Canal News – Summer 2015
We Carry On
The Friends always “Carry On,” but the regal decree to “Keep Calm” while carrying on has been a challenge since March 27. On that Friday, two Canal structures failed. In Upper Black Eddy, the stone arch culvert that carries High Falls Creek under the Canal collapsed sending the Canal’s water rushing toward the Delaware River and washing away the towpath. Near the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington Crossing, a section of berm-side stone wall gave way.
Much to its credit, DCNR immediately initiated a “temporary repair” of the collapsed culvert. The Friends promised to help with the cost, and an on-line “Let’s Keep Water in the Canal This Summer” fundraising campaign yielded $5500 in donations. THANKS to all who contributed!
Bi-State Construction was making great progress on the repair. The concrete footers were in place, the custom metal arch had arrived, and a “rock vac” was being used to remove accumulated gravel from the intact sections of the culvert. Could back-filling and restoration of a water-carrying prism be far behind? Sadly, yes, it could. In June, four inches of rain fell in Northampton County sending torrents of water down the Canal and filling the job site with silt and stone. In the process of removal, it was discovered that some of the stones in a portion of the standing culvert were now missing, and stability was questionable. So now, as this article is being written, the DCNR engineers and Bi-State Construction are evaluating whether a more extensive “temporary” fix is viable and affordable. The best case scenario is that the answer will be “yes”, and water will be flowing through the site in the fall. The less immediately desirable Plan C, involving the construction of a new entire or partial culvert is being pursued because it is ultimately the permanent solution to the problem.
The wall failure in Washington Crossing did not negatively affect water flow. The repair project is being put out to bid in July.
Meanwhile, the Cuttalossa Creek culvert replacement project, located south of Lumberville, also ran into problems. Drilling for the footings proved to take much longer than anticipated, and then came the rising Delaware River that inundated the construction site. The River now has dropped, the culvert structure has arrived, and , by the time this newsletter has arrived, the contractor should be well on the way to bringing the site back to its currently desired condition with the towpath trail usable and the canal prism ready for water.
Another culvert problem occurred at Airport Road in Bristol Township. This metal pipe culvert will be replaced in kind, and Bristol Township will be helping with the road restoration work.
Then to make being calm even more difficult, in June, a leak developed through the wall in the side yard of the Locktender’s House in New Hope,. The first leak ever in 24 years. Fortunately, the leak had no effect inside the house, and the bentonite slurry that the Park used to stem the flow seems to be working.
On the bright side, New Hope for Our Canal in partnership with the Friends, recently began raising additional funds necessary to keep the pump at Centre Bridge running through the rest of 2015. Thanks to everyone who has and is participating in this effort!
The Canal from Easton to Lock 20 near Kintnersville remains watered, as does the lower half of the Canal from Odette’s in New Hope south to the Bristol Lagoon.
The Friends always carry on – we’re always planning, always implementing, always helping as friends do. We do not lose sight of what makes the Canal invaluable.
Park Manager’s Report
We were able to begin sending water into the Canal from the inlet gates at Easton early this spring. This was going well until the culvert that carries High Falls Creek under the Canal collapsed. This is a stone arch culvert that is one of the original Canal structures. It is located about 2 miles north of our office in Upper Black Eddy.
The section of the culvert near the towpath collapsed and took part of the towpath with it. We had decided to attempt a temporary repair as the planned replacement of the structure will take a while to get approved, funded, designed, and built. The temporary repair was to cover the collapsed section with arched steel plates and backfill including repair of the towpath.
While removing debris (rock, silt, etc.) from the remaining section of the culvert, it was discovered that this section exhibited the potential for further failure (missing stones). We are currently awaiting an estimate from the contractor to extend the plates over this section of culvert.
Work has started and continues on the replacement of the culvert that carries the Cuttalossa Creek under the Canal near the Delaware Valley Quarry south of Lumberville. The contractor has had to deal with very dense stone, which made drilling for the support pilings difficult. Also a recent high river level event inundated the site.
These two areas are closed to the public and we ask that people abide by these closures.
The culvert that carries the Canal under Airport Road in Bristol Township has also collapsed, and we are working with the Township and a contractor to initiate repair to this structure.
The repairs of three brides are in various stages of design. The Redfield Bridge should go out to bid shortly. We are working with adjacent neighbors on agreements for access at Phillips’ Mill and Lower Limeport.
Along with the normal ongoing maintenance (mowing, painting, tree removal, gravel bar removal, etc.) the crew has replaced all of the lumber on the “Keystone” picnic tables and rehabbed the landscaping at the Forks of the Delaware in Easton. They have also replaced the deck on our bridge at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park.
We welcome Chuck Wood to our staff as a Semi-Skilled Laborer on our Lodi maintenance crew. Chuck is from Levittown and is a valued addition to the staff.
Our Environmental Educators continue to provide excellent programs at both the Canal and Ralph Stover State Park. They offer programs such as rock climbing, walks, and kayaking. Assisting the staff this season is our intern Marilyn Can who is a student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a resident of New Hope. Ian, Katie and Marilyn also participated in this years’s Delaware River Sojourn.
I want to thank everyone that was involved in this year’s clean-up efforts. Your organization contributes greatly to upkeep of the Canal through your annual Clean-Up Day, Canal Tenders program, and Canal Action Team(CAT) projects.
I want to take a moment to mention the passing of Brian Nixon who passed away suddenly on June 3rd. Brian was an engineer hired to work almost exclusively on projects along the canal. Brian began his position with the Park in March of 2014 and in that short time became a valuable asset to this organization. He is greatly missed.
This year’s Delaware Canal Festival was a rollicking success with approximately 1000 people attending in Historic Bristol Borough and 300 in Morrisville – the highest number ever in each location. The decorated boats, cardboard boats, and decorated ducks were shining examples of local creativity. The food trucks hosted by Raising the Bar in Bristol were a big hit, and the music was great in both places. Kayaking proved to be very popular in Morrisville. A good time was had by all, despite a little bit of rain. Our thanks to our sponsors, contributors, volunteers and participants! Funding support from the Bucks County Conference and Visitor Center and The D&L Trail Alliance was very much appreciated.
Last winter’s incessant freezing, thawing and salting nearly destroyed the steep exterior stairway next to the Locktender’s House at Lock 11 in New Hope. All of the stucco risers were in some state of deterioration, and seven of the bluestone treads spalled. Since the stairs provide the main access way between South Main Street and the Canal towpath and Locktender’s House, the Friends undertook the $5200 repair project. Moyer & Jones Construction spent two weeks rebuilding the contankerous, crumbling structure, and now visitors can climb up and down safely again.
On April 11 more than 325 people turned out for the Friends’ annual Canal Clean-up Day. The winning combination of community groups and Canal Tenders collected truckloads of trash and debris along the full length of the Canal. Volunteers from GOAL (Greenbelt Overhaul Alliance of Levittown) pulled 55 tires out of their section!
Two 9/11 Memorial Benches Repaired
The Delaware Canal State Park is a place full of memories and hope – memories of America’s past and hope for the future of a scenic waterway that thousands of people enjoy. Its beauty, historic significance, and enduring nature made the Delaware Canal a fitting site for the installation of seventeen teak benches that honor the seventeen Bucks County, Pennsylvania residents who perished on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Friends coordinated a successful fundraising effort, and a bench dedication ceremony was held in October 2003. Since then, the benches, which were sited along the length of the Canal towpath, have commemorated the victims’ lives and provided spots for Park visitors to rest, reflect, and enjoy the wonders of nature.
Unfortunately, over the years, a few of the benches were lost to vandalism and floods. One lichen-laden bench has been replaced by its original donor. Others weather in place.
Recently two benches that were suffering from age and careless use were rescued by woodworker extraordinaire Josh Gradwohl. Josh volunteered to work his magic on the benches that honor Victor J. Saracini and William Robert (Bill) Godshalk. Furniture that looked like it was headed for the firewood pile was skillfully restored. The Delaware Canal State Park staff has reinstalled the benches at their locations along the towpath in Lower Makefield and Washington Crossing, and they once again offer places of rest and peace.
Thank you, Josh, for doing such a fine job!
Welcome, New Friends
Noel C. Brown
Eiseman Roofing & Exterior Construction
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gaibler
George E. Michael & Co.
Sarah Jane Kennedy
Dr. and Mrs. Peter McCue
OMNIA Group Architects
Eileen and Robert O’Neil
John W. Seifert
Our Business and Institutional Members
Learn more about these Friends by clicking on their links here.
Golden Pheasant Inn, Erwinna
Tinicum Civic Association
Rockwood Wealth Management, New Hope
Walter’s Nursery, Inc., Point Pleasant
1740 House, Lumberville – NEW Member
Acadia Mortgage, LLC, New Britain
The Boat House, Lambertville
Brett Webber Architects. P.C., Philadelphia and Erwinna
Donnelly Marketing Services Associates, LLC
Ellenoff, Underwood & Norman, Doylestown
First Savings Bank of Perkasie
Holly Hedge Estate, New Hope – NEW Member
Newman & Company, Inc., Philadelphia
Newtown Bicycle and Fitness
Odell Painting, LLC, Ottsville
The River House at Odette’s, New Hope
The Thompson Organization, Doylestown
William B. Parry & Son, Ltd., Langhorne
Ahlum Gallery, Riegelsville
Appalachian Mountain Club, Delaware Valley Chapter
Borough of Morrisville
Bucks County Riverboat & Trolley Companies, Upper Black Eddy
Cramer Bakery, Yardley
Dilly’s Corner, Centre Bridge
Edgar H. Denson, Post #79 American Legion, New Hope
First National Bank & Trust Company of Newtown
First Savings Insurance, New Britain
T. Foster & Co., Inc., Yardley
Fox Chase Bank, Lahaska
Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, New Hope
The Grundy Commons, Bristol
Hobensack & Keller, Inc., New Hope
Homestead General Store & Coffee Roasters, Upper Black Eddy
La Chele Medical Aesthetics, New Hope
Leisure Craft, Warrington
Liberty Bell Wanderers, Philadelphia
Logan Inn, New Hope
McCaffrey’s Markets, Yardley
Mueller’s General Store & Kitchen – Easton – NEW Member
NAM Planning & Design, LLC, Lumberville
John Paton, Inc., Doylestown
Peddler’s Village, Lahaska
Pete’s Bike & Fitness Shoppe, Flemington, NJ
Porches Bed & Breakfast, New Hope
River Road Business Alliance, Erwinna
Sand Castle Winery, Erwinna
Shearer Penn Corp., Trenton, NJ
The Stephan House Inn, New Hope
Tinsman Bros., Inc., Lumberville
Univest National Bank & Trust Co.
The UPS Store, New Hope
Canal Tenders at Work
The Delaware Canal is a cleaner, more pleasant place to visit thanks to all the people who have volunteered to be Canal Tenders. They are vigilant year-round. They pick up trash, clear away limbs, report problems, and care in every way for the sections of the Canal that they have adopted.
To find out more about becoming a Canal Tender, visit the Get Involved page at www.fodc.org or call 215-862-2021. It would be wonderful to have a full complement of Tenders this summer.
Much of the work of the Friends gets done within the structure of five committees.
- The Advocacy, Restoration and Maintenance Committee deals with the bricks and mortar projects, clean-ups, nudging, planning, etc.
- The Education and Recreation Committee delves into programs, signage, exhibits, etc.
- The Membership Committee builds the organization.
- The Fundraising Committee sustains the organization through fundraising and volunteerism.
- The Finance Committee make sure that the bills get paid and the future of the organization is ensured.
The Board of Directors would very much like to have assistance, guidance, and insights from Friends’ members. Please consider joining a committee or helping out with specific tasks of interest to you. For more info, call 215-862-2021 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.