Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area makes plans for winter

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

“Snow removal and treatment of major 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 cleared of snow once the main roads have been cleared and are safe for travel,” said Bill Tagye, Acting Chief of facility management.

Priority roads were chosen because they “provide essential access to and through the park, including emergency access, and provide routes for residents living within park boundaries to get to their home and back,” according to a National Park Service press release.

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

On the Pennsylvania side, US Route 209 is the highest priority.

River Road “will be closed prior to snow and/or icing events and will not reopen until priority roads are clear and safe and conditions permit. Zion Church Road will be plowed after the opening of River Road.

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 the village of Millbrook, and the dirt section of Old Mine Road near Van Campen Inn, will close from January 2 or the first fall of heavy snow, whichever comes first. They will reopen on April 15.

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

Trails will remain open in winter (unless already closed for other reasons), but parking 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 be closed to vehicles from January 2 or during the first significant snowfall until April 15. Visitors can still use the trail to walk, ski, or snowshoe to the falls.

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

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

The Blue Mountain Lakes Road will remain open to the Blue Mountain Lakes Trail parking area, but close to vehicles beyond.

Mountain Road will be closed to vehicles, but open to walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

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

The toilets with running water will be closed for the 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 winter information, call the Information Desk at 570-426-2452, go to nps.gov/dewa or check Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.

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