Trails Remain Closed at Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Pa. -- Weeks after three major winter storms pummeled the Poconos, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area park rangers are finally able to get a good look at the trails to assess the damage.

Hikers can't believe the mess that was left behind.

"It's amazing to see this many trees down. But at the same time, this is the natural order," said Diane Shindle of Maryland.

Heavy, wet snow and wind gusts reaching 40 miles an hour toppled thousands of trees and power lines.

On the Pennsylvania side of the park, all but two trails remain closed.

Park officials say it could take months, even years to clean up the damage.

"Based on the damage and the work that needs to be done and the safety hazards that still exist out there, we made the decision to close all of those trails until further notice," said Kathleen Sandt, National Park Service.

On the McDade Trail, there are tree limbs everywhere. Park rangers say they have to get all of it cleared before it's safe for hikers to walk through.

"One of the big things we are looking out for are what is called widow makers, those trees that haven't come all the way down, branches that are still suspended. There are a lot of them out there and gravity is going to bring them down at some point," said Sandt.

Fossil Trail at Pocono Environmental Education Center and the Raymondskill Falls Trail from the lower parking area are the two trails that are still open.

Some folks came from Maryland to hike on some of their favorite trails.

"We went down to Dingmans Falls and it's closed for obvious reasons, but we were able to come here and see some of the falls," said Robert Shindle, Maryland.

For more information on trail closures and recovery updates, click here.