Jan 20, 2012

A Park Protester From The Past

`Green' Curtain Blocks Sledding And The View
January 09, 1992|The Morning Call
To the Editor:
Hold your sleds girls and boys! Others, too, on the alert! With the planting of a dense cluster of 60 evergreen trees and the erection of a "No Sledding" sign, creating a veritable iron curtain, the park and watershed people have once again undertaken their repetitive effort of the past 45 years to eliminate a most popular sledding slope in Lehigh Parkway. The motive -- crass self-interest in defiance of public good. The effect -- an impassable barrier and concealment of a magnificent vista of "one of the finest valleys in Eastern Pennsylvania."
Children and adults from the 400 homes with longtime and easy access to the slope and others arriving in cars have enjoyed sledding here after school and into the night and throughout the day and night on weekends. Yet sledding is but one of the attractions of this enduring slope. In summer children and teachers from Lehigh Parkway Elementary School have enjoyed a walk down the slope and into the park for a break from book and blackboard. Birders, joggers, hikers and others on a leisurely stroll engrossed in their particular interest have found the slope irresistible.
For a host of others, this opening into the park after a long stretch of woods presents a charming vista and urge to descend. Interest is immediately evoked by the sight of a mid-19th century log house (now tenanted by a city employee whose privacy is further enhanced by the closure of the slope) and a historic wagon trail leading past the site of a lime kiln to tillable lands of earlier times.
The view takes in an expanse of meadowlands, now groomed, to the Little Lehigh River and up the western slope to Lehigh Parkway North. Indeed, a pleasant view to be esteemed and preserved for generations to come. It was distressing on New Year's Day to see a family and their guests intent upon a walk down the slope suddenly stop in amazement and shock as the closure became evident.
The cost in dollars through the years of the park peoples' fixation on destroying the Parkway slope must be staggering indeed without dwelling on other deliberate depletions. Typically, the placement of the 1991 "No Sledding" sign employed a team of four men with three vehicles -- a backhoe, a panel truck, and a super cab pickup truck, the latter furnishing radio music.
ALLENTOWN The Morning Call, January 9, 1992
reprinted from May 25, 2010

I grew up in the same neighborhood and spent my childhood winters sledding on the same hill. Mr. Luckenbach would also be saddened that the historic Wagon Trail is now also blocked off, near it's exit halfway on the hill. I suppose children, mittens and sledding is too passive a recreation for this Administration's taste.


Anonymous said...

Yes the wagon trail is completely closed, many trees broken during October's storm remain untended and gullies from the Lights traffic and nightly operations remain untouched. This once grand lady is now a second class citizen.

Anonymous said...

Mike where is this hill again?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:05, the stone and log house sits at the western edge of it's base. at one time you could sled all the way from the road at the top of the hill (lehigh parkway south) all the way down. the wagon trail runs on a diagonal from the intersection of catalina and parkway south, and used to exit onto the hill, about 3/4 the way up. the trail has been blocked by a fallen tree(s) for years. the hill was a favorite for the neighborhood kids. unfortunately, the current park director believes that the purpose of the park is for cycling.

Anonymous said...

got it, thanks. I always have trouble orienting myself in the parkway for some reason.

Anonymous said...

The current Physical Culture prevailing in Allentown's magnificent park system is completely out of sync with the impending arrival of the Palace of Sport and should be more focus-oriented to better enable the development of ice hockey players en masse.

The Chairman and Park Director should bear in mind that a team staffed with local American players might sit better with the Proletariat than, say, a squad of toothless foreign mercenaries whose names nobody can pronounce.