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Contact: Melanie Olds, Acting Chief, Special Projects Division, (570) 588-6579
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced today that six new reservation-only river campsites, called the Alosa Campsites, will be available to boaters on designated overnight river trips on the Delaware River beginning June 12. Reservations can be made now. “This park was established 50 years ago in the midst of much controversy over a plan to dam the Delaware River. Thanks to the efforts of local citizens and grassroots groups, the river remains undammed today,” said Superintendent Donahue. “These sites will provide the public with unique opportunities to celebrate and enjoy the free flowing Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River as it is today and which the National Park Service and our partners will protect into the future,” he added.
The Alosa sites are situated on the shaded banks of the Delaware River, at river mile 224, just downriver of Walpack Bend, on the Pennsylvania side of the river. The campsites are approximately 4 river miles below Bushkill Access and 6 river miles above Smithfield Beach. The sites are not accessible by vehicle. Five of the campsites can accommodate up to six people, and one of the campsites will fit up to ten people. The Alosa Campsites can be reserved now for dates between June 12 and September 14, 2015.
Reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. There is no camping permit fee, but there is a $10 service fee for making the reservation by phone, and $9 for making the reservation online. The other 47 river campsites in the park are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and are free of charge for boaters on overnight trips.
Similar to the other river campsites, these are primitive, backcountry-style campsites. They are accessed via a steep, 10-foot path from the river. Paths between campsites and to the restrooms are dirt, with uneven surfaces. Swimming at this location is not advised, but the park offers designated swimming areas at Milford Beach, Turtle Beach, and Smithfield Beach.
Regulations for using the Alosa Campsites are the same as with the existing river campsites. Only boaters on trips where the distance is too great to be travelled in one day may use the sites. This means that the total river miles traveled would be at least 14 miles for a one-night trip. Camping is limited to one night only. Campers must use the portable toilet facility, and must pack out all household waste and pet waste. Small fires are allowed in existing fire grates using dead and down wood only. Cutting standing trees is not permitted. Quiet hours are 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, and loud audio devices and fireworks are prohibited. More information on camping regulations is available on the park’s website.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area created these campsites as a “pilot project” to test several concepts related to environmental sustainability:
• Does a reservation system reduce or prevent household trash from being left at river campsites?
• Does the design of the sites and the presence of portable toilets reduce human waste issues?
• Does a reservation system alleviate the creation of illegal campsites, and/or do campers without reservations use the sites?
• Are the sites are made larger or otherwise modified by campers?
Monitoring and data collection are an essential component of this project and includes:
• Taking photos of the entire area at specific photo points over time, including the individual campsites, access road, portable toilet area, boat take-out, and areas that are adjacent but not designated campsites and monitoring changes and impacts;
• Collecting and analyzing user data from recreation.gov on site use including the number of occupants per site, how often it was reserved, and when the reservations were made;
• Documenting the presence of household waste, human waste, and illegal use.
Whether the project shows that these methods are successful or unsuccessful in terms of improving environmental sustainability, the results of the pilot project will be used to inform methods of river management at the park in the future.
Why is it called Alosa? Alosa sapidissima is the Latin name for American Shad, a species of fish that travels from the ocean up the Delaware River to spawn. In the spring, shad may be observed from the campsites as they travel upriver.
For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Alosa Campsites, call park headquarters at (570) 426-2452, Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4:30 pm; visit our website atwww.nps.gov/dewa; or follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.