PARK MANAGER’S REPORT – Spring – Summer 2023
By Brian Heath
Park Manager, Delaware Canal State Park
We want to thank the Friends and all the volunteers who participated in the Annual Canal Clean-up event. Volunteers who are willing to sacrifice their time to help keep the park beautiful are invaluable.
A joint on-site hiring event with Tyler State Park was held at the Buckstone Farm Conference Center to fill vacant positions, including a laborer and a park resource ranger. The event attracted 17 candidates, with 14 interviewed. Interviews are underway for the remaining online applicants. Other vacancies continued to be posted for various positions. Interested applicants should visit employment.pa.gov or contact the park.
Three project bids have been approved and will be awarded to a selected contractor. Once the contracts are finalized, scheduling, logistics, and closure information will be provided. The projects include:
● Flood damage repairs to a section of the berm and towpath in Easton(MP 59-53).
● Phase One of the 12 Bridge Project will target repairs for Smithtown Bridges 3 and 4 and the Sub-canal Culvert in Raubsville.
● Phase Two of the 12 Bridge Project will target repairs for two bridges in Upper Makefield, including Tebola Beans Bridge and the David Library Bridge. In the north, the bridges include the Canal
Road, North Bridge in Williams Township, and the Canal Lane Bridge in Bridgeton Township.
- High Falls Culvert replacement: A Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study that analyzes the movement of
water, including the volume and rate of flow, is nearing completion. A conceptual design is in review.
- Spahr’s Authentic Camelback Truss Bridge: A conceptual design was presented to the Advisory Committee.
- Lumberville Aqueduct project: This rebuilding project is in the design phase, which is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.
Giving Pond Naturalization Project: We are currently working on re-establishing the fields at the giving
pond. The open field near river road was once a wildflower field. It has been prepped and reseeded with a Pennsylvania native annual/ perennial mix of wildflower seeds. The fields by the towpath will require ongoing attention as grasses start to emerge and the autumn olive infestation is removed. We are working with Natural Resources staff as we re-establish the field moving forward. An improved access project is also underway to connect the towpath with giving Pond Parking area.
Ralph Stover Tree Planting:
Thirteen sapling trees have been planted at Ralph Stover to replace fallen Ash trees. The trees will take time to mature, but they will help restore the canopy over the picnic area. A memorial donation funded the purchase of these trees, including some flowering understory trees such as dogwoods, redbuds, and shade trees, including American Red Maple, American Beech, Black Gum, and Willow Oak. The park staff will continue to plant trees, as possible, to restore the rustic wooded nature of the park.
The Centre Bridge Pump is now online, providing water for the 3-mile stretch between Centre Bridge and Lock 11. The Friends are working as intermediaries with residents, collecting money to fund the electricity needed to run the pump. New Hope, and areas north of Lock 11, usually are watered from the Delaware River inlet in Easton. However, damage sustained during Hurricane Ida in Upper Black Eddy and Lumberville has stopped the flow. DCNR is working diligently to repair these structural failures. The Delaware River inlet in New Hope feeds the Canal south of Lock 11. In advance of significant forecasted rain events, staff will lower the water in anticipation of higher volumes, but after the storm, we resume normal levels. As the dry summer months approach, if the Delaware River falls below 9 feet on the Trenton River gauge, the water stops flowing in from the inlet. If this continues for several days, areas south of New Hope will begin to dry up. The river level and the level of the canal during times of drought are beyond the control of the park.
MOWING AND TREE REMOVAL
Our staff in the northern section of the park is starting mowing operations. The purchase of additional equipment should speed up our process as long as the staff is available to run the tractors. Due to the difficulty of getting the parts needed for a clam jaw, we are getting a late start on removing fallen trees which may impact mowing in the early season. However, we are moving along and catching up.
Mowing operations in the south will commence soon, likely starting in Bristol toward the end of this month. This year, in certain areas, such as Buckstone Farm, we will cut the grass slightly higher than in previous years to see if it will help deter the geese. Geese like the young grass shoots that grow after a cutting. Allowing the grass to grow longer makes it less palatable for these birds.
The southern maintenance staff has been removing trees that have fallen into the canal and working on towpath repair. These are time consuming tasks requiring personnel and equipment. Some sections of the towpath are narrow, challenging our access with certain vehicles. In other cases, access alone to parts of the towpath that need attention is extremely difficult. We are working to ensure that the towpath is safe for towpath users as they make repairs to potholes and other muddy sections. We understand the frustrations with gravel size and
are working to improve the issue as time and manpower allow.
Giving Pond River Access: The river access at the Giving Pond Recreation Area will be CLOSED. The purpose of this closure is for PUBLIC SAFETY and RESOURCE PROTECTION. The closure will be in effect until further notice. Park users should NOT attempt to get by the closure. Trespassing violations will be addressed accordingly.