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BUSHKILL, PA: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue would like to remind visitors and local residents that the Delaware River is still running fast and high and is predicted to remain at higher than normal levels through the holiday and the weekend. It is currently at 10.3 feet as measured at the Montague gage; the average for this time of year is between 5 and 6 feet. It is not expected to recede below 9 feet until next week. “The safety of our visitors is a top priority,” stated Donahue. “The river has been running high for the past few weeks and at these levels, the current is incredibly strong, the water temperature is low, and there is a lot of debris in the water. All of these factors combine to make river conditions hazardous.” In an effort to keep park visitors safe while recreating on or near the Delaware, Superintendent Donahue institutes special restrictions during periods of high water. When the river levels at Montague reach 8 feet, swimming is prohibited and wearing a properly-fitted, United States Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD or lifejackets) is mandatory for all boaters. If river levels reach 15 feet, which is not expected this weekend, the park closes the river corridor and all access points.
While all of the rain that has fallen on the region in the past few weeks has made river conditions less than ideal for the holiday weekend, Superintendent Donahue and his staff would like to remind visitors that the waterfalls in the park are at their best due to the increased water flow. Park Rangers at Dingmans Falls Visitor Center will be offering Ranger Talks at 10 a.m. on Thursday,SaturdayandSundayand at11 a.m. on Friday. Guided Waterfall Walks will be offered on Thursday,Saturday, andSunday at 2 p.m.andon Friday at 3 p.m. All programs are free of charge and open to the public.
The park also boasts several picnic areas, miles of hiking trails, a bicycle trail, historic sites, and scenic drives to keep visitors busy this weekend. Lifeguards will be on duty at Smithfield and Milford Beaches in Pennsylvania and at Turtle Beach in New Jersey through the weekend, though only wading will be permitted until the river recedes to normal levels. For more information, visit Dingmans Falls Visitor Center which is openThursdaythrough Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/dewa.