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UDC & NPS Host Workshop On River Management Plan

April 5, 2012

NARROWSBURG, NY – Working with the River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River was the subject of a recent training workshop targeted to town and township officials in New York and Pennsylvania.

The Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) and National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (NPS) co-sponsored the March 24 program held at the Tusten Town Hall meeting room in Narrowsburg.

“We want to make everyone aware of the River Management Plan and how important it is to the river valley,” said UDC Chairperson Nadia Rajsz from the Town of Lumberland as she greeted the 43 workshop participants primarily representing local governments, planning and zoning boards, UDC members, and NPS management staff.

NPS Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Superintendent Sean J. McGuinness said that the 73.4-mile federally-protected river and 55,575.5 acres of land in the Congressionally-designated river corridor is both special and rare in that – unlike in a traditional national park – over 90% of the land remains privately owned.

One of the best pieces of advice McGuinness said he received when he began his duties here two years ago was, “Don’t tell everybody what they need to do.”

“That really changed my management philosophy,” he recalled. “It became more about, what can the Park Service do for you?”
“The key words are cooperation and partnership. The common cause is the river and our quality of life so we can pass this river along to future generations to enjoy. The point of this workshop today is: how can we work together in a more collaborative way?” McGuinness said.

Historical Perspective

George J. Fluhr, the UDC’s unofficial historian since its inception in 1988 and the official historian for Shohola Township and Pike County, PA, provided context to the 20-year struggle that led to the River Management Plan’s implementation.

It began with the U.S. Congress’s 1968 passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, continued when President Jimmy Carter signed the enabling legislation that added the Upper Delaware to that national system of protected rivers in 1978, and persevered through 18 drafts of the plan labored over by various entities until the cooperative management structure gained its hard-fought acceptance.