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Shuttle service returns to National Recreation Area

Visitors can get a free lift to and from several sites in the recreation area, which include river access points, picnic areas, and hiking trails.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — It's views like the one from Raymondskill Falls that draw in thousands of visitors to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

"We always see a big surge in visitation numbers on Memorial Day Weekend as people finally get that opportunity to get out and get that extra day off and come out and enjoy the park," said Kathleen Sandt, a public information officer with the National Park Service.

But along with busy holiday weekends come packed parking lots and traffic jams.

To help alleviate congestion, park officials and the Monroe County Transit Authority have brought back the free river and hiker shuttles.

Visitors can get a free lift to and from several sites in the recreation area, which include river access points, picnic areas, and hiking trails.

"If you park here at Smithfield Beach, we can take you to Bushkill or Dingman's, and then you can launch from there and float back, and you're back at your vehicle again," said Rich Schlameuss, the assistant executive director for the Monroe County Transit Authority.

Starting this weekend, a new shuttle will also debut at Raymondskill Falls because there's not much parking there either.

"Adding that shuttle is something we want to try out this year," Sandt said. "We want to hear from people about how it's working, but we think it may be a good strategy to again help alleviate congestion and help improve safety because we have a lot of pedestrians walking on those roads while there are also cars coming up and down those roads."

Several buses will be looping through the recreation area from Milford in Pike County to Delaware Water Gap in Monroe County.

The River Runner Shuttle will have a trailer attached to carry kayaks, canoes, and bikes.

"It's been two years without the river runner, and it feels like we're on the right path. You know, and people want to get out," Schlameuss said. "They want to engage with the environment and be on the river and be hiking, and this is a great way to use that resource."

The free shuttle service begins this Saturday and runs on weekends and holidays through Labor Day.

Check here to see a list of the routes.

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