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Contact: Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist, (570) 426-2472 (O); (570) 234-9144
BUSHKILL, PA:Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area wants your input so that park managers, partners, and stakeholders can plan appropriately for the next century.The park is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the National Park Service (NPS) is celebrating its Centennial in 2016. A series of public listening sessions and focus group meetings are scheduled for April 7-9 to solicit input from the public about visitor use in the park. Holding these meetings and listening sessions is an initial step in a multi-year process to prepare a Visitor Use Management Plan (VUM) for the park.
The purpose of the VUM plan is to determine the best ways for the NPS to protect the park's natural, cultural, scenic, and recreationalresources while maximizing public access and enhancing visitor experiences and opportunities. "As an integral part of the planning process, the NPS is asking for public input to help us gain a better understanding of our visitors and their needs, experiences, and preferences and to help us identify existing or new opportunities to meet those needs while also achieving our mission to preserve and protect resources," explained Superintendent Donahue. "There will be several opportunities over the next 2 years for the public to get involved," he added.
The NPS will host two public listening sessions to provide information on the Visitor Use Management Plan project and encourage input and questions related to visitor use at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
- April 7 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Terraview Event Facility at Stroudsmoor Country Inn, 231 Stroudsmoor Road, Stroudsburg, PA, 18360
- April 9 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, 707 US Highway 46 East, Parsippany, NJ, 07054
Those who cannot attend the meetings in person can review recorded presentations and provide input online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/dewa.
Two focus group sessions will also be held:one with regional public landowners and land management agencies and one with park partners and cooperators. This is just the beginning of the public input process and there will be several opportunities to provide input in the future. During the summer of 2015, the park will be conducting visitor surveys and studies and developing preliminary alternatives for potential management strategies based on research, best practices, and public input. "During this first phase, we will gain a better understanding of current conditions and use patterns throughout the park, and will begin to look at some possible management options by engaging the public," said Donahue. "In 2016, we will focus on exploring a range of management options and the potential consequences associated with them so that we can develop a plan for visitor use management at the park."
For more information, call park headquarters between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm at (570) 426-2452; visit our website at www.nps.gov/dewa/getinvolved/index.htm; or follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.