A section of the D&L Trail connecting White Haven to Glen Summit had its grand opening on Monday, July 8. About 60 project partners, federal, state and local officials, and guests gathered at the recently completed Black Diamond Trailhead located along Route 437 to celebrate with opening remarks followed by a group bike ride.

Elissa Garofalo, President/Executive Director of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor greeted everyone and introduced dignitaries on hand for the occasion.

Highlighting the list of dignitaries who spoke during the grand opening was Ellen Ferretti, Acting Secretary of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Speakers included John Belcher - Congressman's Lou Barletta District Manager, State Rep. Gerald Mullery, Nick Lylo from the PA Bureau of Forestry, Judy Rimple of the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association, April Hannon. PennDOT District 4-0, contractor Pennsy Supply, Inc. and engineer McTish, Kunkle & Associates.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments and a celebratory cake was provided by the White Haven Bakery. About half the group biked to Moosehead Lake.

The project construction cost $1,150,000 and was funded by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Enhancement and the project contractor was Pennsy Supply, Inc. of Jenkins Township. Additionally, $250,000 in funding for design and engineering costs was provided by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through a Community Conservation Partnership Program grant. McTish, Kunkle & Associates of Allentown designed the trail project.

The Black Diamond trailhead is about 8 miles north of the Route 940 intersection in White Haven. A maroon D&L entrance sign points the way to the parking lot. The a parking lot and trailhead are ADA accessible.

This new section of trail extends a large section of trail ten miles closer towards it ultimate destination at the River Commons in Wilkes-Barre. There is a still incomplete section between White Haven and Glen Summit.

Under the current conditions, here's how you would visit the new section by traveling northward:

Start at the White Haven North Access Trailhead at the northern end of Main Street in White Haven. Park in the new parking lot and begin biking on the rails-to-trails roadbed. After a mile and a half, the trail ends at Middleburg Road, where a future pedestrian crossing is planned.

Turn left (west) and carefully walk or ride several hundred feet along Middleburg Road to an entrance gate to the Black Diamond section of the D&L Trail on right.

The D&L Trail continues along the abandoned Lehigh Valley right-of-way for about eight miles to the new Black Diamond Trailhead and Connector Trail along Route 437. The trail passes over the "Recycled Bridge," which was installed during the first Phase of the project in 2008, over the active Reading and Northern rail lines.

The trail continues four miles past Moosehead Lake, a stretch that passes through State Game Lands and Bureau of Forestry property. There is a partnership between both State Game Commission and Bureau of Forestry for maintenance and patrolling of the trail. Moosehead Lake, now a ghost town was once home to Pennsylvania politician and United States Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer.

After passing Moosehead Lake, the trail continues four miles to the Black Diamond Trailhead and Connector Trail along Route 437, just south of Glen Summit.

"The Black Diamond Trailhead and Connector Trail is our first trail project in Luzerne County," said Scott Everett, Stewardship and Trails Manager for the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. "It is part of our continuing quest to eventually get the D&L Trail to the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre."