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NAHS students clean up D&L Trail

Twenty-plus Northampton Area High School students and two high school teachers assembled early Jan. 28 to participate in a volunteer cleanup on the D&L Trail in North Catasauqua Borough.

Becky Wagner, teacher and Volunteer Club adviser, and Jason Jones, teacher and Biology Club adviser, helped organize the cleanup, an adoption of sorts, of a span of the trail. Both NAHS teachers guided the students in this program, called the D&L Trail Tenders.

Whitney Davison, D&L Trail education manager, addressed the students about the mechanics of the Trail Tenders effort. She noted their volunteer effort was to adopt a 1-mile length of trail beginning in North Catasauqua and extended a mile through part of Northampton Borough.

Davison said the trail runs from Luzerne County to Bucks County, a length of about 165 miles that winds through Northampton, Catasauqua and North Catasauqua boroughs along the former Lehigh Canal that ran through these and other municipalities.

Officially called the Delaware and Lehigh County National Heritage Corridor, Davison admitted the acronym is struggling to catch on as it is more efficient for people to reference D&L Trail.

The planned monthly cleanup, as part of the Trail Tenders program, takes about an hour to complete. Davison provided two cleanup devices used to pick up debris described as “yucky.” Gloves were available, along with orange vests for volunteer safety, garbage bags, a sponge with a cleaner to wipe off trail signs and wax to place on a trail sign after it is cleaned to protect it from the elements.

Also provided by Davison was a product called Goo Gone, used to remove graffiti.

Denna the Mule, the D&L mascot, was present for the gathering. The mascot honors the mules that pulled the canal boats when the canal system was used to transport goods and commodities from Luzerne County.

Matthew Gunia used a picker device to pick up debris. It was the first time he ever used the device but got the hang of it quickly. He seemed satisfied with his work.

The youths appeared interested in the work and began to plan, talk about the cleanup hour and have some fun in the process. The overt goal of the Trail Tenders program is to clean the trail, but a tacit goal is to instill the spirit of volunteerism in the youngsters that hopefully they internalize for their future activities.

Davison concluded saying there is trail etiquette to follow when volunteering, such as being polite to trail users who may not know what the Trail Tenders are doing and identifying themselves as members of the program.

She ended her presentation by thanking the students and teachers for volunteering to help keep their part of the trail clean.

Northampton Area High School student Matthew Gunia picks up debris during a volunteer cleanup event on the D&L Trail in North Catasauqua Borough Jan. 28. Gunia and his peers participated in the cleanup are part of the Trail Tenders program.
NAHS students discuss their first steps in cleaning up the trail.
Whitney Davison, D&L Trail education director, addresses Northampton Area High School students before the Jan. 28 D&L Trail cleanup.
PRESS PHOTOS BY BILL LEINER JR. Students and teachers gather for a group photo.