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Narrowsburg fireworks display cancelled


June 29, 2012

Update

NARROWSBURG, NY – Following an investigation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as cited in the story below, the Lava Fire Department, sponsor of the fireworks, has cancelled the 2012 fireworks display. Sources told The River Reporter the decision came after the department learned it could face penalties and fines if negative impacts occurred to the American bald eagle family, including two adults and three young, which nests in the Narrowsburg flats.

Federal regulations specify in the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines that Class B explosives, which include fireworks, should not be detonated within a half-mile of an active roost, or within one mile in the case of an open area such as the Delaware River.

Original story
An Independence Day dilemma; American icons at issue

A difficult discussion about the fate of two iconic American symbols is underway in the Town of Tusten. The dialogue is not new; in fact, various Tusten boards and at least three supervisors have weighed the issue of discharging Independence Day fireworks in proximity to an eagle nest built in the Narrowsburg flats, and all have continued to approve the practice by granting permission to the sponsoring parties.

It’s the same nest that tourists view through the binoculars installed on the town deck on Main Street. From this nest, an eagle fledgling was disturbed during last year’s fireworks display, ending up stranded on a spit of land below, where well-meaning canoeists unwittingly caused additional distress by paddling close to view the bird. Also from this nest, in 2009, another eaglet affected by the fireworks suffered a broken leg and had to be rehabilitated by the Delaware Valley Raptor Center (see www.riverreporter.com/issues/09-01-15/feature.html).

The incidents are ironic in a town dubbed the “Eagle Capital of New York State” in 2003 by Senator John Bonacic, which for 10 years celebrated the country’s national symbol with an annual EagleFest that brought more than 3,000 tourists to town.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) holds authority in the matter, and is currently conducting an investigation. The federal agency upholds the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines, which specify that such fireworks should not be detonated within a half-mile of an active roost, or within one mile in the case of an open area such as the Delaware River.