In 1987, historian Will Rivinus came up with the idea of leading a tour of the 58.9-mile Delaware Canal, where mule-drawn boats once transported coal and other goods from Easton to Bristol.
Rivinus, author of Guide to the Delaware Canal – 60 Miles of Fun and Adventure, divided the route along the towpath into segments of roughly 12 miles and led groups on five successive Saturdays.
That first Canal Walk was a hit, and the Friends of the Delaware Canal have conducted one every year since, even when flood damage shortened the tour. More than 1,000 people have participated in the walk over the years.
Starting Saturday, Oct. 6, the non-profit group will offer their 25th annual Canal Walk, beginning at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park in Easton. It will end Nov. 3 at Riverfront Park in Bristol Borough.
This year’s walk, which is free, will be 56.6-miles, because last year’s storms washed away some of the towpath south of Easton.
As in past years, Susan Taylor, executive director of Friends, and historians and conservationists will lead the walks, telling about the canal and sites of historic and environmental significance along the route.
The five segments of Canal Walk 2012 are:
Oct. 6 – Wy-Hit-Tuk County Park in Easton to Indian Rock Inn on Route 32, north of Upper Black Eddy. 10.7 miles.
Oct. 13 – Indian Rock Inn to the Kinsman Co. on Route 32 in Point Pleasant. 13.2 miles.
Oct. 20 – Point Pleasant to the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve south of New Hope. 10.5 miles.
Oct. 27 – Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve to the Black Rock Road Picnic Area in Yardley. 9.9 miles.
Nov. 3 – Black Rock Road Picnic Area to Riverfront Park next to Mill Street in Bristol Borough. 12.3 miles.
The walks begin at 9 a.m., and participants can walk on any or all of the Saturdays. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended, because some of the towpath terrain is rough.
Bring a light lunch and beverage each day except Oct. 27, when a free 25th anniversary picnic lunch will be provided.
Carpooling will provide rides back to the starting point.
Donations can be made to the Friends of the Delaware Canal, which works to preserve, improve and interpret the canal and its surroundings.