BUSHKILL - Some important roadway repairs have been completed in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area following the flood and wind damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in August and September 2011. Most of the 67,000 acre park is open to the public for winter recreation, although some popular recreation sites, roads and trails remain closed pending repairs.
“I am optimistic that additional areas can be reopened in the spring, but this is dependent on funding and weather,” said Superintendent John Donahue. “Park staff have been concentrating their efforts on repairing the most critical and highly-visited areas of the park, particularly the roads that serve as vital transportation routes for local residents and visitors alike. The recent mild weather has also allowed staff to work on some of the trails.
We have prioritized a long list of recovery projects, including roads, trails and recreation sites, and a plan of action for repairs is being implemented. The estimated cost of necessary repairs exceeds seven million dollars. As always, our main concern is for the health and safety of the public,” he added.
What’s Open Now
- Old Mine Road and NPS 615 (NJ): These roads have been reopened to through traffic following completion of emergency repairs in the Flatbrook area.
- Permanent road repairs will require additional work at a later date.
- NPS 602 (NJ): This road is open from the park boundary to the intersection with Old Mine Road at Millbrook Village.
- River Road (PA): The road is open for normal use.
- U.S. Route 209 (PA): This road is open for normal use from the park entrance south of Bushkill Falls Road to PA 739; traffic is detoured for normal use and detoured along PA 739 and SR 2001 (Milford Road) between PA
- 739 and Milford, Pennsylvania. Between PA 739 and Milford, the road is open for recreational use, except for a short section from Milepost 14.8 to 15.3. This section is not open to through traffic.
- Raymondskill Road: This road is open between U.S. Route 209 and SR 2001 (Milford Road).
- Appalachian Trail (NJ and PA): The trail is open through the park.
- Mt. Tammany (NJ) and Mt. Minsi (PA): Trails to the tops of these peaks are open.
- Kaiser, Coppermine, Coventry Pond, and Hamilton Ridge Trails (NJ): The trails are open.
- Buttermilk Falls Trail (NJ): The trail is open; winter weather may limit access.
- Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail (PA): Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail (PA): The trail is open, except for a 4.2-mile, storm-damaged segment between Pittman Orchard and White Pine Trailheads.
- Pocono Environmental Education Center Trails – PEEC (PA): The trails at PEEC are open.
- Pocono Environmental Education Center Trails (PA): The trails at PEEC are open.
- Toms Creek, Raymondskill Falls and Cliff Park Trails (PA): The trails are open; winter weather may limit access.
- Kittatinny Point (NJ): the picnic area and grounds are open; however, the visitor center is closed for the winter.
- Dingmans Campground (PA): the campground, on Route 209 in Dingmans Ferry, is open for winter camping.
- Hialeah, Tom’s Creek, and Hidden Lake Recreation Sites (all in PA): The picnic areas and trails are open.
Everything possible is being done to repair and recover from the latest series of hurricanes and floods. Following is a list of the challenges still before us.
What’s Still Closed
Roads - The following roads are closed to all vehicles. If normally permitted, activities such as hiking, fishing, and hunting are allowed in areas of road closure:
- U.S. Route 209 (PA): As noted before, the road is closed between mileposts
- 14.8 and 15.3 due to a landslide that caused the road surface to drop approximately six inches in October. On the east side of the road, the embankment collapsed approximately eight vertical feet, which also affected a portion of the McDade Trail. Reopening U.S. Route 209 in a safe manner is a top priority and is being treated as an emergency by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Every effort is being made to accelerate the repairs, which will require extensive construction. The FHWA does not expect the road to be reopened to through traffic until summer or fall of 2012. An update on the plans for the needed repairs is expected from the FHWA in early February.
- Zimmermann Road, Conashaugh Road, Brodhead Road, and Johnny Bee Road/Dingmans Falls Road (PA): These roads are closed.
- Blue Mountain Lakes Road (NJ): The road is closed at the intersection with Old Mine Road. Heavy rains undermined the pavement and eroded the road shoulders up to four feet deep in some places.
- Old Mine Road-dirt (NJ): A short section near Van Campen Inn is closed. A historic, stone culvert collapsed and a landslide occurred along an embankment where the soil is highly erodible.
Recreation Sites and Trails – Due to safety concerns, the following areas are closed to all activities, including, but not limited to, hiking, fishing, hunting, and biking.
- Watergate, Van Campens Glen, and Namanock Recreation Sites (NJ): These sites are closed due to storm damage.
- Millbrook Village (NJ): Storm waters damaged the parking area, caused severe erosion to the grounds and walking paths, destroyed a pedestrian bridge, and damaged the roofs of several buildings. However, park staff and Millbrook Village Society volunteers are planning ahead to make this year’s Millbrook Days in October the best one ever.
- Dingmans Falls Visitor Center area (PA): The site, including the boardwalk trail and informal trails between Dingmans Falls and Childs Park, is closed due to storm damage. Repairs to the boardwalk trail are nearly complete.
- Although the access roads will remain closed as usual through the winter, visitors will be permitted to walk in from Route 209 to see the frozen waterfalls in winter.
- George W. Childs Recreation Site (PA): The entire site, including the picnic area and trails, remains closed for renovation.
- Van Campens Glen Trail (NJ): The trail is closed due to erosion and damage to the bridges resulting from the storm.
- Hornbecks Creek, Adams Creek, and Conashaugh View Trails (PA): The trails, trailheads and access roads are closed. In addition to eroding trails, floodwaters also destroyed footbridges that crossed Hornbecks and Adams Creeks.
“Repairing the damaged infrastructure and facilities takes time and requires proper planning, as well as coordination with state and federal agencies, local communities and park partners. The NPS and FHWA have been working very closely on the road repairs. We are very pleased that we have been able to reopen so much of the park in such a short time and we will continue to do what it takes to get the job done. We hope we can count on everyone’s patience and support as we proceed with the work,” said Superintendent Donahue.
For updated information about the status of park road and sites, visit the park’s website, www.nps.gov/dewa, or follow the park on www.facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS and www.twitter.com/DelWaterGapNPS.