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Delaware River Interstate Water Trail Launched At Washington Crossing Kick-Off Event

For Immediate Release

April 20, 2007

(WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa.)  -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) joined its federal, state, and nonprofit organization partners at an event held today along the Delaware River at Washington Crossing Historic Park to focus attention on the river as an Interstate Water Trail.  It also featured the release of the newly completed, free water trail guide along with updated recreation maps which are now available for sale to the public.

Speakers included Acting Administrator for the Historic Park Doug Miller, Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP) Executive Director Celeste Tracy, American Canoe Association (ACA) Executive Director Pamela Dillon, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner for Natural Resources John S. Watson, Jr., Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Safety Officer Dan Martin, National Park Service (NPS) Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Superintendent Dave Forney, NPS Northeast Region Recreation and Conservation Assistance Manager Joe DiBello, and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Director Cindy Adams Dunn.  Ms. Dunn also presented DRGP with a grant award for $45,000 for continued outreach and a signage program for the water trail. 

Representatives from several U.S. Congressional offices also gave remarks and included Leslie Potter for the Hon. Rush Holt (N.J.-12), Doug Platz for the Hon. Patrick Murphy (Pa.-8), and Ed Zygmunt for the Hon. Christopher Carney (Pa.-10).  Eighth-grade students from FDR Middle School (Bristol, Pa.), who are members of its Youth Organized for Disaster Action (YODA) Team, officially presented the water trail guides and recreation maps to the group.  DRBC Secretary Pamela Bush, who also serves as DRGP President and is an integral member of the steering committee, played the role of master of ceremonies. 

The partners organized this event around Earth Day, April 22, as a way to introduce the water trail, which emphasizes the river’s importance as a recreational resource, source of drinking water for millions, and vital habitat for wildlife.  The interstate water trail also demonstrates its value and ability to connect non-tidal river communities in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey to one another and our shared landscape.

The water trail project’s main objective is to provide newcomers and existing recreational users alike with new tools and sources of information that will make for a safer and more enjoyable river experience, while reducing potential negative impacts on water quality, wildlife, riparian habitat, and public and private property.  The Leave No Trace stewardship program, an international program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with decisions on how to reduce their impacts on the environment, is essential to implementing the latter portion of this objective, and is prominently displayed on both the water trail guides and recreation maps.

The Delaware River Water Trail Project began in 2002 when DRGP received a Community Partnerships Program grant from DCNR to prepare a Delaware River Water Trail Concept Plan and Implementation Recommendations.  The steering committee included representatives from the DRBC, DRGP, DCNR, PFBC, ACA, NPS Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, NPS Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, and the Delaware and Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor.  These partners helped steer the formation of the Concept Plan and the water trail guide, a folded double-sided poster that depicts a general map of the non-tidal Delaware River from Hancock, N.Y. to Trenton, N.J. and also briefly describes its history, resources, and amenities.  An interactive web site designed to highlight the guide and provide current updates on river conditions and river-related activities will be unveiled at a later date.

The DRBC concurrently produced an updated reprint of its popular recreation maps which includes additional sections of the Delaware River than the previous 1991 version.  This 10-section, GIS-based, waterproofed map set covers portions of the river’s east and west branches upstream of Hancock, the entire 200-mile non-tidal reach of the main stem river, and an additional 25 miles of the tidal river downstream of Trenton to Northeast Philadelphia and Pennsauken, N.J.

Three-quarters of the non-tidal Delaware River, which stretches from Hancock to Trenton, has been included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Delaware is a great shared resource and it is hoped the water trail will help to promote it as such, preserve its habitat, and help to bring people together around the common goal of protecting it for the enjoyment of existing and future generations.

For information on how to order the recreation maps, please visit DRBC’s web site at www.drbc.net.  A portion of the proceeds from the $25 sale of the recreation maps will help fund the commission’s educational/outreach programs and activities.


Contact: Kate O'Hara, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 205, katharine.o'hara@drbc.state.nj.us