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Contact: Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist, (570) 426-2472 (O) (570) 234-9144 (C)
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced today that the summary report from April's public listening sessions and online public input period on the development of a Visitor Use Management Plan (VUM Plan) for the park has been released and is available for public review. "I would like to extend my gratitude to everyonewho took the time to provide comments and suggestions whether in person at the meetings or online. It is clear that there are a lot of people who love this place and are passionate about how it is managed," said Donahue. "For this to be a useful VUM Plan, it is critical that we hear from our visitors, partners, stakeholders and local residents and involve all of them in the plan's development."
The summary report is posted on the National Park Service's Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/dewa. A hard copy maybe obtained by calling park headquarters at (570) 426-2452.
The report summarizes comments received during two public listening sessions, two focus group meetings, and online comments received through the PEPC site.
Information gathered during the preliminary public input phase of this project will be used to inform the development of potential management strategies that will allow the NPS to provide the highest quality and most diverse range of outdoor recreation opportunities and experiences while ensuring that park resources and values are protected into the future. Park employees are working with a team of planners and visitor use management specialists from Clemson University, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and several NPS support offices including the Denver Service Center, the Northeast Regional Office, and the Washington Office on the development of potential options.
"Now that we have heard from the public during the initial civic engagement phase of the project, we are on schedule to hold a series of public meetings late this summer to seek feedback from the public on the potential options that our team develops," said Superintendent Donahue. The meetings will tentatively be held in late August and will be announced in advance. There will once again be opportunities to provide comments online through the PEPC website too.
In addition to the upcoming public meetings, a team of researchers from Clemson University will be conducting several surveys of visitors and visitor use patterns in the park this summer and during the summer of 2016. New trail counters have also been installed at key visitor use sites in an effort to gather important data on visitor use, including how many visitors use the site and when. "This is a comprehensive effort to learn as much as we can about our visitors so that we can provide opportunities for them while protecting the very resources they come here to enjoy," added Donahue.
The VUM Plan is expected to be completed in 2017 and is intended to guide the park in providing outstanding opportunities for the public to enjoy the park while protecting precious park resources from degradation related to human impacts.
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; or follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.