UDC & NPS Host Workshop On River Management Plan
The Secretary of the Interior through the National Park Service, Upper Delaware Council, State of New York and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Delaware River Basin Commission, counties, towns and townships, private sector and non-profit organizations, and other federal agencies are all assigned certain tasks to meet the objectives of eight programs for Land Management, Water Resources Management, Fisheries and Wildlife, Threatened and Endangered Species, Unique Land Resources, Cultural Resources Management, Facilities, and Water Use.
Hahn referred to the booklets as “CliffsNotes ™ versions of the River Management Plan” that the partners should routinely consult to refresh themselves on their responsibilities.
“This seems scary but it isn’t,” George J. Fluhr commented. “In 25 years, we haven’t had any major problems. This is a very workable system.”
Hahn said that NPS and UDC would be willing to do a “road show” of visiting local boards to provide them with a condensed version of this information.
Facts and Fables
UDC Acting Executive Director Laurie Ramie took a humorous approach to address five common misperceptions that exist in the river valley.
She explained that a few were rooted in legitimate fear of the unknown about what the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River designation would signify for this area, while others reflect a need for more public education about the UDC and NPS.
The five fables presented on individual pages of a flip chart were:
1. The Park Service is out to take over our land.
2. The Park Service will tell me what color I can paint my house, where I can build on my property, and whether I can cut down trees on my lawn.
3. A municipality gives up some rights by joining the UDC.
4. Isn’t the UDC just a front for the National Park Service?
5. The UDC is “just another layer of government”.
In countering each of the fables with a few factual points, Ramie said that a common theme was to ascribe more authority to the NPS and UDC than they actually possess.
The Park Service’s jurisdiction is detailed in the enabling legislation and RMP, such as the 124-acre limit on owning land; although since NPS began its operations in 1979, they have acquired just 30.74 acres of property for their facilities. Eminent domain may only be invoked to head off a proposed action that poses a clear and direct threat to the river, and only after following a series of steps specified in the Plan. Any property acquired would have to be put back on the market for sale to a private owner.