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Remember: The Canal Parks: Hanover Township

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Canal Parks: Hanover Township


I had no idea there was a Canal Park in Hanover Township. I went out in search of Catasaqua Lake. Using Google maps, I found it down the road from Kimmet’s Lock on Dauphin Street just past the Allentown city line. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw that sign.

I realized for the first time that I had discovered a series of “Canal Parks” along the Lehigh starting with Hugh Moore Park and appearing all the way through Northampton. I have offered extensive coverage of Allentown’s Canal Park and I have also posted about Bethlehem’s park on the canal, Sand Island Park. It is my belief that to better understand the current situation at our Canal Park, it is of the utmost importance to visit these other canal parks and as always, I am going to be taking you with me.

This Canal Park begins with an area of pavilions and historical preservation.



There are two signs with species identifications on them that include types of birds and fish seen in the park. I haven’t seen signs like this anywhere in Allentown’s park system and I think they could be a valuable addition to some of our parks, especially the more naturalized ones.

Like Sand Island, there is direct preservation of former canal fixtures in this park. These are not the D and R preservation pieces seen there and at other points along the towpath trail. These are unique to this Canal Park.


To the left of The Locktender’s House a trail is cut through the woods. It is a beautiful walk that follows alongside the empty canal bed and eventually under the rather high Route 22 Bridge.



The trail ends abruptly in what appears to be someone’s backyard. I have too often been trespassing this summer trying to discover things. On my way back I was amazed at the contrast in front of me. I could have been in a any Eastern Pennsylvanian forest but with a slight turn of the head I could see busy Dauphin Street buzzing with cars and activity.

Back in the park, I saw a very familiar Canal Park staple:

The towpath returns.

Here, the towpath follows the still empty Canal on one side and borders Catasaqua Lake on the other. Due to the wet summer that we have been having a very small amount of standing water has developed in parts of the idle canal.

At the end of the lake, the trail splits. One path leads on to the next Canal Park in Northampton and the other loops back around Catasaqua Lake and to the parking lot. I opted to explore this Canal Park further and save the trip to Northampton for another day. The lake is much more like Muhlenberg Lake than Lake Nockamixon. Parts of this park appear very much to be influenced by the presence of wetlands and the shallow lake serves to prove it.

There is a “pier” here. I put pier in quotes because it appears to be a long piece of plastic formed to look like wood anchored by four metal poles. The thing shakes and bends with every footstep and I really did not want to fall in, so it made me a bit nervous to walk on.

There are an abundance of things worth checking out at this Canal Park. It is unparalleled as far as maintenance and preservation go.I am saving a complete comparison until I have visited all of them. Rest assured, the close proximity of this park makes it worth a visit to any Allentonian. I took a lot from my visit to Hanover Township’s Canal Park and with Sand Island behind me I look forward to visiting Northampton and Hugh Moore to really see what is possible and what needs to be avoided concerning the future of our Canal Park.

See Also:
The Canal Parks (Thus Far)

Directions from 15th and Chew in Allentown:

View From Allentown to Canal Park,Hanover Township in a larger map

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3 Comments:

Blogger LVCI said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 26, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

This basically goes back to the original controversy... once our current parks are brought up to snuff, then you move on to all the bells & whistles. While Argumentively that is taking place at the rose garden currently, that cannot be said of the others.

There is plenty of work that remained to be done within our current park system that needed to be done. We've been biking for decades and see these places you are now discovering outside this city's limits.

Try driving down to Green Lane, Pa. and do the Perkiomen trail that runs all the way into Fairmont Park, Phila. Try the canals of Weissport, Jim Thorpe, Slatington, Tincium Park, Bucks County, Reading and others. The rails-to-trails in Stockertown, Bethlehem Township, Bath, Forks Township, Lehigh Gorge, etc.

The fact is Allentown either left their parks go to pot while the rest of the areas look much like what your showing here. These others polished their parks to make them look spectacular erstwhile ours have gone downhill through neglect.

Are you also aware on the West bank of the Lehigh River Allentown has a right of way that connects to Whitehall's Ironton trail? Yeah we didn't do a damn thing with that either! It is where the sewer lines run from Whitehall underground to the Allentown Sewer plant. Right behind the so-called Allentown Riverfront Development Project area.

Talk to me about adding amenities after we upgrade the neglectful conditions of the ones we already have.

August 26, 2009 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Fair enough LVCI. It is my hope that future park development projects in Allentown, and there are going to be alot of them address the glaring issues at places like Canal Park and Jordan Park. I know they are working on a master plan for Jordan..

I will be visiting more parks and nature preserves outside the Allentown area. As I have begun to do that it has really helped shine a light on the situation in Allentown; especially in regards to what needs to be done as the city decides what its next steps will be with our park system.

August 26, 2009 at 9:39 AM  

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