Many valuable open space resources worthy of discovery and preservation exist throughout Northampton County – scenic mountains and farmland views, river corridors and large forests, parks and historic sites. The Kittatinny Ridge to the north, provides a scenic backdrop with distinctive gaps, overlooks and a globally significant greenway. The Delaware River flows along the eastern portion of the County and the Lehigh River to west, provide ecological and recreational opportunities to all types of users. The southern portion of the County is bounded by the rolling hills of the Pennsylvania Highlands. Tying it all together are picturesque farmlands and woodlands that roll throughout the central regions of Northampton County. Northampton County has an abundant variety of resources for outdoor recreation opportunities. Within its borders sits the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Jacobsburg State Park & Environmental Education Center, Delaware Canal State Park, ten county parks and numerous local parks. Northampton County is a hub for major trail systems such as the D&L Trail, September 11th National Memorial Trail and the Liberty-Water Gap Trail, connecting to over 300-miles of land and water trails. Northampton County’s Open Space exist throughout from rolling hillsides and valleys to our waterways and flyways.
Northampton County, Pennsylvania, is known for its ambition and enduring spirit. One of the world’s largest industrial steel plants was born here. So too were America’s most prized 1800’s slate quarries. Thousands of laborers supported these operations, went off to World
Wars, and returned to invigorate the universities and businesses the
County is known for today. Over 300,000 people are thought to live here
now, and while their quality of life needs are different from the Industrial
Revolution, their determination is stronger than ever. In recent years, Northampton County residents voiced, repeatedly, their life interests are directly linked to the natural environment. They responded a resounding ‘yes’ to more land conservation. They asked for more support for farming, for habitat protection, and for outdoor
recreation. They declared given half a chance, they would spend more time and more money on these interests.
The Northern Tier Trail Feasibility Study is Northampton County’s presentation of an idea that when complete will improve the lives of its
residents, link the region’s largest trails, and connect local businesses with thousands of visitors and tourists. The study had three main goals:
To proof the alignment of a 35-mile trail from the Lehigh River to the Delaware River;
To identify the opportunities and constraints of linking the trail to existing parks, trails, boroughs and other special places;
To create an economic and tourism boost for the Northern-Tier;
…and, the findings of the study suggest the trail is feasible, and even more important, realizable in the near future!
To view the DRAFT Northern Tier Trail Feasibility Study, click here.
The 160-acre Gall Farm is made up of four parcels, two north and two south of Gall Road, has farmland that is leased to a local farmer, woodlands and the Little Bushkill Creek, with steep slopes on the eastern side of the stream. Scenic views are available in almost all directions from the highest elevation, with sights of the City of Bethlehem and the Wind Gap along the Kittatinny Ridge. Two old quarries exist on the site, which are currently surrounded by a chain link fence. The Plainfield Township Recreation Trail runs through the western part of the property and two farm buildings are located along the north side of Gall Road. The rural landscape of the area is a high-priority for the local residents and for the County. Much of the land around the property is preserved through the State/County/Township preservation program.
The 7-mile Plainfield Recreation Trail is overlaid with the 18-mile Two Rivers Trail and the 1,300-mile September 11th National Memorial Trail. As Plainfield Township is actively working with Northampton County and other Two Rivers Area communities, it is clear that the Plainfield Recreation Trail will experience a surge in users. Indeed, the current trail parking facilities are near or already at maximum capacity, with many residents and regional users of the trail parking along Township roads on a regular basis in order to utilize the trail facilities. The northern portion of the Trail will identify an east/west connection with the Northern Tier Trail (currently being planned) to accommodate connections into the Boroughs of Pen Argyl and Wind Gap. Specific site analysis including increased parking/trailhead areas, buffer areas and ADA accessibility will be a key component.
The Master Site Plan for the Gall Farm and Plainfield Recreational Trail will highly prioritize planning efforts to be a green/sustainable park. Specifically, the study will incorporate the following principles: low environmental impact; respect towards the existing environment, wildlife and natural resource systems; enrichment of the end user's experience; incorporating native materials and plants into the end design when feasible; promoting innovative design and construction practices where feasible; and the conscious restoration of any disturbed landscapes.
Please help us to create this new recreation area by filling out a brief survey by clicking here.
Northampton County has been selected to participate in a Geotourism project surrounding the Delaware River. National Geographic and the National Parks Conservation Association, funded by William Penn Foundation, are working within a 9-county area in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The focus of the project is to highlight local businesses, events and heritage. http://delawareriver.natgeotourism.com/
Northampton County has hired Hanover Engineering to complete the engineering and design of a 1.6 mile section of trail. The trail will provide access from the Stockertown and Plainfield Trails to Jacobsburg State Park. The project is being funded by the Act 13 – Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund (provide a map of the area)