To provide outdoor recreation opportunities while conserving the natural, cultural and scenic resources of the recreation area. In so doing, the park works cooperatively with surrounding communities and the public to achieve the conservation goals of the Delaware River region.
Significant Natural Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is the largest natural area in the National Park System between Virginia and Maine and one of the largest protected natural areas in the metropolitan corridor extending from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts.
The waters of the Middle Delaware River are of exceptional quality. The 125 miles of the river that run through Upper Delaware National Scenic & Recreational River and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area are classified as Special Protection Waters which have "exceptionally high scenic, recreational and ecological values." Under the regulations applicable to this category, "no measurable change in existing water quality [is permitted] except towards natural conditions."
The park is the tenth most visited area in the National Park System with almost 5 million recreational visits each year. Visitation is growing at a steady rate. Much of this visitation is from the nearby, rapidly expanding New York/northern New Jersey and Philadelphia surburban areas.