The Lehigh Valley

A Natural and Environmental History

By (author) Robert Halma, Carl S. Oplinger

Not available to order

Publication date:

01 May 2001

Length of book:

400 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271020938

Comprising approximately 730 square miles and over half a million residents, the Lehigh Valley is the third largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania, encompassing the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. Much is known about the industrial history of the valley (home to Bethlehem Steel, Mack Trucks, and Crayola crayons). But few have discovered the valley’s natural history: the "endless" Blue Mountain, the spectacular raptor migrations, the wetlands and watercourses. The Lehigh Valley explores the land and the natural forces and human history that have altered it.

From boulder fields to water gaps, from sinkholes to limestone caves, the valley has long had a powerful influence on the lives of its residents—and the people have had a similarly powerful effect on the valley; the text features brief profiles of some of the people who have shaped the environmental history of the area. The authors also include directions to historical and natural sites, and the book’s illustrations aid visitors and naturalists in identifying the region’s abundance of flora and fauna. The Lehigh Valley is a unique combination of narrative natural history, identification handbook, and travel and hiking guide. Mountain laurel, red-tailed hawks, dusky salamanders: The Lehigh Valley not only shows us what resides in this beautiful and bountiful valley, but also explains why.

This illustrated guide surveys the valley’s ecology, geology, history, and agriculture—and is complemented by maps and drawings of the area’s plant and animal life. The Lehigh Valley will appeal to area residents, amateur naturalists, and Pennsylvania visitors with an interest in natural history.

“The book is easily the most complete and most up-to-date book on the environmental history of the Lehigh Valley.”

—Tim Blangger, Allentown Morning Call