Wallkill River

Wallkill River

Geobox River
name = Wallkill River
native_name = Twischsawkin
other_name =
other_name1 =

image_size = 300
image_caption = Islands in the river near Walden, NY
country = United States
country1 =
state = New York
state1 = New Jersey
region_type = Counties
region = Ulster, NY
region1 = Orange, NY
region2 = Sussex, NJ
district =
district1 =
city = New Paltz, NY
city1 = Walden, NY
city2 = Montgomery, NY
city3 = Sparta, NJ
length_imperial = 94
length_note = Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, 2005, [http://ucswcd.org/Mgmt%20Plan_dpr.pdf Draft Wallkill Watershed Conservation and Management Plan] , 11, retrieved March 21, 2007.]
watershed_imperial = 785
watershed_note =
discharge_location = Gardiner, NY
discharge_average_imperial = 1365
discharge_max_imperial =
discharge_min_imperial =
discharge_note =United States Geological Survey; [http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/annual/?referred_module=sw&site_no=01371500&por_01371500_2=1049108,00060,2,1924,2005&year_type=W&format=html_table&date_format=YYYY-MM-DD&rdb_compression=value&submitted_form=parameter_selection_list Wallkill River at Gardiner, NY; average annual discharge table] . Figure given is for 2005. Retrieved March 14, 2007.]
discharge1_location =
discharge1_average_imperial =
source_name = Lake Mohawk, New Jersey
source_location = Sparta
source_district =
source_region = Sussex County
source_state = NJ
source_country =
source_lat_d = 41
source_lat_m = 01
source_lat_s = 58
source_lat_NS = N
source_long_d = 74
source_long_m = 38
source_long_s = 38
source_long_EW = W
source_elevation_imperial = 720
source_length_imperial =
mouth_name = Rondout Creek
mouth_location = Rifton
mouth_district =
mouth_region = Ulster County
mouth_state = NY
mouth_country =
mouth_lat_d = 41
mouth_lat_m = 51
mouth_lat_s = 13
mouth_lat_NS = N
mouth_long_d = 74
mouth_long_m = 02
mouth_long_s = 55
mouth_long_EW = W
mouth_elevation_imperial = 0
tributary_left = Shawangunk Kill
tributary_left1 =
tributary_right = Papakating Creek
tributary_right1 =
free_name =
free_value =

map_size = 300
map_caption = The combined watersheds of the Wallkill and Rondout Creek
The Wallkill River, a tributary of the Hudson, drains Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey, flowing from there generally northeasterly 94 miles (151 km) into New York, where it drains into Rondout Creek near Rosendale, with the combined flows reaching the Hudson at Kingston.

The river is often said to be unusual because it flows north between two major south-flowing rivers, the Hudson and the Delaware River. It also has the unusual distinction of being a river that drains into a creek, due to being impounded shortly before the Rondout confluence into a small body of water called Sturgeon Pool near Rifton, and what reaches the Rondout from there is the lesser flow.


Its broad valley nestles between the main Appalachian Mountains and the New York-New Jersey Highlands, supporting much local agriculture. at the New Jersey/New York state line. Most of the New Jersey portion is navigable by canoe. Then it is heavily diverted as it flows through the rich Black Dirt Region of Warwick. Until drainage projects were built here, this region was known as the Drowned Lands. After lending its name to the Town of Wallkill, in northern Orange County, it begins to regain its volume as it passes by Orange County Airport, Montgomery and through Walden, where dams have been built in the past to provide power for local industry. The largest, in Walden, still is used by New York State Electric and Gas today.After briefly serving as the line between Orange and Ulster counties, it passes by Wallkill, the second community to take its name from the river, and then the striking scenery of the Shawangunk Ridge is visible as it winds past the Ulster County Fairgrounds and New Paltz, where its flood plain becomes more noticeable, on the way to its mouth at the Rondout.

Also somewhat unusually, the Wallkill tends to cross political borders much more often than it forms them, at least in New York (in New Jersey it divides several townships). Other than the brief segment that follows the Orange-Ulster line, there is only southern Orange County, where it divides the towns of Minisink, Wawayanda and Wallkill on its west from Warwick and Goshen to the east. Two villages, Montgomery and New Paltz, are also bounded by the river in part.

In addition to the town and hamlet in New York, two school districts take their name from the river: Wallkill Valley Regional School District, in New Jersey and Wallkill Central in New York (Valley Central also derives its name indirectly from the river).


Native Americans knew the river as "Twischsawkin", meaning "the land where plums abound". At least three prehistoric rock shelters have been found in archaelogical digs in the region. For the indigenous peoples, it was not only important for its arable land but for its geological resources. The river and its valley are abundant in flint and chert, from which they made spear points and arrowheads.U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); [http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/History.cfm?ID=52610 History] ; retrieved March 22, 2007.]

European settlers of the region named it first the Palse River, after New Paltz. Later, when it was clear that the river continued well beyond the original New Paltz patent, it took after the Waal river in their native Netherlands. They worked their way down it from the Hudson Valley in the 17th century, and were followed by the British after the colony changed hands.

Settlers recognized the agricultural possibilities of the Drowned Lands almost as soon as they moved in. Efforts to divert the river and create more farmland appear to have begun as early as 1760. It would take 66 years, however, before a canal succeeded in draining the land and making enough available to profitably cultivate. By that time industry was beginning to harness the river, too, as Jacob Walden established his mill in the village downriver that would later take his name. Millers in the Black Dirt Region clashed heavily with farmers in what were known as the Muskrat and Beaver Wars for decades afterwards, since the millers needed the water to flow freely while the farmers depended on keeping it diverted. In 1871 the farmers finally won. What industry there was would be confined to Montgomery and Walden where the railroad ran nearby.

In 1955 the river experienced the most serious flooding in its history, when two hurricanes pounded the Northeast after a dry summer. Heavy flooding of the river and its smaller tributaries from the April 2007 nor'easter forced a number of road closures and evacuations of homes in its flood plain in central Orange County.


The Wallkill has 69 total tributaries in New York alone. Thirty are named.

Moving downriver (south to north)
*Wildcat Brook
*Papakating Creek
*Beaver Run
*Pochuck Creek
*Wawayanda Creek
*Rutgers Creek
*Monhagen Brook
*Quaker Creek
*Masonic Creek
*Mannayunk Kill
*Muddy Kill
*Tin Brook
*Dwaar Kill
*Shawangunk Kill
*Plate Kill
*Kleine Kill

ee also

*List of crossings of the Wallkill River
*List of New Jersey rivers
*List of New York rivers


External links

* [http://www.fws.gov/northeast/wallkillriver/ Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge]
* [http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nj/nwis/current/?type=flow U.S. Geological Survey: NJ stream gaging stations]
* [http://www.wallkillriverschool.com Wallkill River Art Gallery]
* [http://www.albertwisnerlibrary.org/~wisner/Factsandhistory/History/DrownedLandsoftheWallkill.htm Drowned Lands of the Wallkill]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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