A new NJ tube company will be on the Delaware River this summer
A new tube company is set to make a splash in Hunterdon County waters this summer.
Big Bear Equipment, an outdoor clothing, equipment and rental store, recently entered into a concession agreement with the state to operate on the Delaware River.
The holder of the previous agreement, Delaware River Tubing in the Township of Alexandria, operated on the Delaware River through a concession agreement with the state that was not renewed at the end of 2018. The tube company remained open throughout the summers of 2019 and 2020 despite frequent fines from the state. , resulting in an ongoing legal battle.
It is currently unclear whether Delaware River Tubing will continue to operate this summer following the death of its owner, Greg Crance, last week from complications related to COVID.
Michael Ehrenreich, who owns Big Bear Gear with his wife, Rebecca Gelman, opened the business in June 2020. He wanted to expand his services beyond outdoor gear sales and rentals in his desire that Big Bear Gear operates as a “business outdoor event and entertainment” through the region’s river towns.
“(Tubing) is definitely part of what we think we should be doing in terms of outdoor events, education, and services, so it’s something we kept our eye on … and we think it fits well with our capabilities and our other services, ”explained Ehrenreich.
He added that the piping operation is part of his “vision” to attract customers to other aspects of the business, including a series of summer concerts as well as lessons in how to cross-country ski, use a topographic map and compass, and build a campfire for a game, among other things.
“We hope to create synergies and cross-exchanges between the people who come by tube and get them to the store, where we will organize other types of events and courses for people,” said Ehrenreich.
Beginning on Memorial Day, customers can rent tubes, kayaks, or canoes from Big Bear Gear at the company’s tube operation, located in the Cooley Tract of D&R Canal State Park on Route 29.
“We’re going to try to make sure that something happens before Memorial Day,” Ehrenreich said. “The water is still cold, but we’ll probably put kayaks on the river and start running our livery service, our vans and things like that. And usually the real start of tubing season is around the 4th of July weekend, when the water heats up enough to be really comfortable. So for us, we’re going to try to be fully functional by the weekend of July 4th. “
Tuberculants, kayakers and canoes will enjoy a five-mile excursion on the Delaware River, exiting the New Jersey side of the river across from Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
Due to state-imposed capacity restrictions related to the coronavirus, Ehrenreich said the tubing operation will only be able to accommodate up to about 120 to 150 people per day when it opens.
“The main limitation in capacity is actually the shuttle, the transport,” Ehrenreich explained. “The state has asked us – and we have accepted it for now – to run 15 passenger vans or buses as opposed to large school buses.”
“Some people who want to hit the tube this season might be disappointed with the capacity limits, but we don’t want to create a negative or dangerous experience by trying to get more people through our system than we have the capacity to do. for now, “he added.
Despite these constraints, Ehrenreich is determined to operate “smoothly and efficiently” this summer.
“We want to bring as many people as possible to the river and have a good time and a positive experience,” Ehrenreich said.
To learn more about Big Bear Gear and its new piping operation, individuals should visit its website.
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Caroline Fassett can be reached at [email protected].