Hurricane Ida arrived in the tristate area last week with tons of energy left, even after traveling hundreds of miles up from Gulf Coast. Ida dumped record amounts of rain in the Delaware Water Gap and Upper Delaware National Recreational Areas, creating muddy, hazardous conditions that put a crimp in Labor Day weekend plans.
National Park Service crews spent days cleaning up and making repairs after Ida left behind downed trees, power outages, and damage to roads. Weekend revelers found themselves with limited options. Swimming was prohibited and boating limited due to the fast, high water.
The Delaware River surpassed 14 feet at Lackawaxen on Sept. 2. The levels have since come down to under 6 feet this week, as this paper goes to press. When river levels reach 8 feet or higher, life jackets are required to be worn by all boaters at all times, the park service says.
By Friday, most areas of the park had re-opened, were partially re-opened, or had re-opened with some restrictions. River accesses at Milford Beach, Dingmans, and Eshback in Pennsylvania and Poxono in New Jersey were open in time for the weekend. Some other boat launches and beaches remained closed.
Some river sites may still be muddy and be slippery. The park service advises river users to bring plenty of drinking water with them, since potable water may not be available.
The park service expressed its appreciation to firefighters instrumental in the clean-up. “We want to give a big shout out and show our appreciation to the crew from Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company, Station 24, for coming out this morning to help clear mud and debris from Bushkill Access so that it can be re-opened to the public sooner than it would have been without their assistance,” posted the Delaware Water Gap Recreational Area on its Facebook on Sept. 5. “Thank you Station 24! The boat launch is now open.”
Also reopened as of Sunday is the Kittatinny Point Canoe Access, but because of muddy conditions, vehicles are not permitted to use the launch ramp. Vessels must be carried down to and from the river by hand.
Check with the park service’s Facebook page for updates. For information on park trails, visit nps.gov/dewa/planyourvisit/trails.htm.