Forming & Managing the Park

A Timeline of the Park's Formation

1930s First modern proposals for a dam at Tocks Island
1955 Hurricane Diane floods the valley
1956 Delaware River Basin Advisory Committee created from representatives of 4 states
1960 Army Corps of Engineers finalizes a plan for a dam at Tocks Island
1960s Record drought hits the Delaware Valley
1962 Congress authorizes Tocks Island Dam
1965 Delaware Valley Conservation Association forms locally to oppose the dam
1965 Congress establishes Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to manage the
lands that will surround the future Tocks Island reservoir
1966 Lenni Lenape League forms to oppose pumped-storage at Sunfish Pond
1967 Justice William Douglas leads a hike to Sunfish Pond in support of its preservation.
1970 National Environmental Policy Act passes.
1971 Save the Delaware Coalition unites dozens of organizations to fight the dam
1975 Delaware River Basin Commission votes 3 to 1 against constructing the dam
1978 Congress establishes Middle Delaware National Scenic River within the park,
effectively blocking future dams
1992 Congress de-authorizes Tocks Island Dam
1993 Congress establishes Minisink Archeological Site National Landmark within the park


Today's recreation area proves the claim of opponents to the dam, who said not only that the valley was worth preserving in its natural state, but also that a free-flowing river can provide recreational opportunities as enjoyable as those of a man-made reservoir.

The nearly 70,000 acres of the recreation area are rich in both cultural and natural history. The ridges and river valley contain streams, waterfalls, geologic features, a diversity of plants and wildlife, and traces of past cultures, including significant Native American artifacts and sites.

Forty miles of the middle Delaware River are the primary focus of park recreation: fishing, boating, canoeing, and swimming. In addition, the recreation area offers opportunities for hiking, biking, picnicking, hunting, and auto touring.

The recreation area receives more than 5,000,000 visits each year, making it the 8th most-visited unit of the National Park System.

Last updated: November 6, 2017

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Mailing Address:

1978 River Road
Bushkill, PA 18324


(570) 426-2452

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