• Fulmer Falls at George W. Childs Park

    Delaware Water Gap

    National Recreation Area NJ,PA

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  • Hornbecks Creek Trail Partial Closure

    The trail is closed between the first and second waterfall; a portion of the trail has sloughed off, causing a hazardous condition. The first waterfall is accessible from the 209 trailhead and the second waterfall is accessible from Emory Road.

  • Dingmans Falls Area and Road Closed

    Dingmans Falls Visitor Center, the boardwalk trail to the falls, and the access road will be closed through September as repairs to the road are made. We anticipate the area reopening in October.

Insects, Spiders, Centipedes, Millipedes

Butterfly on a purple flower.

Spangled fritillary.

NPS Photo by Dan Mohr.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is an oasis for insects. The amount and variety of insects evidence an area teeming with life.

A large portion of the park consists of the two shorelines of the Delaware River, one of the most pristine rivers in the continental United States. One way to determine the cleanliness of a river is by the insect life that inhabits it. Adult Dobson flies provide a dramatic presence with their translucent wings as well as their large pincers. Its nymph, the hellgrammite, lives side by side with darners, stoneflies, dragonflies, damselflies and other aquatic insects, like water boatmen and backswimmers. The many tributaries provide rocks and boulders for protection, waterfalls for oxygen as well as nutrients, enabling tremendous aquatic insect growth and development. These insects provide food for fish and many other creatures in the whole ecosystem, including humans. If insects do well, many other will also do well.

The recreation area also has large areas of tillable land along the river basin. The river provides fertile soil, which supports many different varieties of trees and wildflowers. Butterflies abound in great variety: swallowtails (such as the Tiger swallowtail and Black swallowtail), Admirals, Skippers, Frits, Sulphurs, Cloudys. In late July, Monarch butterflies appear everywhere, they feed and mate before they prepare for their long migration south, some going as far as 1200 miles.

Along the many hiking trails, beetles, which make up about 40% of the insect world, work along the forest. A late day hike or an evening in a campground will fill the ears with the many sounds of tree crickets; counting the sounds they make can indicate the temperature.

Some annoying and disease-bearing insects, like Ticks and Mosquitoes, also are common in the park, so keep your insect repellent nearby.


Did You Know?

A ranger in the uniform of the French and Indian War.

... that in the 1750s, the northwest border of New Jersey (now Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) was a frontier of the English colonies. In the French & Indian (Seven Years) War, a string of forts protected these settlements. The sites of seven of these outposts are in the park. More...