a series of short cascading falls along side large flat boulders

David B. Soete

Letter-Writing Campaign

The Upper Delaware Council has been subsisting on $300,000 annually from the federal government, a value which has remained the same since 1988 (adjusted for inflation, that number would be $769,568 today). New York and Pennsylvania have not contributed their share of the original $500,000 budget at any point in the UDC's 35-year history.

The UDC continues to attempt to obtain funding from New York and Pennsylvania, and an increase in funding from the federal government. In addition to other strategies, UDC Chairperson Aaron Robinson is encouraging members, supporters, and friends of the UDC to write to their state and/or federal representatives to express their thoughts about the UDC's funding situation. Please feel free to use this information to help draft a letter for our support. The information provided on this page is also available in downloadable Word documents:

UDC Funding Issue Fact Sheet>>

Upper Delaware Political Representatives>>


Delaware River on a clear summer day

Upper Delaware Coucil Funding Issue Fact Sheet


  • The Upper Delaware Council (UDC) is established through 1978 Congressional enabling legislation (P.L. 95-625, Sections 704 B-J) to oversee the federal-state-local partnership that cooperatively administers the River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (RMP, adopted Nov. 1986 by the Conference of Upper Delaware Townships as the predecessor to the UDC).
  • The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor encompasses 55,574.5 acres of predominantly private property located within 15 municipalities, five counties, and two states bordering 73.4 miles of the National Wild and Scenic River that extends from the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Delaware River at Hancock downstream to Railroad Bridge No. 2 in Mill Rift, PA.
  • The Secretary of the Interior approves the final RMP on 9/29/1987. Upon Congressional review, the plan becomes effective and binding on the U.S. Department of the Interior as of 1/4/1988. Through negotiation, the National Park Service role is largely limited to recreation manager, minor landowner (124 acres), interpretation of resources, and assistance to local governments for resource protection.
  • The UDC is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on 2/18/1988 as a 501(c)(3) organization, with a Certificate of Authority to do business in New York State.
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issues Executive Order No. 1989-2 on 2/16/1989 (now PA Code Subchapter MM) and New York State issues Executive Order No. 169 (reaffirmed annually) on 3/22/1993, directing state agencies to act consistently with the RMP. Each state is an active voting member of the Council (currently 15 with 8 NY towns, 5 PA townships, NY & PA included).
  • The RMP outlines a 60% federal/40% cost-sharing ratio with a $500,000 budget and five full-time staff positions with consultants to operate the organization. The Federal direct contribution will be $300,000. Each member state would contribute $100,000. Town/ships provide in-kind services as they implement the Land and Water Use Guidelines and participate as members of the Council. (RMP, pg. 144-145)
  • Federal funding comes through a Cooperative Agreement (CA) between the U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service and the UDC as a line-item appropriation in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River’s budget. The five-year renewable CA is a contract to perform specific functions centered on the review of laws, plans, and ordinances against the Land and Water Use Guidelines.



  • “The purpose of the Upper Delaware Council is to ensure the effective implementation of the plan and oversee its administration on a continuing basis, utilizing the existing authority of its members who will work together in the cooperative fashion envisioned by P.O. 90-542 as amended by Section 704 of P.L. 95-625. The Council must be the driving force behind this plan; it must maintain an active presence in the river valley, and it must be the primary entity through which local, state, and federal agencies resolve their differences and agree upon joint actions affecting the river valley.” (RMP, pg. 19).
  • Public Outreach Statement adopted 6/2/2022: “The Upper Delaware Council was created and mandated in 1988 by an Act of Congress. It oversees a partnership of Federal, two States, and local governments to manage the 73.4-mile designated Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. The UDC fills a vital role in the relationship between the National Park Service and the local communities, protecting home rule authority, safeguarding private property rights, and advising towns/townships on meeting the River Management Plan Land and Water Use Guidelines. The organization has been funded through a federal allocation, flat since its inception, with neither the State of New York nor the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contributing their shares. Despite funding challenges, the UDC has fulfilled its core responsibilities set out in the federal legislation for the benefit of the approximately 250,000 visitors each year and all those fortunate enough to live in the Upper Delaware River Valley.”


The Problem:

  • While the federal government has met its funding commitment, its $300,000 appropriation has remained flat since 1988. If adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, that $300,000 would be worth $769,568 in real dollars. Instead, its purchasing power is $116,645.
  • Neither New York State nor the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has ever contributed their 20% shares of the UDC budget that the RMP anticipated, which has compelled the UDC to function on 60% of intended income. During federal funding delays or government shutdowns, the UDC has no other income source.
  • The UDC has been understaffed from its inception with 4 full-time employees; in 2012, however, staffing decreased to 3 with limited, non-competitive wages yet no corresponding decrease in the Council’s responsibilities to manage approximately 80 assigned tasks in the River Management Plan.
  • As per a fiscal sustainability plan commissioned from an environmental economist, the UDC will be forced to eliminate another full-time position (down to 2) in approximately five years under the current trend. (“A Sustainable Business Model for the Upper Delaware Council”, Crane and Associates, 12/9/21)
  • The enabling legislation did not formalize the mechanism to adequately fund and staff the UDC or provide for automatic inflationary adjustments. No carry-over funds are allowed across fiscal years.
  • Funding the UDC as a line item in the Upper Delaware unit’s budget makes it a direct competitor to the National Park Services’ use of those funds, while the watchdog role that the UDC holds to monitor against any federal overregulation is potentially compromised by this beneficiary-recipient system.
  • Repetitive, time-consuming appeals to achieve equitable funding stability detracts from the UDC’s ability to thrive and increase its value to its membership and constituency, such as increasing its grant programs, providing more technical assistance, and initiating educational and resource-oriented projects.
  • Should the UDC become dysfunctional, the entire structure of the hard-fought cooperative management model that has a proven, successful 35-year track record is at risk.


Potential Solutions:

  • Seek permanent line-item appropriations in the New York State and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania budgets to provide operational support for the ecosystem services that the UDC fulfills for the Upper Delaware River, and in light of the beneficial sales tax revenue and investment impacts from tourism bolstered by the UDC’s conservation work. In 2021, 269,810 visitors spent $13.3 million in recreational dollars, supporting a total of 128 jobs and generating $6.9 million in labor income. Overall economic output was $16.8 million. (2021 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report)
  • If the states fail to recognize any obligation to meet their 20% shares, fund the UDC exclusively at the federal level through a direct, line-item appropriation by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Build in an annual inflationary index. Set the initial appropriation at the $500,000 enumerated in the RMP, adjusted for the 35-year CPIU rate of change. From January 1988 to January 2023, this value is $1,292,870.


Upper Delaware Political Representatives

(as of May 5, 2023)

Upper Delaware Corridor Elected Officials Mailings


Federal Senators and Representatives – District Offices and Website Contact Links


New York State Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

15 Henry St., Room 100 A-F

Binghamton, NY 13901



U.S. Senator John Fetterman

320 Market St., Suite 475E

Harrisburg, PA 17101



U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

780 Third Ave., Suite 2601

New York, NY 10017



U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

417 Lackawanna Ave., Suite 303

Scranton, PA 18503



U.S. Congressman Marcus J. Molinaro

19th District Office (Sullivan & Delaware Counties)

49 Court St., Suite 210

Binghamton, NY 13901



U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright

8th District Office (Wayne & Pike Counties)

8 Silk Mill Dr., Suite 213

Hawley, PA 18428



U.S. Congressman Patrick Ryan

18th District Office (Orange County portion)

256 Clinton Ave.,

Kingston, NY 12401





State Governors, Senators, Representatives, and Assembly Members


New York State Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Governor Kathy Hochul

New York State Capital Building

Albany, NY 12224



Governor Josh Shapiro

Room 508 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120


Senator Peter Oberacker

51st District (Hancock, Fremont, Delaware, Cochecton, Tusten, Highland, Lumberland)

41 South Main St.

Oneonta, NY 12247



Senator Lisa Baker

20th District (Wayne & Pike County townships)

2512 Route 6, Suite 3

Hawley, PA 18428



Senator James Skoufis

42nd District (Town of Deerpark)

47 Grand St.

Newburgh, NY 12550



Representative Jonathan Fritz

111th District (Damascus, Berlin, Manchester, Buckingham Townships)

32 Commercial St., Suite 300

Honesdale, PA 18431



Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther

100th District (Delaware, Cochecton, Tusten, Highland, Lumberland)

18 Anawana Lake Road

Monticello, NY 12701



Representative Joe Adams

139th District (Lackawaxen, Shohola & Westfall Townships)

2523 Route 6, Suite 2

Hawley, PA 18428



Assemblyman Joseph Angelino

121st District (Fremont and Hancock)

1 Kattelville Road, Suite 1

Binghamton, NY 13901



Assemblyman Karl Brabenec

98th District (Town of Deerpark)

28 North Main St., Suite 2

Florida, NY 10921





(NYS Assembly currently subject to redistricting proposal)

railroad overlook of the Delaware River in the fall