In the Continuing Saga
Endings, beginnings, and continuations are all part of this spring’s Delaware Canal news. Fortunately, there is much to report regarding project completions thanks to our generally temperate winter.
High Falls Creek Culvert in Upper Black Eddy
The extensive culvert repair project is complete, and Lehigh River water has been running through the area for weeks. The towpath trail is open. The only thing that remains to be done is some masonry work on a stone wing wall. This small job will be completed later in the spring and will not affect either water flow or towpath traffic.
Bank Repair in Raubsville
The Park staff put a stop to an emerging hole in the towpath bank north of Mueller’s Store in Raubsville.
Leak Repairs in New Hope and Uhlerstown
Moyer and Jones Construction excavated in the area of canal wall leaks north of Lock 11 in New Hope, poured a concrete barrier, and backfilled with clay.
The Park staff dug out a section of canal bank in Uhlerstown and lined it with bentomat. Both repairs await the return of water to test their effectiveness.
Centre Bridge Pump
The new, more efficient pump arrived in late January and then was custom-fitted to do its job supplying water to the Canal from Centre Bridge to Lock 11 in New Hope. The Park Staff will install it in the Delaware River as soon as the river level drops from its rain/spring thaw high. It’s anticipated that it will be in place and gushing away by the time that you read this article.
Airport Road Culvert in Bristol Township
The water company relocated its supply line, and Bi-State Construction has completed the corrugated metal culvert pipe replacement. The final road paving and striping will be handled by Bristol Township.
Now on to the continuing issues:
Delaware Canal State Park Resource Center
DCNR has decided to construct a separate Park Office facility rather than combine office and visitor center functions in one structure in New Hope. The location of a new Park Office is under study.
In a noble attempt to offer an alternative to the demolition of the historic Chez Odette’s building, DCNR has hastily, in the Friends’ opinion, proposed moving the original 31X36 ft. structure to the mural plaza area next to the Locktender’s House for adaptation as a visitors’ center. The Friends have taken the position that the ramifications, feasibility and real cost of such a move must be determined before any action is taken. Can the historic Odette’s building provide the envisioned visitor amenities such as easy access between South Main Street and the towpath, as well as a much needed group congregation area? And will the cause of preservation be served, if , by moving the building, its historic context is lost and the structure is dramatically altered in the process of transforming it into a visitors’ center? The search for a reasonable solution continues.
Gateway to New Hope Development
DCNR is in the process of finalizing a 35-year lease for use of the land adjacent to Gateway’s 4-story hotel/event venue development. The lease will allow Gateway to encroach upon Commonwealth property for the purpose of erecting a landscape feature.
Water Augmentation in New Hope and Point Pleasant
Planning is still in process for
- The installation of an Archimedes screw pump to augment the Canal’s water level from New Hope south to Bristol
- Provision of water into the Canal from the Point Pleasant pump system.
Construction of a Passageway through the Conrail Embankment in Morrisville
This project continues to make its way through the vast maze of approvals and paperwork involved with dealing with railroads.
And finally the new projects and administration news:
Bridge Replacements in Solebury Township
Bi-State Construction has begun work on the replacement of the Redfield Bridge.
The Upper Limeport and Phillips’ Mill Bridges are also slated for reconstruction this year, but right-of-way and other details are yet to be settled. The truss design for each of the bridges will be similar to the authentic camelback bridges.
Rick Dalton has decided to accept a position as Manager of Tuscarora State Park. See the articles on page 2. DCNR is expediting the process of selecting a new park manager for the Delaware Canal State Park Complex. Bethany Hare, the Interim Assistant Park Manager, is currently in charge.
Park Manager’s Report
It is with mixed feelings that I write this report, my last as Manager of the Delaware Canal State Park Complex. I have accepted the Manager’s position at the Tuscarora/Locust Lake State Park Complex in Schuykill County.
I have been the Manager here for over 12 years and spent 2 years as the Assistant Manager for a total of 14 years. While I have enjoyed my tenure at the Canal, it certainly has been a challenging task. A few times recently it has been described as “the hardest job in State Parks,” and I don’t disagree. The fact that we experienced 6 of the top 10 floods along the Delaware River during my tenure did not make it any easier.
I want to express my gratitude to the Friends of the Delaware Canal. Your support was invaluable to me while I was Manager. I want to single out Susan Taylor and thank her for her dedication and tireless work in support of the canal.
I held my first job in State Parks at the Tuscarora Complex in 1980. I did my practicum for college at the Park, and then they hired me as a Ranger for the summer. Recently the Manager there retired, and, after some soul searching, I decided to go full circle and finish my career where it all started. I look forward to running two “typical” parks that offer camping, boating, swimming etc. I can’t wait to smell the camp fires.
Good luck to all in your efforts with the Canal!
A Job Well Done
For 14 years, the Delaware Canal has been a big part of Rick Dalton’s life, and we think that he’ll admit that it’s been a wild ride. As Park Manager the effectively dealt with
A Complex comprised of two State Parks, the Delaware Canal State Park and Ralph Stover State Park, and all the additional resources that have been gathered under those Parks’ umbrellas-the 90-acre Giving Pond, eleven River islands, the Nockamixon Cliffs, high Rocks, two fish ladders on the Lehigh River, and miles of River shoreline.
A narrow 58.9-mile-long Canal that runs through two counties, 18 municipalities, and has more than 1000 neighbors.
Fourteen legislators representing the districts through which the Canal runs.
Federal, state, county, and local agencies that have some jurisdiction over the Canal and its operations.
An abundance of concerned partners and stakeholders.
Then to make the job ever so much more interesting came the great floods of 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011 as well as “high water events,” most of which had devastating effects on the Canal. Bringing the Canal back has been an enormous challenge from the FEMA-PEMA evaluation and funding processes to the stabilization of the towpath trail and waterway prism. The many aspects of Rick’s job are too numerous to list, but he always tackled his work with intelligence, dedication, perseverance, ingenuity, and a sense of fair play. To investigate and solve problems, Rick literally jumped right in. his experience in the Navy (that’s where the idea of using oakum to stop leaks came from) and a slightly mischievous sense of humor served us all well.
Rick, we’ll miss you.
Pooches and People
If you and your dog love walking along the towpath, please remember to:
Keep your dog on its leash. Park regulations require it, no matter how friendly your canine may be.
Clean-up after your dog, and please carry your poop bags home with you. The Delaware Canal State Park is a carry in/carry out resource.
Let’s make the Canal enjoyable for all.
Canal Sections in Need of Adoption
Did you ever notice that clean places stay cleaner? People both notice and respect them. The volunteers in the Friends’ Canal Tenders program help the towpath and waterway get clean and stay that way. They adopt sections of he Canal and then monitor and tidy them on a periodic basis year-round. To learn more about the Canal Tenders program, click on HELP on the homepage.
Want to be a Canal Tender?
Here are the sections of the Canal that are currently orphans.
- Uhlerstown to Lock 17 (Upper Black Eddy to Tinicum Township) – 3.8 miles
- Bridge Street to Lock 9 (New Hope) – .5 mile
- Railroad Obstruction to Tyburn Road ( Morrisville to Falls Township) – 1.1 miles
- Tyburn Road to Wheatsheaf Road (Falls Township) – 1.4 miles
- Wheatsheaf Road to Mill Creek Road (Falls Township) – .6 mile
- Levittown Shopping Center south end to Green Lane (Bristol Township) – 1.9 miles
- Green Lane to the Bristol Lagoon (Bristol Borough) – 1 mile
- Beaver Street to Riverfront Park (Bristol Borough) – .8 mile
Please let us know if you can help to close these gaps. (The sections can be divided into smaller segments.) We’re always working toward the goal of taking care of all 58.9 miles of the Canal from Easton to Bristol.
The Friends of the Delaware Canal Facebook page has over 5000 friends from all over the country. They view amazing photos of canal critters and the changing landscape every day. You can, too, by liking our page.
An idea popped into Geri Delevich’s head. “Wouldn’t it be great if New Hope Borough had more of those wonderful daffodils that Bucks Beautiful has planted all over the County.” Geri, a former member of New Hope Borough Council, contacted the Friends and asked about the possibility of planting bulbs along the towpath. After a scouting walk, the area from the Locktender’s House north to the mule pen seemed a perfect place.
Geri contacted Bucks Beautiful, a program run under the auspices of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, and Bucks Beautiful happily provided 150 daffodil bulbs. A Constant Contact request went out, and fifteen well-equipped volunteers from the Friends and the New Hope Garden Club popped up at the Locktender’s House at 10 a.m. on November 17. By noon, all the bulbs were in the ground.
Now, the new sprouts are popping up, and we’re looking forward to seeing the new blossoms as well as the other 300,000 daffodils that Bucks Beautiful has planted along the Canal in past years.
Welcome, New Friends
Don and Vicki Levinson
Eileen Wachtman and Joseph Hochreiter
Wild Birds Unlimited
A More Common Sight
In years past, Boy Scout troops were the groups most often seen on the Delaware Canal towpath. Now many recreation organizations can be spotted out hiking, biking, and running. Some of them have expressed their appreciation for the work that the Friends do by becoming members, and we are most appreciative.
Appalachian Mountain Club – Delaware Valley Chapter
Central Bucks Bicycle Club (the Club is also a Canal Tender)
Hunterdon Hiking Club
Liberty Bell Wanderers
Lions Cross Country Booster Club
The Philadelphia Trail Club
In the future, we look forward to seeing canoeing and kayaking groups on the Canal.