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November 9, 2022

NPS News: Construction Set to Begin at George W. Childs Park

Delaware Water Gap NRA News Release 

 

Release date:  October 24, 2022 

Construction Set to Begin at George W. Childs Park  

BUSHKILL, PA- National Park Service (NPS) officials announced today that a contract has been awarded for the next phase of restoration and construction work at George W. Childs Park (Childs Park) in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The site has been closed since March 2018 when two back-to-back winter storms, Quinn and Riley, wreaked havoc on the area as heavy ice and snow and high winds brought down thousands of trees and closed roads and trails throughout the recreation area. Work will begin this fall with most construction work taking place in the spring and summer of 2023. The site is expected to re-open to the public in the spring of 2024.  

The 155-acre site along Dingmans Creek is a popular destination within the park, featuring 3 scenic waterfalls surrounded by an historic trail system that threads through a cool, shady eastern hemlock ravine. Childs Park was the original vision of wealthy Philadelphia philanthropist and publisher George W. Childs who, along with friend George Donaldson, developed rustic trails and dedicated it to the public in 1892 as a place for people to enjoy nature. Childs died in 1894 and his widow donated the site to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1912. It was operated as a state park until 1983 when the Commonwealth donated the property to the NPS.  

While under state park ownership, military veterans serving in Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the nearby Edgemere camp constructed numerous structures including the timber Ranger Cabin complex in 1935. They also constructed picnic pavilions and pump shelters, improved trails, and planted native vegetation including hemlock trees. This year, a team of professional wood-crafting experts from the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center repaired severe damage to the Ranger Cabin caused by the storms to stabilize the historic CCC-constructed building.  

Winter storms Quinn and Riley caused an unprecedented amount of damage to utility lines, roads, trails, and structures, primarily due to falling trees. At Childs Park, the wind, ice, and snow uprooted trees which caused entire hillsides to slide downhill, taking the trails with them. Trees crushed trail bridges and choked Dingmans Creek and the waterfalls and caused heavy damage to CCC-era historic buildings. Following the storms, park crews prioritized clearing and opening roads, assessed the widespread damages to trails, infrastructure, and structures, and sought funding for repairs. Most trails were re-opened within a year except for a few where damages and repairs were more costly and more complex, such as Lower Hornbecks Creek, Van Campens Glen, and Childs Park. Damages to the Adams Creek trail were so severe that the trail has been closed permanently. 

“Storm impacts at Childs Park were significant, and restoration and repair are complex processes, especially given the sensitive environment in which it is taking place,” explained Kara Deutsch who leads the park’s Resource Management and Science team. “When work is completed, Childs Park will be equally beautiful but safer and more resilient than it was before.  

Work that has already been completed in preparation for this stage of the restoration, includes removal of downed trees, damaged railings and posts, and a failed section of trail on an unstable slope; completion of required natural and cultural resource studies and environmental compliance processes; and coordination of the engineering and design for trail improvements and repairs to bridges and other built structures.  

Chief of Facility Management Bill Tagye, who is overseeing the construction phase of this project, explained that a considerable amount of work is also done behind-the-scenes such as securing funding and contractors for each stage of the restoration work, working with engineers on the trail and bridge designs, and ensuring that the project complies with natural and cultural resource protection laws. “Without that,” he added, “nothing can happen on the ground.”  

On-site work during this phase of the restoration includes:  

  • paving a portion of the existing trail and minimizing the slope from the parking area to the Woolen Mill sign exhibit to improve accessibility and drainage;
  • installing a new accessible section of trail from the first bridge to the historic handpump shelter;
  • removing an unsustainable stretch of trail between the second and third bridge on the west side of Dingmans Creek;
  • repairing damage or replacing components of the trail, bridges, picnic sites, boardwalk, stairs, overlook areas, interpretive exhibits, and trail guardrails throughout the site; and
  • installing a trail and stair retaining system near the fourth bridge.

In addition to active construction, other work during this phase of repairs will include surveying and project layout, vegetation clearing and stump/root removal for trail work, and procurement of supplies and materials. No work will take place during the winter months and construction is planned to resume in the spring of 2023.  

Work will be completed by Puyenpa services, LLC from Gaithersburg, MD 20877, a company experienced in trail construction and familiar with sensitive natural and cultural resources. 

Childs Park remains closed to the public until construction is completed.  

 

For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area call (570) 426-2452; visit our website at www.nps.gov/dewa; or follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS and Instagram at www.Instagram.com/DelWaterGapNPS

This press release is also available on the park website:  News Releases - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

-NPS- 

Delaware Renews Cable Agreement For 5 Years

Delaware Renews Cable Agreement For 5 Years
The Pike County Dispatch
Thursday, June 30, 2022
By Wayne Witkowski

INGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township supervisors unanimously approved, after a brief public hearing, an ordinance for a new five-year franchise cable agreement with Blue Ridge Communications during the regular meeting on Wednesday last week.
The ordinance agreement keeps the same terms as the expiring five-year contract in which Blue Ridge intends "to maintain, construct, operate and upgrade its cable system over, under and along the aforesaid right-of-way for use by the township's residents," according to the ordinance.
It is done by "utilizing public right-of-way and properties within the township's jurisdiction."
Fees for the cable maintenance and upgrades come from a 1.5 percent tax built into township residents' monthly bills for cable television usage.
Fees that are not used go back to the township for its general funds on a quarterly basis, which is estimated at about .5 percent of that customer tax.
The agreement, in compliance with state and federal standards,  comes after nearly two years of ongoing meetings and discussions between the supervisors and Blue Ridge and some executive sessions during Board of Supervisors workshops that preceded their regular meetings..
During the regular meeting, supervisors agreed to pay American Rescue Fund bills of $72,882.81 for three culvert replacement projects for Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer roads. The American Rescue Fund is a COVID 19 federal endowment. Supervisors also approved a motion to extend by 14 days for contractors to receive materials and complete the Log & Twig Road work. It will be done by July 3.
Also, Kevin Riker was appointed full-time assistant roadmaster at a rate o $27 per hour and a $3,000 hiring incentive bonus, including $2,000 of that incentive toward future work service.
Supervisors also approved a payment of $7,700 to Kirk Summa & Co. LLP for the audit of financial records to year end Dec. 31, 2021.
Little Wonders Learning Center again was granted use of Akenac Park for fields days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 24, July 29 and Aug. 15.
The township noise ordinance again was discussed briefly during the workshop prior to the regular meeting but was set aside until further information is gathered comparing the township's proposed ordinance to the noise restrictions of the State Liquor Control Board.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded the gathering during the Announcements segment at the end of the regular meeting that the application deadline has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2022 for the property tax/rent rebate program for older and disabled Pennsylvanians by the Department of Revenue and Aging. Applications can be filed online by visiting mypath.pa.gov. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said further questions can be directed to the office of state Rep. Rosemary Brown.

Drivers Concerned About Bridge Work Detours

Drivers Concerned About Bridge Work Detours
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - May 18, 2022

DINGMANS FERRY -- Most of the 20 people who gathered for the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly workshop prior to the regular meeting last week came to hear details about the plans and to voice their concerns about the impact Pennsylvania Department of Transportation work on two township bridges will have on their commutes and emergency response.
The projects call for 30-mile detours.
Supervisors made available to the public copies of the report from PennDOT. Feedback can be forwarded to PennDOT Project Manager Richard Summa at (570) 963-4933 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
One of the scheduled repairs -- a single span, steel I-beam bridge on State Route 2001/Milford Road built in 1939, spans over Dingmans Creek. It is scheduled to begin next spring. The bridge, which recently reduced its weight limit to a posted 20 tons because of its deteriorating condition, involves reconstruction, replacing portions of the concrete wingwalls, masonry work, milling and paving the approach roadway and updating guiderails. The detour, onto state routes 2003 and 2004 for a length of 32.5 miles, will take approximately four months.
"The Dingmans Creek bridge is about fixing everything," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld.
Because of the reduced weight limit, many trucks have changed their routes onto Park Road. Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt has said in prior meetings that he has communicated with PennDOT his concerns about how the added heavy truck traffic has significantly damaged that road's surface.
The other scheduled repair -- a reinforced concrete slab bridge built in 1934 along State Route 2004 with a posted 30-ton weight limit, spans over Nichecronke Brook. It drew most of the attention in the workshop discussion.That project will involve milling the pavement for a 21/2-inch overlay on the bridge and milling and paving the approaching roadway as well as concrete deck repairs.
It will take about three weeks, tentatively through July. Traffic will be detoured for 36.5 miles onto state routes 2001 (Milford Road), 402, 739, 2004 (Silver Lake Road) and Interstate Route 84.
The detours are lengthy because PennDOT can only detour traffic onto state roads, not local ones.
Members of the public questioned why the bridge has to be closed for the repaving when traffic can alternate to one side of the road at a time like another PennDOT bridge repair in neighboring Lehman Township this summer.
Marcel Lakes resident Carl Hufnagel talked about the added mileage he will need to drive to get to his construction job in Milford for the Nichecronke bridge project this summer.
"To put this on a significant number of residents who will have an impact is extremely unreasonable for PennDOT," said Hufnagel.
Another resident talked about the added expense with the rising cost of gas for her to commute to her job as a nurse in a New Jersey hospital. "And what about our ambulances," she asked.
"Fire and ambulance have received the report and we fully expect their comments. It's worthy of lots of comments," said Neufeld of the township emergency response services.
A school bus driver said that, although school is not in regular session in the summer, there are buses serving that area for students in summer school classes and activities. "You'll have to reroute everybody," the driver said of school uses serving township residents.
One resident asked what the supervisors felt.
"It's got to be done, no doubt about that," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson. "They're doing the best they can do with the constraints they have."
But Henderson, Neufeld and fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler encouraged the gathering to forward all concerns to PennDOT. Neufeld said she will voice comments when the Pike County Road Task Force holds its next monthly meeting.
"I haven't missed a meeting in four years and I will raise my hand and say, 'You need to rethink this,' " said Neufeld.
The report also states that another bridge project in neighboring Lehman Township for a state Route 2003 bridge over Little Bushkill Creek this summer will utilize half-width construction at a time and alternate traffic to one lane with stop signs. It will take two months and involves replacing steel I-beams, the concrete deck and bridge barrier.
At the regular meeting, supervisors adopted Resolution 2022-07, which opposes the designation change of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to Delaware River National Park and/or Preserve until all proper information and a formal plan is presented. The resolution was revised after the last meeting when the supervisors heard comments from the public and agreed to suggested revisions.
It recommends a map and analysis of how this change would impact local residents.
Under New Business, the supervisors awarded the Delaware Township Comprehensive Plan Request for Proposal (RFP) to Theurkauf Design & Planning for $59,250.00. The board tabled awarding the Delaware Township Park Master Plan and Site Drawing RFP to Simone Collins Landscape Architect for $49,835 until the township Planning Commission and Recreation Committee review the plan.
Supervisors approved payment request No. 1 culvert replacement project of $112,623.51 for Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer Roads.
Len Glamann got a warm welcome back from the board of supervisors when he was approved as an interim Planning Commission member. Glamann, who served for nearly 20 years before retiring two years ago, will complete the remaining term until the end of next year that was held by Jim Andre, who resigned. from the Planning Commission. "I'm glad to come back," said Glamann to the supervisors upon his appointment.

Two other vacant seats need to be filled on the seven-member board. Bob Hunt has withdrawn his letter of interest for one of the other two vacant seats after he made a presentation to the supervisors at the previous meeting.
Also, the resignation of Robin Eldred from the township Recreation Committee was accepted and approved by the supervisors.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to waive building and zoning permit fees for the Habitat for Humanity of Pike County Inc. handicap ramp project at 111 East Shore Dr. in the private community of Birchwood Lakes.
ABS Solutions LLC proposal for a Microsoft 365 renewal for $1,632.00 was approved.
Ray’s Truck and Auto Repair estimate of $4,930 for the township's 2015 Kenworth was approved.
Among municipal hall use requests, supervisors approved Milford Valley Quilters Guild on Oct. 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a workshop.
Henderson announced that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office is now offering free car seat safety checks. Call 570-296-6459 to schedule an appointment.

Owner Seeks Rezoning Of Route739 Tract

Owner Seeks Rezoning Of Route739 Tract
By Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, May 5, 2022

DINGMANS FERRY -- The 308-acre tract of land known as Forest Glen on Route 739 across from Delaware Plaza anchored by Weis Market again came under discussion for a possible commercial usage.
"It's been proposed for a lot of things that never happened and now it's for sale again," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld during a workshop before last Wednesday's Delaware Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly meeting. She later cited one plan in 2004 to develop a combined housing and business center there.
Supervisors pointed out that tract is partially zoned rural residential and partially zoned commercial. The board had heard from the current owner who wants more of it zoned commercial for a prospective buyer. "But they did not indicate what they want to do with the property," said Neufeld, which would need to be established to pursue any conditional use request to change the zoning.

"They have to come in with a proposal," commented resident Steve McBride.
Township Solicitor Thomas Farley said the process is "very early" as more information is needed.
During the workshop that preceded the regular meeting, supervisors discussed with representatives from PA American Water and township engineer Jon Tresslar about ending the township's building moratorium at private community Marcel Lake by that would affect as many as 50 lots that are for sale in the community. The reason is that PA American Water now can meet sewerage and water capacity demands for more building.
"People there have wanted this for years," said Farley.
Representatives at the meeting from PA American Water, which took over the system two years ago from a prior company, said they are midway through a seven-step project that included repairing the facility there in its efforts to satisfy Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies' standards. A similar seven-step project at Wild Acres private community has just begun.
In ending the moratorium, supervisors said a party buying a lot to build a house must do so in a short time span that includes certifying water and sewerage for that lot.
"He (a buyer) can't buy a lot and sit on it for 10 years, or at least not build on it right away," said Neufeld. "We have insured steps to have a time frame and what certifications need to happen first."

"We need to coordinate this," said Farley.
During the regular meeting, supervisors heard and accepted the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company's first quarter report for 2022. It indicated 39 incidents that included five fires and 18 rescue and emergency medical services that involved seven motor vehicle accidents with injuries and five with no injuries. Seven incidents were false alarms or false calls due to malfunctioning alert equipment. Volunteer firefighters put in 956.94 total hours, with 746 of those hours dedicated to training.
A change in the township cellular service provider to T-Mobile from Verizon Wireless was approved. "It's about half the cost," said Neufeld when asked the reason for the move to T-Mobile.
Delaware Township Park Master Plan and Site Drawing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and township Comprehensive Plan RFPs were received and opened from consultants, elaborating on their qualifications and fees. The RFPs were then tabled, pending further review of the two RFPs received for the Master Plan and three for the Comprehensive Plan.
The Maser Plan involves Akenac Park and the Comprehensive Plan, dating back to 2006, includes evaluations and projections for quality of life details for township residents such as infrastructure and emergency services. Neufeld pointed out afterward that the township is late on renewing its Comprehensive Plan, which should be done every 10 years.
Supervisors tabled adoption of Resolution 2022-07 opposing the National Park Service's proposed designation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to the Delaware River National Park. Supervisors agreed there is a a lack of information on the plan about what it means for public lands and its impact on the community. They agreed during discussion of a point raised by resident McBride that the wording of terms of the resolution need to be clearer regarding the lack of information or other requested information that may be supplied before the township approves the plan. McBride proposed a reworded version that was accepted by Farley, who said a rewritten resolution will be prepared for consideration at an upcoming supervisors meeting.
Hiring five seasonal part-time lifeguards for the lake at Akenac Park was approved by the board.
An application by a resident to use Ball Park Pavilion on May 16 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. for a women’s empowerment night was approved.
During public comment, Neufeld pointed out that she learned from a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official that repair work for Wilson Hill Road is under way. She said she was informed that two other repairs on a damaged culvert on Silver Lake Road and a bridge repair over Dingmans Creek on Milford Road/State Route 2001 are delayed with National Park Service red tape and recommended a letter be drafted and sent on the matter to the NPS. Neufeld said she also learned that completion of the project to widen Milford Road/State Route 2001 in Delaware Township again is extended out from 2029 to 2031. It previously was designated for completion by 2027.
Bob Hunt, who submitted a letter of interest for a vacant seat on the Planning Commission, introduced himself to the supervisors during the workshop. He said he looked to continue his community involvement as he did in Charlotte, N.C. where he lived before relocating two years ago to Delaware Township. Supervisors said they would discuss the application in an upcoming executive session. The commission, which has five members, currently has two vacancies

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that the the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for May 17 is cancelled due to election day. He also reminded the gathering that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office is now offering free car seat safety checks. Call 570-296-6459 to schedule an appointment.
Henderson said a Flowering Trees and Shrubs Walk through historic Milford takes place 2-4 p.m. on May 14 at a $10 cost. Register online or call 877-345-0691.

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