A mix of staff reductions and stormy weather will likely restrict access to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This includes the closing of certain roads as well as visitor areas. The portions that will be closed throughout winter were chosen with various factors in mind, such as the winterization of water supply systems, the reduction of maintenance and custodial personnel, safety concerns, and other requirements to remove snow and ice.
“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, the acting chief of facility management for the park.
The areas could be temporarily closed during this time and not reopen for a few days after a storm. Some roads will not receive winter maintenance and will not be accessible to cars starting January 2 or following the first significant snowfall, whichever comes first. Most parks will reopen on April 15.
There are over 150 miles of paved and dirt roads in the recreation area; some have been determined to be a top priority for snow removal and ice treatment. Many roads provide crucial access within the park, including emergency access, and offer ways for those who live within the park’s areas to travel to and from their homes.
Park staff will do their best to ensure that the primary routes remain accessible and safe throughout the winter season; however, roads could be covered in snow or winter-like conditions during storms. Some of the most critical roads can be temporarily closed if conditions worsen more quickly than road crews can manage or on the occasion of equipment failures or breakdowns. However, these roads will be open for travel when park personnel can clear them.
New Jersey Roads
In New Jersey, the top priority roads that will remain open during the winter months are:
- Route 602 (from Millbrook Village to the NPS boundary)
- NPS Route 615
- Old Mine Road (between Flatbrookville and Pompey Ridge Road)
- Pompey Ridge Road to Route 615
- Old Mine Road between Millbrook and Flatbrookville
Old Mine Road:
The section of Old Mine Road between the Worthington State Forest boundary and Millbrook Village and the dirt section of Old Mine Road near Van Campen Inn will be closed between January 2, or the first significant snowfall, and April 15.
Additionally, Blue Mountain Lakes Road will remain open to the parking area for the Blue Mountain Lakes trail and will be closed to vehicles beyond that point for the season. Mountain Road will be closed to cars for the winter, but visitors may walk snowshoe or cross-country ski on the road.
US Route 209 is the top priority road for winter maintenance and treatment in Pennsylvania. River Road in Pennsylvania will be closed before snow and/or ice events and will not be reopened until priority routes are clear and safe and conditions permit. Zion Church Road will be plowed after River Road has been opened.
Winter river access will be available at Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach, and Bushkill Access. These areas will be closed temporarily during a storm and reopened after priority routes are clear and safe for travel. River ice may limit access depending on conditions. The NPS does not clear river ice from launch areas. Eshback Access will remain open but will receive no winter maintenance.
All trails that are currently open will remain open during the winter, but trailhead parking will be dependent on conditions and may be limited in some areas. Road closures may also affect access to some trails. Trailhead parking areas that will remain open during the winter months will not be cleared of ice and snow until all priority routes are clear and safe for travel. The McDade Recreational Trail will be available at Smithfield Beach, Park Headquarters, Bushkill Access, and Milford Beach.
The parking lot and access road to Dingmans Falls will remain closed to vehicles from January 2, or the first significant snowfall, to April 15, but the trail will stay open, and visitors may walk, ski, or snowshoe to the falls.
The upper parking lot for Raymondskill Falls will be closed from the first snowfall until April 15, but the lower parking lot will remain open, as conditions permit.
Restrooms are available at Kittatinny Point Picnic Area, Blue Mountain Lakes parking area, Millbrook Village in NJ and Smithfield Beach, Bushkill Meeting Center, Bushkill Access, Toms Creek, and Milford Beach, PA. All restrooms with running water will be closed for the winter, including outdoor spigots.
For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and site openings and closures, call the information desk at (570) 426-2452 or follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.