Learn more about the restoration work underway at George W. Childs Park, due to reopen in mid-2024!
George W. Childs Park in Pike County is a gem of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area but it has been closed since March 2018 when a winter storm knocked down tons of trees. That meant the National Park Service had to work all that time to redesign and rebuild all that infrastructure including a new accessible path to see the gorgeous waterfalls.
"This was one of the first public recreation spaces in Pennsylvania. George Childs definitely had a vision, wanted this to be a woodland paradise, an escape from the heat of the city for everyone whether you were wealthy or whether you didn’t have money and just needed a place to get away, get into the fresh air, see the waterfalls and spectacular beauty of the area," said Kara Deutsch with the National Park Service.
It has been years but Deutsch and the National Park Service are close to welcoming the public back to this park.
"He created this full waterfalls, and bridges, meandering through this ravine with waterfalls that are some of the most spectacular in this part of Pennsylvania," she added.
Over its 150-plus year history, George W. Childs Park has been a gem of the Pocono Mountains until that winter storm nearly six years ago.
"Some of our really tall old hemlock trees that are still here," said Deutsch. "We lost a bunch in that 2018 snow storm, that was the reason we were closed because there was so much damage we really had to rehab a lot to get it back for visitors."
Photos show the sheer scale of devastation, hundreds of trees toppled and a huge task left for the National Park Service to get Childs Park back to its former glory.
"The bottom line is we need to make it safe for the public," said Bill Tagye, Chief of Maintenance for the park. "We have to follow certain rules and regulations that are in place to make sure our culture and natural resources are protected before we do anything."
Not only will Childs Park be restored by mid 2024, it will have some new accessibility features including a paved path.
"We’ve redesigned the trail from the parking lot down to the first bridge. We’ve put down blacktop that will increase accessibility for people with wheelchairs and those with disabilities. We also put down another type of trail surface that will give access to another part of the park that wasn’t accessible," said Tagye.
Just like the waterfalls and the ruins of a former woolen mill within Childs Park, their constant presence awaits the return of families, explorers and nature lovers.
The National Park Service plans to reopen Childs Park by mid 2024. Watch for more info as that time gets closer.
In the meantime, a reminder of how this restoration is part of the park's long history arc with a commitment to what George Childs' vision was for this special place.
"In the end, Mother Nature is in charge, we are not," said Bill Tagye. "That being said, we can be relentless as she is. We want people to get back here. We’re doing the right thing, we’re rebuilding this to its former glory, the challenge will be the future, Mother Nature is always there, we’re here to manage this for the public for future generations."