In the last two years, NJOA along with other organizations have been keeping a close eye on the unpopular proposal by the Sierra club of Pennsylvania and a small group of people to redesignate the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) as a national park. NJOA has written our federal and state legislators opposing this plan.   As we have stated previously, this proposal is unnecessary, will not generate more funding by the National Park Service, but will come with many downsides.  It will eliminate over 5,000 acres of currently hunted land in NJ, leading to more bear problems, will impede the ability to control deer when needed, and make any habitat or ecological management more difficult.  Fields along the river will no longer be available for pheasant stocking by NJ Fish and Wildlife. And as with other “national parks” fishing regulations may become more restrictive. 

Recently, the proposal has been revised and is even more vague! It attempts to hit all the politically popular buzz words. It proposes the creation of Lenape preserve and Lenape cultural center: but fails to mention that the Ramapough Munsee Lenape who once inhabited this region oppose such a plan. The proposal talks about increasing equity and inclusion; but fails to mention that less recreational opportunity will exist for all users under “park” designation. 

The proposal states that redesignation to “national park” will increase the “prestige” of DEWA and increase visitation and funding. However, local municipal and County administrations do not want more visitation which would worsen the current summer over-crowding. The proposal fails to mention that DEWA is already 27th in ranking among the 423 National Park Service units when it comes to funding, and receives more funds than many “national parks”.     

NJOA says “We don’t need no stinking Prestige! And we don’t need a redesignation!

Although redesignation is a federal matter and would require an act of Congress, our New Jersey State representatives in the 23rd and 24th districts have introduced a resolution as SR93 and AR133  opposing the redesignation. If the resolution passes, it will send a strong message to Congress that our Federal representatives who currently also oppose the redesignation can use.

So we urge you to use the link below to email or call your NJ representatives, let them know you oppose redesignating the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation as a national park, and urge them to vote in favor of SR93 and AR133. It only takes a few minutes.  You can use this map to find your representative:                                           Click on your district to be directed to your representative’s email and contact information.  

If you know your representative you may use the alphabetical list here:

Follow this link to see our prior and more comprehensive take on this issue.

Delaware Water Gap Park and Preserve Plan Would Reduce Recreational Opportunity and is Not Needed

These are the steps to reach your legislator

  1. Click here:
  2. Type in your town.
  3. Click on the blue pin. Your district should come up.
  4. Click “See District Details”
  5. Click on the first legislator.
  6. Click “Contact Your Legislator”.
  7. Select all your legislators.
  8. Fill out the form and paste the following or similar in the message.

I oppose redesignating the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation as a national park, and urge you to vote in favor of SR93 and AR133.

Larry Herrighty

Secretary, NJOA

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