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EXPLORE AMERICA: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is the site where the Delaware River winds south toward the Atlantic, forming the New Jersey – Pennsylvania border and cuts dramatically through the Kittatinny Ridge, forming a “water gap.” On the Pennsylvania side of a sharp S-curve in the river, Mount Minsi rises to 1,463 feet, while across the river Mt. Tammany tops it at 1,527 feet. Lenape Indians first lived in this hilly, forested area on the edge of the Appalachian range. Since the 17th century, it has been continuously occupied first by Dutch, then English, and finally American settlers. In 1965, this 40-mile stretch of the river and almost 70,000 acres lining its banks were declared a national recreation area to promote support for the proposed Tocks Island dam, to be constructed six miles north of the gap. But the resulting reservoir would have flooded 80 percent of the new recreation area, and ultimately the dam project was dropped. The area remains, boasting not only the stunning gap between Minsi and Tammany, but also 40 miles of the Delaware, known as one of the cleanest rivers in the East, and several historic sites along a 17th-century roadway. Visitors enjoy hiking, water sports, and cultural activities in this rural getaway only 90 minutes from New York City.

Telephone 570-426-2451. http://www.nps.gov/DEWA/index.htm

Photo credit: courtesy National Park Service

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