Connecting. Revitalizing. Preserving.

That's the mission of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, as explained during a joint meeting of the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce earlier this week.

Peter Kern, president of the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce, introduced Elissa Garofalo, President & Executive Director of the D&L Heritage Corridor, whom he said is "passionate about this area, the history of this area, and preservation."

Garofalo said the organization enriches communities through actions and partnerships that conserve the resources, preserve the history, and enhance the quality of life.

She then updated the chambers on the status of the D&L Trail in both Carbon County, as well as the Northern Lehigh Area.

Once complete, Garofalo said the 165-mile-long trail will extend from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol, Bucks County, following the Lehigh Canal, Delaware Canal and old railroad beds.

At present, Garofalo said 98-percent of the D&L Trail is currently in public hands. In Carbon County, the D&L Trail is about 30 miles long, and runs along the Lehigh River, from Lehigh Gorge State Park to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, she said.

Garofalo said portions that have been completed as of this time are the Lehigh Gorge State Park; Nesquehoning Trestle; LGSP to downtown Jim Thorpe; Weissport to Jim Thorpe; East Penn Township to Lehigh Gap; Lehigh Gap to Cementon; the Slatington Trailhead; and the Walnutport Canal Towpath & Trailhead.

Portions of the trail that are in the works include the Lehighton Trailhead, Lehighton Spur (Turnpike Bridge), and Slatington Pedestrian Crossing, Garofalo said. The "new" Mansion House Bridge, Weissport to Lehighton Connector, and East Penn Pedestrian Crossing, are portions that are on the horizon, she said.

"Once we have this trail, it has to be maintained and sustained," Garofalo said. "It's a resource that's in your backyard, and I would encourage you to become a member."

Garofalo said individual memberships are available to those who wish to join the organization, and added that members receive various benefits.

Kern added "everyone should consider being a member of the D&L when we realize the type of asset it is."

Garofalo noted the second annual D&L Half Marathon/Marathon will be held Nov. 4.

For more information on the organization, visit info@delawareandlehigh.org, or www.delawareandlehigh.org.

Afterward, members were invited to take a tour of the Blue Ridge Communications TV13 Studio.

Prior to the start of the joint luncheon, Kern took a few moments to discuss the significance of the day, which marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country.

"We are all here for a good purpose; to recognize that today is a very sad day in our nation's history," Kern said. "It was a tragedy that never befell us before, and is certainly something we hope never befalls us again."

Kern added that "we are targets", and that "we should always have an awareness that the world is a very complex place."

He then said everyone should take a moment to remember the victims of 9/11.