Pike Planners Critique 15-Year DEWA Blueprint
SHOHOLA — Pike County Planning Commission members and Mike Mrozinski, the director of planning from the County Office of Community Planning, agreed to develop a rebuttal to a proposed Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) Visitor Use Management Plan that would drive park use over the next 15 years. The discussion took place at this month’s regular commission meeting held at county offices at Shohola Commercial Plaza on Route 6 in Shohola Township.
Board member Bob Cocchi chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairperson Georgene Snyder. Mrozinski briefed the board on DEWA’s plan and their scheduled series of public meetings between Sept. 8 and Oct. 9 designed to solicit public feedback on the draft plan disseminated by DEWA Superintendent John Donahue.
Commission Director Dick Gross shared his personal sticking points about the plan. He shared his concerns with the board and said that also submitted them orally and in writing to DEWA at a recent DEWA public-comment workshop. DEWA is encouraging the public to suggest additional possible strategies to the ones already proposed, to express concerns, and to make comments.
Gross said, “I have traveled around the country visiting many parks [in the National Park Service system]. DEWA is by far the poorest example of American Disabilities Act handicapped access.” Mrozinski said that having a loop trail is one of the suggestions on the current plan proposal that he thinks is excellent. Now, all trails are virtually straight lines. According to Mrozinski, adding one or more loop trails, especially short ones, might give hikers more options, such as access to more other natural features, and improve the overall visitor experience. A handicapped loop trail would meet ADA standards and diversify the visitor population.
On hunting, Gross said, “John Donahue objected to my comment that if he turns DEWA into a national park [from the current national recreation area] hunters could no longer be allowed to hunt [in DEWA]. A 1982 federal legislation settled the issue that hunting is not allowed in a national park. I was a party to that discussion at the federal level.”
Gross said that hunters are an important contributor to the Pennsylvania economy each year and DEWA is a popular hunter destination. Gross also said that he wants DEWA to improve public access to the Delaware River, which he indicated is by far the park’s greatest attraction... for complete story, get this week's issue.