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Pennsylvania Highlands. Photo: T.L. Gettings, Wildlands ConservancyThe Pennsylvania Highlands span 1.4 million acres and form an important statewide greenway, arching from South Mountain on the Maryland border across a band of mountainous country to the steep watershed lands along the Delaware River.

This greenbelt is the backyard for almost every major city in southeastern Pennsylvania and provides critical public resources, including clean drinking water, outdoor recreation opportunities, and wildlife habitat.

Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network Project

Currently, the Highlands Trail traverses the New York Highlands and almost all of the New Jersey Highlands, totaling over 130 miles. The Pennsylvania (PA) Highlands Trail Network will extend the Highlands Trail into the PA Highlands. The PA Highlands span roughly 1.4 million acres from south-central PA at the Maryland border to New Jersey and include parts of 13 counties (Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton, Lehigh, Chester, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Adams, and York).

The intent of the PA Highlands Trail Network is to link existing trails, such as the Horse-Shoe Trail, Mason-Dixon Trail System, Appalachian Trail and others, by creating connections with new trail segments. Loop and spur trails may also be incorporated in order to provide connections to conservation/natural areas, nearby communities, and recreational opportunities. The PA Highlands Trail Network is a collaborative effort between non-profit organizations, public agencies, counties and municipalities, private foundations and other interested groups.

A major goal of the PA Highlands Trail Network is to help increase the conservation of important lands in the PA Highlands, while increasing recreational opportunities to communities in this beautiful region.

Currently, the project is in the initial stages of the planning phase that began in September 2006. A series of roundtable discussions involved public agencies, trail groups, and other stakeholders in envisioning trail extension. A steering Committee has been assembled to develop the implementation strategy.

View a map of the PA Highlands area or download a printable PDF version of the map (1.5 MB).

For more information on the Highlands Trail in the New York and New Jersey Highlands visit the Highlands Trail Overview Map (New York-New Jersey Trail Conferenc.)

To find out more information about the PA Highlands Trail Network Project contact John Brunner, AMC Mid-Atlantic Recreation Planner.

The AMC, The Trust for Public Land, and the Highlands Coalition have unveiled the Pennsylvania Highlands Conservation Atlas, highlighting 11 key Conservation Areas in need of protection in the Pennsylvania Highlands.

AMC and the Highlands Coalition have also created a PA Highlands Greenway Map, which is a roadmap for land protection and identifies core conservation areas, connecting landscape links, and critical treasure areas in the Pennsylvania Highlands.

The Pennsylvania Highlands Conservation Information Center provides tools to assist conservation planning and implementation as well as to track land conservation results in the PA Highlands. The overall goal of the center is to make it easy for users to search, access, and share data on the PA Highlands.

Read more about the AMC’s efforts in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands >>

Partners on the Conservation Atlas include:

Trust for Public Land The Highlands Coalition


Photo: T.L. Gettings, Wildlands Conservancy