NPS announces winter services, snow removal priorities for Delaware Water Gap area

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Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has announced its winter services and priorities for snow removal.

“Plowing and treating the main roads through the park is our top priority when we have snow and ice. Secondary roads, administrative buildings, and visitor use sites that will remain open for the winter will be plowed after the main roads have been cleared and are safe for travel,” said Bill Tagye, acting chief of facility management.

Priority roads have been chosen because they “provide critical access to and through the park, including emergency access, and provide routes for residents living within park boundaries to get to and from their homes,” according to a National Park Service press release.

“Park staff will make every effort to keep the priority routes open and safe for travel during and after winter weather events, however, roadways may be snow-covered and winter driving conditions may exist during a storm. Even high priority roads may be closed temporarily if conditions deteriorate faster than road crews can keep up with or in the event of equipment failures or breakdowns, but these roads will be re-opened as soon as park staff can get them cleared for travel.”

The sun rises during a cold winter over the frozen Delaware River in 2000 as seen from Interstate 80 in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The sun rises during a cold winter over the frozen Delaware River in 2000 as seen from Interstate 80 in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

On the Pennsylvania side, U.S. Route 209 is the highest priority.

River Road “will be closed prior to snow and/or ice events and will not be re-opened until priority routes are clear and safe and conditions permit. Zion Church Road will be plowed after River Road has been opened.”

In New Jersey, the top priorities are Route 602 from Millbrook Village to the recreation area boundary, NPS Route 615, Old Mine Road between Flatbrookville and Pompey Ridge Road, Pompey Ridge Road to Route 615 and Old Mine Road between Millbrook and Flatbrookville.

Two parts of Old Mine Road, from the Worthington State Forest boundary to Millbrook Village, and dirt section of Old Mine Road near Van Campen Inn, will close starting Jan. 2 or at the first significant snowfall, whichever comes first. They will reopen April 15.

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Three river access points will be maintained. Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach, and Bushkill Access “will be closed temporarily during a storm and re-opened after priority routes are clear and safe for travel.” Eshback Access will be open but not maintained. Conditions on the Delaware River may limit access, as the NPS does not clear river ice.

Trails will remain open in winter (unless they are already closed for other reasons), but parking lot conditions and road closures may affect access. Priority roads will be cleared before parking areas.

The parking lot and access road to Dingmans Falls will close to vehicles starting Jan. 2 or at the first significant snowfall until April 15. Visitors may still use the trail to walk, ski or snowshoe to the falls.

The upper parking lot for Raymondskill Falls will close at the first snowfall and reopen April 15. The lower parking lot will remain open, as conditions permit.

The McDade Recreational Trail will be accessible at Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach and Bushkill Access, as well as park headquarters.

Blue Mountain Lakes Road will stay open up to the Blue Mountain Lakes trail parking area but close to vehicles beyond that.

Mountain Road will close to vehicles but be open for walking, showshoeing and cross-country skiing.

The McDade Recreational Trail will be accessible at Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach and Bushkill Access, as well as park headquarters.

Restrooms with running water will be closed for winter. Restrooms are available at Smithfield Beach, Bushkill Meeting Center, Bushkill Access, Toms Creek and Milford Beach in Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, restrooms are available at Kittatinny Point Picnic Area, Blue Mountain Lakes parking area, and Millbrook Village.

For the most up-to-date information during winter, call the information desk at 570-426-2452, go to nps.gov/dewa or check Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.

This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area makes winter plans

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