Water Gap expansion,national park-preserve status sought

| 02 May 2012 | 11:26

DINGMAN — Township supervisors are considering a Sierra Club plan to upgrade the environmental protection for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Tuesday.

The club reportedly is heading an initiative to re-designate the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as a National Park and Preserve. Judging from informal conversation among the supervisors prior to their May 1 meeting, they were not happy about it.

Bits of documentation appearing Tuesday included an undated, proposal on Sierra Club stationery for DWG "National Park And Preserve" and a June 2011 Pocono Record story, which in part incorporated proposals from Sierra Club's Activist Network.

Some of same references appear on the web page of N.J. Sierra Club Chapter, Skylands Group.

The Activist Network proposal suggested a proposal to Congress which would "upgrade and expand 66,740-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to a 265,000-acre national park and preserve, encompassing adjacent federal and state lands, as well as key connecting private lands."

It would include acreage on both sides of the Delaware River and protect the area "threatened by the impacts of hyfraulic fracturing, gas and transmission lines, and suburban sprawl."

The news story quoted John Kashwick, the wildlands issues coordinator for the Sierra Club’s New Jersey Chapter, referencing the above mentioned threats to the park. He sought a means to best protect the park.

On a copy given the press, n Supervisor Dennis Brink had highlighted the proposal passage referencing park acquisition of privately owned land. That could recall memories of the controversial 1960s federal land condemnations for the failed Tocks Island Dam project. Those lands eventually became the recreation area.

Supervisor's Chair Tom Mincer was concerned of its impact on the township and said, “A good portion of the area goes through Dingman Township. No trucks with lettering will be allowed to use 209 so even a small contractor would be affected by the change to a national park.”

Meet with DEP Secretary Township Code Enforcement Officer Chris Wood recently attended a local gathering with the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer.

It was billed as an opportunity to discuss the excessive burden Chapter 102 is having on the region. The meeting turned out to be much less than expected.

Chapter 102 was amended became effective in November, 2010 and deals with erosion and sediment control and post construction storm water management.

Wood said, “DEP Secretary Krancer failed to answer any of the questions; often delving into subjects that were not remotely related to the issues at hand... The meeting was a farce,”

Wood said the rules contained in Chapter 102 impact Wayne, Pike, and Monroe counties but do not apply to the rest of the state. “It is apparent Pike County can expect no action from the current administration to relieve our citizens of the excessive burden placed upon them by Chapter 102,”

In other business In other business the township burning ban was lifted after Township Fire Chief Bill Mikulak gave his approval. Township Secretary Karen Kleist said they receive dozens of calls a day from township residents as to when the burn ban will be ended.

M&S Sanitation asked for and received a 90 day time extension for their land development application. M&S is planning to use the property on state Route 6 formally occupied by Eco Scientific to house their business operation and for storage of empty garbage containers, trucks, and other equipment. There would be no storage of any kind of garbage.

Mincer reported he had been in Harrisburg last month and was sorry he missed the last meeting of the supervisors. He had met with representatives from state offices and thanked them for the grant money given to Dingman. “We keep a good connection with Harrisburg as we are the largest township in Pike County and always are in need of extra funding.”

—Jerry Goldberg and David Hulse