We deserve better. We can do better.
My dad grew up just outside of Stroudsburg, the eldest of three sons. He would spend every day after school doing odd jobs to help support the family as his father had abandoned the family when he was just 9 years old. His mother worked in a garment factory and in housekeeping to keep their family going. The best memories my father has from childhood were of the weekends he and his friends would spend in Child’s Park, swimming and picnicking. My dad wanted to pass on those memories to me and my siblings.
Much of my childhood was spent going on family hikes and camping trips in the DWGRA. My personal family connection to the DWGRA is one reason why I am so passionate about opposing the National Park proposal and for advocating for the much-needed funding for the DWGRA for infrastructure and staffing.
"Donald Miles, vice chair of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club, said the move from a recreation area to a national park would, ideally, command a larger budget to address amenities and infrastructure. “We basically see the same amount of tourists as Yellowstone but without the commensurate budget,” he said. The Water Gap has an annual budget of $8.2 million from the National Park Service, while Yellowstone National Park’s budget is $27.6 million."
Initially I believed that the re-designation of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area (DWGA) could be the solution to our infrastructure and funding problems. However the proposal never moved past a vague fantasy and the needed research and auditing necessary for a sound plan never materialized. For this reason I believe the proposal for 10% percent of The Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area to become a National Park does not make a strong enough case or address the numerous concerns raised by community members.
Local Milford resident, Fred Weber stated, "There is also nothing indicating what the economic impact would be. Instead, materials talk about 'potential benefits', of that NY, NJ, and PA 'deserve' a National Park. This leaves many critical questions. " I agree with Mr. Weber.
The current proposal does not address funding or supply a budget plan. We need to significantly improve the infrastructure of the DWRA and a comprehensive plan needs to be made to address this. Tourism is vital for the economic health of our mountain towns and we need to make sure that the DWGRA has the resources necessary to support tourism.
The concerns of local municipalities must be prioritized, and all stakeholders must be actively involved in understanding the potential impact of re-designation on their Municipalities.
"Whether this proposal to designate a portion of DWGNRA a National Park goes through or not, we need to address the stresses on our roads, emergency services, traffic and other factors that are already in urgent need. The consideration of the National Park proposal is bringing these urgent issues to the forefront and that is a good thing; I want to make sure these issues are addressed either way." -John Donahue
I agree with Mr. Donahue, however since making that statement, neither he nor the Sierra Club have addressed with specificity how the proposal will be the solution. There are simply too many questions left unanswered and too many "what if's" that are not being addressed to the public's satisfaction. At this juncture I urge all stake holders to say NO to the National Park.
Meg's spent much of her childhood at DWGRA
Grants for solar panels on homes and the construction of wind farms would greatly increase the amount of clean energy available and it would make residents less dependent of their primary heat and electricity source. Taking care of the environment will also take care of our residents who dread our frequent disruptions to power and heat in the colder months.