A statement from the publisher; reporting community stories
July 11, 2012 —
The River Reporter (TRR) has proudly served the Upper Delaware region for more than 35 years—investigating and reporting on vital community issues and fostering community dialogue. Often, we have covered issues related to land, water and wildlife, which have sparked passionate discussion, and we have published this discourse.
It is our distinct privilege to carry out this role in a community such as ours where people share a strong sense of place. Yet it is often a challenge, precisely because of these deeply rooted connections. Either way, it is our job to make the calls, assemble the details and write the story, which is what we did in covering the conflict of the Narrowsburg’s July 4th fireworks display and its resident eagle population.
The July 4th fireworks display has been a staple in Narrowsburg for as many years as people can remember. They are a beautiful and important part of the hamlet’s Independence Day tradition. Additionally, the July 4th celebration has been in flux for some time, and the fireworks have not been without their own troubles.
They were cancelled in 2000 when the Fireman’s Field Day was ended and in the past three years there have been three different organizations planning and executing the fireworks. (The Narrowsburg Fire Department through 2010; the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce in 2011; and the Lava Fire Department in 2012).
In 2009, after the Independence Day fireworks, an eaglet experienced a broken leg and required rehabilitation, coverage of which appeared in TRR. (The blast site had been moved from Firemen’s Field to the closer ballfield.) In 2011, an eaglet become separated from its nest and was grounded on a spit of land within the Big Eddy. At that time, TRR took photos and made press inquiries to various agencies, organizations and individuals responsible for planning the annual fireworks (at that time the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce). In addition, the issue of how to address such occurrences was raised several times at Tusten Town Board meetings.
In June, TRR followed up on those inquiries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)—the federal agency that holds regulatory authority on matters pertaining to eagles—conducted its own investigation. In response, the FWS made the Lava Fire Department aware of potential fines and penalties they could face if harm should come to the eagles. After weighing the options, the Lava Fire Department voted to cancel the 2012 fireworks display.