Contrast the beauty and simplicity of nature at the edge of the most densely populated place in the nation, the greater New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. This is Gateway National Recreation Area.
See an osprey swoop down to catch a fish for dinner. Cast for your own meal from a breezy shore. Enjoy a peaceful boat ride among thousands of acres of islands and open water. Visit miles of beautiful beaches. View the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the nation. Tour the former harbor defense system that dates back to the 19th century. Walk an historic runway built in 1930. Imagine what it was like to pilot a simple aircraft like the ones used by Emilia Earhart or Howard Hughes.
Bike, hike, breathe, reflect and recreate. These experiences are what the United States Congress had in mind when it created a national park in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area in 1972. In fact, Gateway was the first unit of the ational Park System specifically intended to be ithin easy reach of urban residents.
Today, Gateway National Recreation Area is at crossroads, one that needs your input. We are writing a new General Management Plan. We will use the foundation this national park was built upon with the knowledge we have gained over the last thirty years to develop this new plan. This General Management Plan will be our roadmap to guide us for the next twenty years. These are your national park lands and waters. This is your opportunity to help shape a vision for their future.
The first General Management Plan for Gateway was finished in 1979. Since then we have a much better understanding of the natural and cultural significance of Gateway’s resources. We understand and acknowledge there are threats to park resources. In addition, the needs of our visitors are very different today than they were a generation ago. Considering all this, it is time to look to the future and determine how best to protect, improve and sustain the health of our natural and cultural resources.
So, when and how can you participate and help?
In the summer and fall of 2009, the National Park Service hosted Open Houses throughout the park in New York and New Jersey. We shared information about the planning process, introduced members of our planning team and attendees were able to share observations, concerns, and ideas about their national park.
This year, the planning team will develop and present preliminary alternatives. These alternatives will outline possible options for the park and provide opportunities for review and comment by the public, partners, government agencies and other stakeholders. Once these Open Houses are scheduled for this phase of the plan, we'll announce the dates and times in a press release and on this website.
In order for Gateway National Recreation Area to reach its full potential we must combine National Park Service expertise with the life experience of our visitors. I look forward to working with each of you as we create a shared vision for our wonderful resources.
Barry T. Sullivan
Gateway National Recreation Area