• 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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMC Explores Bethlehem's Sections of the PHTN

On the morning of August 23rd, a small group of AMC members headed out in light rain for a three-mile "Urban Bethlehem Hike."
Starting on Sand Island at the Charles A. Brown Ice House, we then crossed the Fahy Bridge to the South Bethlehem Greenway. The Greenway, Bethlehem's newest trail, is a paved path on the South Side that is frequently used for jogging and cycling, but also for picnicking and relaxation. It has been used as a ground for festivals like VegFest, as well, which took place later in the day.
The Greenway took us through downtown South Bethlehem, and we crossed onto the Minsi Trail Bridge, which provided excellent views of the grounds of former Bethlehem Steel, the railroad, and the Lehigh River. We then connected to a section of the D&L Trail (Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor) via the stairs at the end of the bridge. The D&L, an unpaved trail winding between the canal and the river, is also popular with joggers and cyclists, and has a number of interpretive signs about the industrial history of the canal. A short walk on the D&L returned us to our starting point. After a few people said goodbye, the rest of us walked into North Bethlehem's downtown to explore "God's Acre," a historic Moravian cemetery dating from 1762.
Both trails are part of the proposed Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network, which will connect trail users to other recreational trails in the region.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AMC and Friends Explore Johnston Estate

On Saturday, July 19th, a dozen hikers joined AMC and our friends from Wildlands and Friends of Johnston Estate to explore nature and history at the Johnston Estate. Despite its location just off of noisy Route 191, the Johnston Estate is a  quiet park with a wealth of wildlife and connections to local history.
Vicky Bastidas led the group in an interpretive tour of the grounds where Archibald Johnston, the first mayor of Bethlehem, lived with his family. A volunteer from Wildlands also ran a macro-invertebrate sampling exercise of the Monocacy Creek, which yielded a number caddis flies and one little fish. During our walk, we enjoyed handfuls of wild wine berries that we picked along the path.
This short hike was one of a series of events  in partnership with local outdoors groups, aimed at getting children outdoors and promoting local parks and trails. The next event in the series will take place August 23rd and will feature an urban loop hike on the D&L Trail and the South Bethlehem Greenway. For more information on how to join the next hike, please email Cathy Reuscher at creuscher@outdoors.org.

Monday, June 9, 2014

AMC and Friends Celebrate First-Ever Pennsylvania Get Outdoors Weekend

A group of campers enjoying the activities at Ralph Stover State Park
This past weekend, June 7th and 8th, over 90 people joined AMC to celebrate National Trails Day and Pennsylvania's first Get Outdoors PA weekend along with our friends from DCNR, Delaware Canal State Park, Friends of the Delaware Canal, and L.L. Bean.

On Saturday, hikers joined AMC leader Mike Manes on a nature walk to learn about efforts to restore the American Chestnut tree at Mariton Wildlife Preserve. Later on, cyclists enjoyed a bike ride and picnic along the Delaware Canal.  From Saturday evening until Sunday morning, Ian Kindle of DCNR led an introduction to family camping at Ralph Stover State Park, preceded by a gear demo hosted by Steve Johnson from L.L.Bean. The weekend wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with a kayaking trip on the Delaware Canal led by DCNR's Sarah Berg.

These events are representative of the array of activities made available on the Get Outdoors PA website, where visitors can search for all types of outdoor activities near-to-home, including a number of activities led by AMC and our partners.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Northwest River Trail Nears Completion

The soon to be completed Northwest River Trail System along the Susquehanna will be mostly completed this Fall. It's an amazingly scenic stretch and will be a boon for the attractive historic towns that have been challenged with loss of industry and jobs. 

The PA Highlands Trail is envisioned to co-align with this trail and cross the river at Columbia (Lancaster County) to Wrightsville (York County) to join the Mason Dixon Trail.

Read about this new trail system's rapid progress here.

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.