Documentary recalls Tocks Island

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:23

WESTFALL - A documentary made by five Delaware Valley High School students placed first at the recent National History Day competition on March 25 at the Wilkes-Barre Penn State campus. Competing against twelve others, the documentary received a perfect score from the panel of judges. The theme in this year’s contest was, “Taking a Stand in History: People, Ideas, Events.” Still regarded as very controversial, the Tocks Island dam project was the focus of the group’s film which concentrated on the stand the local community took against it. Interviews were conducted with local historians, influential people concerning the movement against the project, and local citizens most affected. The Tocks project itself was proposed in 1965 and called for the damming of the Delaware River six miles upstream from the Delaware Water Gap. The dam would have created a 40 mile long lake which would serve the purpose of recreational use and water supply. Over 23,000 acres was required by the dam project, and an additional 47,000 acres were set aside for a park area surrounding the dam. The resulting land acquisition, and the manner by which it was taken, outraged the community. Ultimately, due in part to the grass root efforts of local residents, the dam project failed. The land remained in the hands of the government and became the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The group of students, Ryan Balton, Donald Bickmann, Keith Fritschie, Brett Fuchs, and Nicholas Troiano, will present their documentary at state competition on May 10 and 11 for a chance to move on to national competition. The group plans to release an extended version of their documentary on DVD for the public to view. The existing film can viewed on the internet at