memorial Trail

Last weekend I participated as an Advisory Board member at the September 11 National Memorial Trail Annual Board meeting. The "9-11 Trail" will likely intersect with the PA Highlands Trail.

The meeting was held at the American League of Bicyclists in Washington, DC.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Did the Supremes Say?

Initial media coverage of yesterday's Supreme Court decision pertaining to a rail trail in Wyoming had a decidedly doomsday flavor, and no doubt yesterday's Supreme Court decision will cause chaos and pain for rail trail users and taxpayers - but only within rail corridors of a certain era (later 19th century) and region (western US).

The decision does not affect rail corridors like the Saucon Rail Trail that are still owned by transportation authorities (SEPTA). We'll continue to follow this story closely -- including reports from Rails-To-Trails and major news outlets that have yet to provide any analysis.

Click here to read Rails-To-Trails account.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rails-with-Trails?

Rails-To-Trails Conservancy has produced  a new report on the growing number of Rails-With-Trails.

Could this double track could become a Rail-with-Trail?

Click here find a copy of the report.

Rails-With-Trails are multi-use trails that are located within or adjacent to an active rail corridor. Currently there are 160 of these trails with California and Pennsylvania being the top two host states.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Safe Routes to Everywhere

The Partnership for Active Transportation’s Safe Routes to Everywhere is a new policy platform that offers recommendations to boost networks for walking and bicycling—or active transportation—as critical elements of our transportation system.

The platform was announced recently as the US Congress begins working on a new transportation bill.

Check out this link to find out what Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, America Walks and other partners are proposing as part of the "Safe Routes to Everywhere" policy.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Schuylkill is River of the Year!

The Schuylkill River Sojourn (Photo from Schuylkill River National &State Heritage Area)
Congratulations to all our friends at the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, who have just been awarded a $10,000 leadership grant to plan a year's worth of public events celebrating the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill was just awarded the title "River of the Year" by DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization of Watersheds and Rivers after over 5,000 people logged in to vote in the annual River of the Year contest. This is an amazing opportunity to highlight the hard work that so many people have done to transform one of the nation's dirtiest waterways back into a healthy river that offers fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities for Pennsylvanians all the way from Schuylkill County to downtown Philadelphia. We're looking forward to a year of great programming!

Monday, December 2, 2013

'Walkabilty' enhances status of communties...for those that have it

Although the Highlands Trail was conceived primarily as a "rugged footpath" a good portion of the PA Highlands Trail Network in Pennsylvania will traverse suburban and urban landscapes via towpath, rail trails, multi-use footpaths, and even sidewalks and roadways. The Highlands Trail will create connectivity between several other trail systems, linking parks, town centers, historic sites, schools, and scenic vistas.


Our recently completed Feasibility Study envisions trail routes within the Quakertown Region that cover the gamut of trail types and uses. This region contains a significant number of highway barriers for people who would like to travel short distances by foot or on a bicycle. For example Rt. 309 is difficult for pedestrians to cross, cutting off Quakertown Borough from large subdivisions on the west side of the six lane, heavily traveled commercial strip. A key to developing trails such as those envisioned in the Feasibility Study is to promote the benefits of trails, such as allowing students to walk or bike to school, or making it possible for local residents to visit stores or restaurants.

The benefits of trails are well documented and to add to that body of knowledge a recent survey was conducted for the the National Association of Realtors that provides a strong case that people desire to live in communities that are 1) walkable; 2) contain mixed-use (homes, work places and shopping areas) and; 3) allow for shorter commutes.  Follow this link to read more about the survey.

We anticipate working with our PA Highlands partners to promote the overlooked economic benefits of trails, with outreach to businesses, economic development organizations, health care providers and community leaders. Building a trail network requires significant investments, but there are economic payoffs in addition to the quality of life benefits.