Statement from Bob Eriksen, certified Wildlife Biologist
This document clearly states the negative impact of this park designation on wildlife habitat management or treatment of invasive plant species, as well as other important issues.
Hi Cristina and Sandy:
Thanks for all you are doing to resist the re-designation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) as a National Park and Preserve. The Sportsmen's Alliance out of Columbus, Ohio sent a release to their members regarding this action from which members could send a pre-written letter or email to legislators. I hope many take advantage of that. A few weeks ago I was involved in a Zoom meeting along with representatives of the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, The New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, New Jersey Division of Fish and WIldlife, Warren County Board of Agriculture, New Jersey Chapter of the National WIld Turkey Federation, the Sierra Clubs of PA and Nj and former DEWA Superintendent Donahue. The participants pointed out a number of flaws in the reasoning in support of re-designation. Following the Zoom conference there has been no follow-up from the proponents of re-designation.
What other townships have or are considering resolutions indicating a lack of support for the concept? One of the arguments I use concerns the difficulty of accomplishing any active wildlife habitat management or treatment of invasive plant species. It's already hard to accomplish because of federal regulations, permits and the snail's pace of approvals. Under the park and preserve scenario it will be nearly impossible. At least three species of birds that breed here are on the cusp of endangered species status. There are bog turtles and wood turtles found on DEWA lands. All of those species benefit from active wildlife habitat management. Of course then there is the issue of loss of hunting and angling opportunity. There are already parts of DEWA where those activities are limited because of special use (Peters Valley. Watergate, Millbrook Village etc.) but I guarantee there would be a net loss of at least ten percent of huntable lands under re-designation. The agricultural use of the area would undergo losses and the push for additional parking, visitor centers, trails and rest rooms would further erode wildlife habitat.
Bob Eriksen M.S.Certified Wildlife Biologist, TWS NRCS Technical Service Provider 27 Canterbury Road Phillipsburg, NJ 08865