A ‘new day’ for Upper Delaware Council

A new NPS superintendent, a new relationship

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 1/13/21

NARROWSBURG, NY — Wearing a sweatshirt and a backward, long-brimmed baseball cap, newly installed Upper Delaware National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Joe Salvatore was the picture of a …

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A ‘new day’ for Upper Delaware Council

A new NPS superintendent, a new relationship

Posted

NARROWSBURG, NY — Wearing a sweatshirt and a backward, long-brimmed baseball cap, newly installed Upper Delaware National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Joe Salvatore was the picture of a down-to-earth manager at the Upper Delaware Council’s (UDC) January 7 Zoom meeting. In appearance, at least, he is a stark contrast to his predecessor, who never appeared at a UDC meeting without full NPS uniform.

Salvatore had met earlier in the day with UDC chief executive officer Laurie Ramie, a meeting that both of them characterized as productive, and earlier still with newly elected UDC chair Jeff Dexter and Damascus Township Supervisor Steve Adams. From those meetings, he said he had gained insight, as well as background information, into understanding the intricate partnership between the UDC and the NPS.

That he meant what he said was obvious when he inadvertently referred to the Upper Delaware as “the park.” Quickly correcting himself, he noted that he is fully aware that he is not in charge of a national park in the usual sense. He understands that this is a unique situation with unique challenges.

More than that, he is acutely aware of the UDC’s biggest, most imminent and most persistent challenge: the need for timely, adequate funding. He seems ideally equipped to pursue the $300,000 annual federal funding supplied to the UDC through the NPS. A lifetime spent working for and with the federal government, first in the U.S. Navy, then as a private defense contractor, and now as a federal government manager has taught him how to navigate the federal bureaucracy with relative ease and efficiency.

“I promise to cut as much red tape as I can without sacrificing my job,” said Salvatore, in response to Ramie’s concerns about the complexities of a new funding payment system that threatens to further delay much-needed UDC funding. “And I’ve instructed our administrative officer to make speedy processing of the UDC funding request a top priority.”

Former UDC chair Larry Richardson remarked that, in his more than 30 years with the UDC, he’s found that each new NPS superintendent’s tenure has brought with it “a new beginning for the UDC.”

UDC officers for 2021 were elected by electronic ballot from a slate presented by a nominating committee at the council’s December meeting. In addition to chair Dexter, Tusten representative Susan Sullivan was elected vice chair, and Berlin representative Al Henry retained another term as secretary-treasurer. (Read their bios at www.riverreporter.com/news.)

Resources and land use specialist Shannon Cilento announced a virtual film premiere invitation for local municipal officials, community advocates, residents and the general public for Monday, January 25. In addition to making Project Review Guide 2.0 more user friendly, the video presentation and interactive Q&A session that follows it will provide 1.5 continuing education credits to planning and zoning board members who attend. Two identical, approximately 90-minute sessions will be held, one at 3 p.m. and the other at 5:30 p.m.

Participants will learn about the UDC and NPS Substantial Conformance Review process, about the land use and water guidelines underpinning that process, and how to use the new workbook and forms. Cilento and NPS Community Planner Cody Hendrix will introduce the 45-minute video and answer questions afterward.

To register for the 3 p.m. session, visit www.bit.ly/udc3pm02. To register for the 5:30 p.m. session, visit www.bit.ly/udc530pm. Contact Shannon Cilento at 845/252-3022 or shannon@upperdelaware
council.org for more information.

Although marred by connectivity problems, a virtual presentation, “Upper Delaware River Geologic Resource Mapping,” by James Leone of the New York State Museum & Geological Survey, held before the January 7 meeting’s start, traced the Delaware River’s origins back more than 25,000 years.

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