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Some key dates in the rails-to-rails initiative:

  • 1976 - Federal Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act ("4R Act") provides funding, information exchange and technical assistance to preserve corridors and create public trails, and allows disused railroad corridors to be preserved in public ownership rather than sold and dismantled.

  • 1986 - Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit, is organized to create a national network of trails from former rail lines and to advocate federal and state investment in safe trails.(

  • 1990 - Pennsylvania passes its Rails-to-Trails Act, making funding available for creating trails on abandoned railways through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)(


Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of rail trails.

See APPENDIX D for a index to the trails located on the maps of this website.  Trails are identified by [Tr-__].

The longest and perhaps most interesting of the rail trails in the anthracite region is the 50-plus-mile-long section of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail.  (Visit the D&L Trail website:  The planned northernmost leg will rise from the Wilkes-Barre/Pittson area to Mountain Top-Glen Summit on Penobscot Mountian.  From there the existing trail descends to White Haven, runs through the Lehigh Gorge State Park to Jim Thorpe, and continues to the Lehigh (Water) Gap and downriver.  APPENDIX E describes, in tabular format, how the route of the existing trail relates to the railroad lines and the Lehigh River.

National Memorial Trail


The 1,300-mile-long September 11th National Memorial Trail is being planned to link the Pentagon Memorial, the Flight 93 National Memorial (Shanksburg, PA) and the National September 11 Memorial (New York City).  (See )  The National Memorial Trail map (updated May 2016) includes several of the trails and trail segments depicted on the maps of this present website, namely:

  • Schuylkill River (Bartram Section)

    • Tr-2a and -2b, Hamburg to Auburn

    • Tr-3, north of Auburn (Auburn Basin) to Landingville

  • Schuylkill Valley, Tr-14, Middleport to Tamaqua

  • Delaware and Lehigh, Tr-6b, -6c and -6d, Jim Thorpe to Slatington

The National Memorial Trail map also shows a trail section from the Lansdale/Coaldale area east to Jim Thorpe, not identified as a trail in this present study.

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