For guests to Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center, the Delaware River is a central part of their experience on the grounds. It creates the serene setting for our retreats, and allows our guests moments of contemplation and peace. It is a visible feature that many remember for years after visiting.
In the early 2000's, the Delaware River became a different sort of feature as it flooded 3 times in 22 months - each time reaching the grounds and disrupting retreats. The first flood, in September of 2004, the one lane bridge at Belvidere Corner Road was damaged, forcing guests to drive around the damage to get to our grounds.
The second flood, in April of 2005, caused damage to the original river front deck requiring it to be removed and replaced.
Finally, on June 29, 2006, after four days of rain, the water swelled until River Road was flooded from the grounds down to Belvidere, NJ. Tuscarora was forced to close early and send staff and guests home as the water rose over the road and stretched all the way to the Snack Shop.
While current guests and staff who lived on the grounds were affected, a huge event loomed on the horizon. Junior Week was set to start in just a few days, and with it 320 campers would arrive for a week of camp programming. Tuscarora didn't want the flooded ground to impact the program.
In moments like these, we turn our eyes and hope to the Lord, and He provided. Thanks to the help of Upper Mount Bethel Volunteer Fire Company, Portland Hook and Ladder Company, alongside other local fire departments and volunteers, the grounds were cleared and all flooding taken care of before the event began.
Campers and counselors from that year of Junior Week probably remember some creative outdoor water games to make up for a damaged pool, and muddy puddles, but it was a miracle that the grounds were able to perform ministry so soon after such a major natural event.
After three years of significant flooding, steps were taken to ensure riverfront property could be safe from such damage. Through the Delaware River Basin Commission, a partnership between Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New York City, the Flexible Flood Management Plan uses scheduled released of reservoirs to control the flow of water.