The Time Has Come
After being in place for 15 years, the red argillite stone surface of the Canal towpath is showing its age. The argillite is deteriorating to dust leaving behind an earthen surface punctuated with holes, ruts, and humps. On a sunny day, walking and bicycling require watchfulness. On a rainy day, be prepared for lots of mud and deep puddles.
After the floods of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011, the red argillite surface was replaced with “stabilized turf” in the sections of towpath that were damaged by the floodwaters. The red argillite was allowed to remain in the non-flood prone areas. Now that the argillite is failing, DCNR must step up to the problem and develop and implement a plan to bring the towpath back to a safe and visitor-friendly condition.
One Pump On, One Pump Off , One Pump To Come
On January 23 water began flowing into the Delaware Canal via a diversion from the Point Pleasant Pumping Station. The lively stream flowing down the berm bank from the big red barn was a welcome sight made possible by an agreement between the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Forest Park Water Authority, owner-operator of the Point Pleasant Pump. The agreement was brokered by State Senator Chuck McIlhinney at the suggestion of Delaware Canal 21.
The diversion can supply water to the Canal during the periods when the giant pump in the Delaware River is operating. The Delaware River Basin Commission has approved the agreement for a six-month test period with a possible extension of an additional six months.
The Point Pleasant Pump last supplied water to the Canal during the summer of 2000. At that time the Tohickon Aqueduct reconstruction project was running a year behind schedule and recent repair work done in Lumberville desperately needed some stabilizing water. Paul Bogen, a Friends’ member, negotiated a deal with the water authorities operating the pump at that time to supply water to the Canal. The water authorities’ “Water Wizard” mascot turned on the system on May 9. The diversion did supply water to the Canal, but not in sufficient volume to make a significant difference. The white PVC pipes from that attempt can still be seen on the Pumping Station property.
The centrifugal pump that conveys water from the River into the Canal at Centre Bridge has been out of service since the end of January. High river levels and cold temperature have prevented the Park maintenance staff from getting down to and into the river water to determine the cause of the problem. It’s most likely that a supply pipe was dislodged while the River was filled with ice chunks and the repair shouldn’t be too difficult. The water level in the Centre Bridge to Lock 11- New Hope section has not dropped too low because of the snow melt, rain, and runoff. In fact, the entire Canal has benefited from these sources of water.
The Friends and DCNR will be working out the final details of installing a centrifugal pump in the River at the northern section of Washington Crossing Historic Park. The distance between the River and the Canal at that location is fairly short and a power supply is available. The pump that will be utilized is one purchased by the Friends for use by the Park. Its purpose will be to supply water to the southern end of the Canal when the Delaware River drops below the level of the New Hope inlet, which often happens in late summer and early fall.
The quest for a fully watered Canal goes on.
Delaware Canal Bound
An annual field trip is a part of nearly every state canal society’s schedule of events. This year the Canal Society of New York State and the Pennsylvania Canal Society are collaborating on a spring field trip to the Delaware Canal.
The trip will extend from Friday afternoon, April 27 to Sunday afternoon, April 29. The main feature will be a guided bus tour from the south end of New Hope to the Forks of the Delaware in Easton on Saturday, April 28. Stops will be made along the way, and lunch will be served at the Homestead Store in Upper Black Eddy. After the tour, the group will have dinner at the Wyndham Philadelphia-Bucks County Hotel, and Susan Taylor, Executive Director of the Friends of the Delaware Canal, will present a program “What You Didn’t See on the Bus.”
Friends’ members are invited to join the two canal societies for this exploration. Seeing the Delaware Canal in the company of canal experts and enthusiasts will be an enlightening treat, and the extensive illustrated tour guide developed by trip organizer Bruce Schwendy will be a resource well worth having.
To see a full schedule of activities and register for the trip, go to www.newyorkcanals.org and click on Upcoming Events.
Park Manager’s Report
The snow and ice is melting, and spring will be here soon. I am looking forward to warmer temperatures and the return of our seasonal staff to the Park. Trout season opens on March 31, and with it comes the return of eager fishermen looking forward to the first cast of the season.
We are still anticipating the beginning of several projects along the Canal this year. They are:
- the Kleinhans Aqueduct replacement in Williams Township
- the Phillips’ Mill bridge replacement in Solebury Township
- the construction of a passageway through the Conrail embankment in Falls Township
- the trail bypass along Tyburn Road, also in Falls Township
Also underway this year is a large capital project to repair, replace, and/or restore ten bridges and two sub-canal culverts within the Park. This project will be completed in three phases over the course of about three to five years. The first phase of this project will include Canal Lane in Upper Black Eddy, Smithtown Bridges 3 & 4, and a sub-canal culvert in Raubsville just north of the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area. Right now, we have an engineering consulting firm working on the design and planning for this project. We anticipate having the three bridges and one sub-canal culvert in Phase One of this project ready for bid in November of 2018. Phase Two will include Canal Road North in Raubsville, Canal Road South in Raubsville, Berm Lane in Upper Black Eddy, and Island Road in Kintnersville. Phase Three will include the Tebola Beans Bridge in Washington Crossing, the Buckstone/David Library Bridge in Upper Makefield, the Rabbit Run sub-canal culvert just north of New Hope, and the Mechanic Street Bridge in New Hope. This large capital project will make a huge difference and will help in addressing the numerous infrastructure needs along the Canal.
Enjoy the Canal!
Josh Swartley, Park Manager
What’s on the CAT To-Do List?
- Repairing the roofs on lock doghouses
- Painting camelback bridges
- Installing new interpretive sign panels
- Building another Potty Barn
- Plus whatever comes along
Do you want to work on these substantial projects and enjoy working with your fellow Friends?
Be a part of the Canal Action Team (CAT)
Who: Anyone who wants to and can be physically active.
When: CAT projects can be undertaken both on weekdays and weekends. Usually they take no longer than 3-4 hours.
Where: Work sites can be located anywhere from Easton to Bristol. They are determined by the urgency of the job and the location and number of available volunteers.
The Plan: If you want to be part of CAT, please call 215-862-2021 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your contact info and your preferred work locations (north, central, south). When a work project is developed, an e-mail notice containing the job details is sent to all the prospective volunteers about two weeks prior. Those who can help on a particular project just respond to the e-mail and show up on the appointed day.
CAT is expert at getting things done well while still having a good time.
Sharing the Towpath Trail
Spring brings sunny days, comfortable temperatures, and great numbers of Delaware Canal State Park visitors – bicyclists, hikers, runners, walkers, equestrians, birders, scenery lovers, etc. The Canal towpath, with its many quirks, is required to accommodate everyone, making it so much more important for visitors to be aware of and courteous to each other.
Here are two tips for sharing the towpath trail:
Bicyclists: Please signal your approach verbally or by ringing a bicycle bell. It’s easy to startle others when you’re coming up quickly and quietly. Slowing down would be nice, too.
Walkers: Please stay to the right on the towpath, so that others can pass by safely.
The Delaware Canal towpath is a trail for all.
Opportunities to the North and South
Dedicated Canal Tenders are taking care of 45 miles of the Delaware Canal – 13.9 miles are still in need of adoption. These miles lie on the northern and southern ends. Please consider volunteering to close these last gaps.
- Easton – Forks of the Delaware to Wy-Hit-Tuk Park – 2.3 miles
- Riegelsville/Upper Black Eddy – Mueller’s Store to Indian Rock Inn – 5.5 miles
- Falls Township – Conrail Obstruction to Wheatsheaf Road – 2.5 miles
- Bristol Township/Bristol Borough – Levittown Center to Bristol Lagoon Park – 2.8 miles
- Bristol Borough – Beaver Street to Riverfront Park – 0.8 mile
The sections can be divided into smaller stretches.
We have a very willing volunteer for the Bristol Township area, but she wants to work with at least one other person.
Three Canal Tenders have “retired.” We heartily thank Tom and Carol Grube, who tended from the Forks of the Delaware to Wy-Hit-Tuk Park, and Daniel Duffin, who tended from Mueller’s Store to Indian Rock Inn, for all their years of hard work.
Marge Copenhaver retired from her section from Lock 17 to Bridge 3 in Smithtown, but has decided to get right back into tending by adopting the Centre Bridge to Phillips’ Mill section. Linda and Aodan Peacock have volunteered to partner with her.
New Friends’ member Thomas Fryer has adopted the Lock 17 to Bridge 3 section.
We’re so grateful to our Canal Tenders – new, current, and retired for helping to improve the towpath and waterway. If you would like to be part of the program, please call 215-862-2021 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Canal needs you!
In the Merry Month of May
You will be receiving your Friends of the Delaware membership renewal request for the year 2018. Please support all that we do to improve the Canal.
We welcome checks because we save on credit card fees, but also are happy to have you renew online. Just click on Join in the main menu and navigate to the Renew Your Membership page.
Thank you so much!
Welcome, New Friends!
Anna Maria Caldara