Monday, October 2, 2017
“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
The colorful sign of the nearby Ranger Rod & Gun Club (Ranger’s Lake), Coplay, Pennsylvania, stands out on an early October evening along the Ironton Rail Trail.
The Ironton Rail Trail loops more than nine miles through Whitehall Township, the Borough of Coplay and North Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania.
The Ironton Railroad was a shortline railroad in Lehigh County. Originally built in 1861 to haul iron ore and limestone to blast furnaces along the Lehigh River, traffic later shifted to carrying Portland Cement when local iron mining declined in the early 20th century. Much of the railroad had already been abandoned when it became part of Conrail in 1976, and the last of its trackage was removed in 1984.
In 1996, Whitehall Township purchased 9.2 miles of the right-of-way from Conrail, transforming it into the Ironton Rail Trail.