July 11, 2012 —
I am sure we are all equally saddened by the cancellation of the fireworks. I have lived in Tusten all of my life and grew up attending the Narrowsburg Fire Departments festivities that included a parade, a field day with all the trimmings of a large fair, chicken BBQ and the crowning jewel of the fireworks display. “The thing to do since 1902."
I can remember walking Big Bend with my Dad who would collect donations for the event in his fireman’s hat. As children, we enjoyed the festivities with no responsibility, but as I grew, I began to volunteer with whatever my parents tasked me with and as an adult have helped serve the chicken barbeque on many occasions.
Unfortunately, largely due to economical decisions made by carnival companies and the lack of volunteers, the field day no longer is part of our Independence Day celebrations. Yet we still can enjoy the parade, BBQ and fireworks, that is until this year. ..
I can only say that I wish, as I am sure that you do, the responsible party had questioned the DEC & US Fish and Wildlife earlier as well as the organizers of the event. If it had been even a few months ago, we could have all worked together to come to a solution to enjoy the fireworks this year. Unfortunately that was not our situation.
We had a minuscule time frame in which to work. However, the Lava Fire Dept. was responsible and abided by the law that states: 4. Do not use explosives within liz mile (or within 1 mile in open areas) of communal roosts when eagles are congregating, without prior coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Seroice and your state wildlife agency. The National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines can be found at: http://www.fws.gov  Imigratorybirds/CurrentBirdIssues/Management/BaldEagle/N ationalBaldEagleManagementGuidelines. pdf
We need to capitalize on the fact that this brought Narrowsburg national coverage, even if that was negative, we need to take this and make something positive out of it. Let’s all work together toward a positive solution for the future.
A different time of year or preferably a different location than the current one needs to be found if fireworks are to be displayed around Independence Day. I as Supervisor am committed to assisting in any way that I can to see that this does not happen again and that we don’t lose our more than 100 year old tradition. The eagles are an important national icon as well as a symbol of our town now known as the Bald Eagle Capital of NYS.
Residents lost a longstanding tradition this year and businesses lost a considerable amount of revenue last week, but without the eagles here we all stand to lose more. This revenue is tourist dollars that help to offset your taxes. Narrowsburg has become a destination for eagle lovers and birdwatchers of all types; we need to work with the eagles and the government entities that have jurisdiction over them and the laws that protect them. Please lend your assistance in any way you can to create a positive outcome from this situation.
Carol Ropke Wingert, Supervisor
[The letter was read at the Tusten Town Board meeting on July 9, 2012.]