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09/03/2019

Wolf Administration Highlights Connection Between Trails, Small Businesses During Visit to Lehigh Valley

Hellertown, PA -- To recognize the value of trails, Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary Carrie Fischer Lepore today visited Saucon Valley Bikes in Hellertown to learn about the positive impacts of the nearby Saucon Rail Trail on the community, and launch a partnership with Lehigh Valley retailers to support local parks and trails.

"The outdoor recreation industry is strong in Pennsylvania, thanks in part to a network of 12,000 miles of trails, and millions of acres of public lands – all waiting to be explored at little to no cost," Dunn said. "It's exciting to launch the Lehigh Valley Green Retail Program and partner with retailers and trail enthusiasts to enhance the accessiblity and quality of outdoor recreation in the region."

Saucon Valley Bikes is one of the retailers participating in the new program.

"Being located in the center of Hellertown and just over a block away from the Saucon Rail Trail has been very good for my bike shop," Saucon Valley Bikes owner Steve LaBrake said. "One of the biggest surprises was the increase in bike basket sales. This tells me that that trails are not only good for business, but good for the overall quality of life for the community."  

The other businesses are in the Lehigh Valley Green Retail Program are Curt's Cyclery; Cutter's Bike Shop; Easton Outdoor Company; Emmaus Run Inn; and Genesis Bicycles. Lehigh Valley Greenways is looking to expand that number. Customers to these small businesses will be able to donate money to support mini-grants for local trails and parks.  

"No matter where you are in Pennsylvania, fun and excitement is just a train, car, or bike ride away," said Lepore. "Pennsylvania is home to some of the greatest trails in the country, which attract visitors from both near and far. And their dollars follow these trails into our communities supporting jobs, boosting local businesses, and enhancing our overall quality of life."  

In Pennsylvania, outdoor recreation generates $29.1 billion in consumer spending, $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, $8.6 billion in wages and salaries, and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs. 

September is celebrated as Trails Month in the commonwealth. Trails connect places, provide an important connection to nature, and more than 75 percent of Pennsylvanians believe that along with parks they are an essential component of our health care system.

Dunn noted that providing a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvanian is a top DCNR priority that could be greatly assisted through Restore Pennsylvania. Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth's vital infrastructure needs.

In the Lehigh Valley, THE LINK trail network is an interconnected network of multi-use trails offering over 125 miles available for year-round outdoor recreation, alternative transportation, and healthy living. More than 100 additional miles are planned for future completion.  

To find information about trails and upcoming events visit the Explore PA Trails website. Learn more about trail experiences on a short video

Lehigh Valley Greenways is a DCNR Conservation Landscape, in partnership with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, with a mission to use greenways and trails to connect natural and cultural resources across the Lehigh Valley. Find more information about the Green Retail Program on the Lehigh Valley Greenways website. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101

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