Three parks in eastern Pennsylvania were affected to varying degrees by the major floods spawned by last week’s rains and are in the process of recovering from their impacts:
Delaware Water Gap NRA – The Delaware River crested at 32.16 feet at the park’s primary river gauge early on the morning of Thursday, June 29th, making this the third worst flood recorded at that location (the high was 35.5 feet in 1903) and more severe than the floods of September, 2004 (28.4 feet) and April, 2005 (31.7 feet). The river caused an as yet unknown amount of damage within the park and also claimed the life of a local resident (see the related report in this edition). Maintenance crews have begun to pump out flooded buildings, repair utilities and clear silt and debris from roads. Park staff have also begun collecting information to prepare an accurate damage assessment of all roads, facilities and archeological, natural and cultural resources. Through the concerted efforts of park personnel, several roads and a number of facilities were opened in time for all or part of the holiday weekend:
- Route 209, the primary highway through the park. reopened to traffic at 6 p.m. last Friday.
- River Road, the section of Old Mine Road from Millbrook Village to Depue, and Route 615 have all been reopened.
- Dingmans Falls Visitor Center resumed operations on Saturday morning.
- Dingmans Campground and the group campground at Rivers Bend in New Jersey reopened before the weekend began.
Closures, however, remain in place throughout the 70,000-acre park. The more consequential of these are as follows:
- The Delaware River, river campsites, and all access points and beaches remain closed – the river because of dangerous conditions and the campsites, access points and beaches because of mud and debris covering them.
- The McDade trail remains closed because of mud and debris on its surface.
- Old Mine Road is closed from I-80 to Depue.
- Kittatinny Point Visitor Center and the surrounding grounds and picnic areas are closed. The site will reopen when the temporary visitor center trailer is moved back into place and the parking area, grounds and picnic areas have been cleaned.
Upper Delaware S&RR – Floodwaters from the Delaware River caused significant damage at the historic Zane Grey House. Personnel from the regional museum services office will be contracting to have the six to eight feet of water in the basement pumped out and to have the structure dehumidified. The majority of the collection was moved upstairs before the river came out of its banks, but the building itself was damaged and will be the focus of recovery efforts. The historic Roebling Bridge, which crosses the Delaware, has been closed by Federal Highways. Some employees reported water in their home basements, but no major damage.Steamtown NHS – There was no significant flooding at the park itself, which is in Scranton and near the Susquehanna River, but a number of employees were evacuated from their residences. All are okay.