Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The sixth Climate Friendly Parks Workshop was held at Delaware Water Gap NRA in November, 2005. Delaware Water Gap NRA is a 70,000-acre preserve that encompasses much of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. The Delaware River runs through the park, but it is not contained within the park so the park alone cannot protect the river. The single greatest threat to Delaware Water Gap NRA is the increased urbanization around the park boundaries. As the residentialsource population increases, the park is realizing effects on water quality and air quality. In addition, large portions of the surrounding communities use the primary park highway as a thoroughfare for commuting to jobs, which generates large amounts of greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions in the park. Possible effects of climate change in Delaware Water Gap NRA include vast changes in migration patterns of birds and animals as forests are fragmented, an increase in heat-related deaths in urban areas, reduced air quality with correlating health problems, and more extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, freezes, and thaws.
Over 85 percent of Delaware Water Gap's greenhouse gas emissions are the result of mobile combustion. In response, park staff chose to lead by example by reducing their fuel consumption by fifteen percent in the next three years. Additionally, careful siting and orientation of the visitor center makes it an effective teaching tool for visitors on the importance of sustainability and human interdependency with the environment.
The Delaware Water Gap Criteria Air Pollutant (CAP) and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory was developed to provide an understanding of park emission sources and a baseline by which future emission reductions can be measured. The Delaware Water Gap Climate Action Plan includes a summary of this inventory and identifies the strategies the park intends to implement in order to achieve these reductions.