With Hurricane Irene expected to bring high winds and heavy rains to the Eastern Seaboard, officials at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area have decided to shutter much of the NRA in advance of the storm.
Superintendent John J. Donahue said Friday afternoon that the NRA will be closing the river corridor, park roads, and facilities in preparation for the hurricane's arrival.
The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rainfall and strong winds in New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania, and New York as Hurricane Irene moves up the Mid-Atlantic coast over the weekend, an NRA statement said. Current predictions show that rainfall amounts could exceed 7 inches in areas surrounding Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The following closures were to take effect Friday at 10 p.m. and will remain in effect until further notice:
* River Road (Pennsylvania) will be closed from park headquarters near Fernwood Resort to a point about a half mile north of Shawnee.
* Old Mine Road (New Jersey) will be closed from Worthington State Forest to Millbrook Village.
* Blue Mountain Lakes Road and Skyline Drive (New Jersey) will be closed at the intersection with Old Mine Road.
Depending on weather conditions and possible flooding, additional road closures may be necessary, including U.S. Route 209 between Bushkill and Milford, Pennsylvania. To ensure visitor safety, the following areas and facilities will close on Saturday morning, August 27 and will remain closed until further notice:
* Delaware River Corridor - the river corridor and all river access points within the boundaries of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will close; the river will remain closed until the water height recedes to a safe level.
* Beaches – Turtle Beach, Smithfield Beach, and Milford Beach.
* Visitor Centers – Dingmans Falls Visitor Center and Kittatinny Point Visitor Center.
* Millbrook Village – all buildings will be closed; the grounds will remain open.
* Campgrounds – Valley View Group Campground (Pennsylvania) and Rivers Bend Group Campground (New Jersey).
* Trails - the McDade Trail .
In addition, a number of program and service cancellations are announced:
* Transit in the Park – the weekend bus service provided by the Monroe County Transportation Authority will not operate.
* Ranger-Led Programs – the following programs have been cancelled:
Saturday - Dingmans Falls “Waterfall Walks”, Dingmans Campground Saturday Evening Program, and “Once Upon a Time in Millbrook.”
Sunday - “A Walk through Millbrook Village” and McDade Trail Hike.
Visitors and local residents are advised to use to use extreme caution when traveling through or visiting the park and are encouraged to monitor the weather forecasts for updated information on the hurricane’s track