Keeping the Delaware Free

Guest post by Susan Wallace.

delaware river

Delaware River | Nicholas A. Tonelli

The Delaware River has captivated me for almost my entire life. It has always felt old and atmospheric, yet a river alive, romantic and beautiful. The river just has so much presence – it feels like a spiritual being.

I remember the ’55 flood. My parents and I drove on what roads were passable, up towards the Water Gap, to survey the damage. There was a great deal of debris and devastation. I remember seeing chairs wedged high up in trees, wooden cabins crushed like soggy cardboard, and I particularly remember my mother pointing out a nightgown dangling limply from high branches. That nightgown frightened me because I could not think of it apart from the woman who had once worn it. Had she drowned in that terrible flood? Most likely it was swept off a clothesline, but the images of what the ’55 flooding of the Delaware left behind imprinted on me. So did the stories my father used to tell me about the Lenape who once lived in communities along the Delaware and its tributaries, and the artifacts he found there as a boy.

To this day, for miles and miles, the scattered old river towns and villages enhance the timeless feeling of the magnificent, un-dammed river. It’s this presence that I work to protect for future generations.

Guest blogger Susan Wallace is a long-time conservationist and advocate for the Delaware River. She and her husband Bruce are currently working to protect Tinicum Creek and a 200 year old bridge that spans it, within the Wild and Scenic Delaware River watershed.