Park service announces priority snow removal routes, reduced winter services at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area provides year-round recreational opportunities, however visitor services and maintenance operations are reduced during the winter months when staffing levels and visitation are at their lowest.
This includes the closure of some roads and visitor use sites. Areas that will be closed through the winter were selected based on several factors including winterization of water supply systems, reduced custodial and maintenance staff, safety requirements, and other priorities for snow and ice 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 at the park. These areas may be closed temporarily in the interim and may not re-open for several days following a storm. Some park roads will receive no winter maintenance and will be closed to vehicles from January 2, or at the first significant snowfall, whichever comes first; most sites will re-open on April 15.
Of the more than 150 miles of dirt and paved roads within the recreation area, a few have been determined to be of highest priority for snow and ice removal and treatment. These roads 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. 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.
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 vehicles for the winter, but visitors may walk, snowshoe, or cross-country ski on the road.
Pennsylvania Road Closures:
US Route 209 is the top priority road for winter maintenance and treatment in Pennsylvania.
River Road in PA 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.
River Access: Winter river access will be available at Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach, and Bushkill Access. These areas will be closed temporarily during a storm and re-opened 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.
Trail Access: 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 after all priority routes are clear and safe for travel.
- Access to 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 remain 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: Restrooms are available at Kittatinny Point Picnic Area, Blue Mountain Lakes parking area, and Millbrook Village in NJ and at Smithfield Beach, Bushkill Meeting Center, Bushkill Access, Toms Creek, and Milford Beach in 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 Bushkill Meeting Center at 1-570-426-2452; visit their website or follow them on Facebook.