SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — A popular tourist spot in the Poconos will be patrolled very closely this weekend. The recent rainfall has made the Delaware River too dangerous to swim.
A local business is also affected by the swollen river.
The Delaware River inside the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is above its safe level for swimmers. Because of all the rain we’ve had, the Delaware River is swollen a few feet shy of its 15 foot flood stage. The river isn’t expect to start receding until next week, so in the meantime, no swimming is allowed and park rangers will make sure of it.
“We’ll have people out there on foot this weekend, patrolling some of the areas and we will also have our river rangers out on the river,” said park ranger Kathleen Sandt.
The park rangers will mainly be making sure people aren’t swimming and if they’re boating on the river, rangers will be making sure visitors wear the proper safety gear.
“The Delaware River is closed this weekend to swimming but you can wade.”
However, you’re going to have to wear the proper equipment. That does not include a pool noodle, or a pool inner tube. Instead you must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket and make sure if you wear it, you fasten it properly.
“It should be worn properly,” Sandt said. “It has to be fastened and it has to fit you right in order for it to save your life.”
At Chamerlain canoes outside the national recreation area, the shop rents out canoes, kayaks, and rafts to visitors. But this weekend, they’re only renting rafts to people wanting to brave the Delaware River.
Canoes and kayaks are not an option; only rafts until the river recedes.
“Generally, you have a much lesser chance of tipping over and usually not tipping over. Also, properly fitting life jackets and no swimming with water as high as it is. You have to follow the rules of safety,” said Brad Sweeney of Chamberlain Canoes.
The Delaware River is expected to crest soon but it won’t be safe for swimming until early next week.