For those who live, work or travel past the Delaware Canal in New Hope on a frequent basis, something unmistakable, yet miraculous by local standards is occurring: the water level in the canal is steadily rising, and the whole thing is starting to look like it might really be filling up.
The reason the water is rising is that “the pump is operating, the new lining is working, and rain would be excellent,” according to Susan Taylor, executive director of the Friends of the Delaware Canal. Water from the pump began arriving at Lock 11 one week ago, she explained.
Additionally, the cinder block concession building south of the Locktender’s House is structurally challenged, and plans call for rebuilding it as a visitors center, park office and ticket concession for mule barges.
But for many local towpath walkers and residents, the sight of the canal filling up is like an almost-forgotten dream.
Taylor goes to great pains to avoid raising unrealistic hopes, given the challenging history of canal water restoration efforts. “So far, so good,” she said. “Fingers crossed, toes crossed, knock on wood.”