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Upper Delaware Council Cites Fiscal Year 2023 Accomplishments

Photo: Paddlers participating in the Upper Delaware Council’s Aug. 6, 2023 Raft Trip launched from the Staircase Access in the Town of Lumberland on a six-mile trip to Matamoras, PA.

NARROWSBURG – The Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) has posted a 22-page Performance Progress Report for Federal Fiscal Year 2023 (October 1, 2022-September 30, 2023) under Publications at that is available to view or download.

The format observes a reporting standard to list initiatives and responsibilities that correspond with the tasks that comprise the non-profit organization’s Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service (NPS).

Highlights of the annual report include:

• A first-ever “Upper Delaware Council State and Federal Partnership Summit” was convened on 2/23/23 to draw attention to the unadjusted status of the 60% Federal cost-share and the failure by the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ever remit the 40% States’ shares of UDC operational funding outlined in the 1986 River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (RMP). The program and its follow-up meetings with elected officials, correspondence, exhibits, and publicity focused on the economic and environmental value of the UDC’s work after being created and mandated by an Act of Congress in 1988 to oversee the cooperative management partnership.

• On 9/18/23, the UDC issued an “Economic Impacts of Tourism Statistics” based on the most recent Visitor Spending Effects Report produced by the National Park Service and USGS. The 2022 data quantified that 270,718 visitors spent $13.5 million through recreational pursuits in the Upper Delaware gateway communities which supported 129 jobs in the tourism sector and generated $7 million in labor income. Accounting for $11.3 million worth of value-added income, the total economic output was $17.1 million.

• With the responsibility to review all relevant local plans, laws, and ordinances within river corridor boundaries of the UDC’s 13 member towns and townships for their substantial conformance to the Land and Water Use Guidelines of the RMP, the Council conducted 14 project reviews during FY 2023 to make recommendations when appropriate to the Secretary of the Interior. The NPS concurred with all but one of those recommendations by 9/30.

• The Special Use Permit application by Northgate Resorts to redevelop the Kittatinny Canoes Campground in Barryville into the approximately $45 million Camp FIMFO resort remained pending before the Town of Highland Planning Board lead agency throughout FY 23 as the UDC monitored ongoing activity and analyzed the NPS final determination of non-conformance issued on 7/17/23 which opposed the UDC’s 9/2/22 recommendation from the prior fiscal year.

• The UDC’s 35th Annual River Valley Awards took place on 9/10/23 at Central House Family Resort in Beach Lake, PA with 121 guests and a keynote address by U.S. Congressman Marcus J. Molinaro (NY-19). Honorees were recognized in 12 categories, with a tribute program and publicity done to amplify the good works.

• Since 1988, the UDC has awarded $930,274.50 to fund 262 projects by its member municipalities and their counties through its Technical Assistance Grants program. The board on 10/6/22 approved $8,662.50 to the Town of Tusten to integrate its zoning law updates into an online, indexed document, completed by 8/19/23.

• The UDC served on the Project Advisory Committee for the 1902 Skinners Falls, NY-Milanville, PA Bridge’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Study which will determine a repair, replace, or remove alternative; while also publicizing the capital construction, inspection reports, and maintenance plans for the 10 bridges under ownership of the New York-Pennsylvania Joint Interstate Bridge Commission.

• Resource protection and beautification efforts were the core mission of the UDC’s 3rd Annual Upper Delaware Litter Sweep held from 4/22-30/23, with a series of land-based volunteer clean-ups organized throughout all 15 NY towns and PA townships surrounding the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River through fundraising.

• Public river access developments involved activities at Highland, Long Eddy, Ten Mile River, and Callicoon.

• The Towns of Deerpark and Lumberland participated in the UDC’s 2023 River and Shoreline Clean-up Grants program for pollution control, being awarded a combined $7,040.13 to remove litter along a 2.9-mile section of the Hawk’s Nest area of the NYS Route 97 Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and for twice monthly summer trash collection patrols along the Town of Lumberland’s riverbanks, respectively.

• Maps in 24 x 36” frames depicting the 1978 Congressionally designated boundaries in each UDC member municipality were printed with assistance from the five county GIS departments and NPS, and presented as a UDC gift to local government officials to consult which parcels are located in the corridor.

• As a member of the NPS Water Safety Committee, the UDC actively assists in strategizing to create an effective river user education program, attended the 4/12 annual fishing guides meeting in Hancock, hosted the 4/21 Spring Water Safety Partners’ meeting and a first-ever 9/29 Post-Season meeting at the UDC office, distributed life jacket signs, arranged a 7/6 rangers’ presentation on river safety with statistics and tips, and promoted water safety through social media posts.

• The 35th Annual UDC Family Raft Trip on 8/6/23 attracted 95 public guests to paddle from Staircase Access in the Town of Lumberland to Matamoras in Westfall Township, with the UDC providing at-cost group discounts through Kittatinny Canoes to promote stewardship of the Upper Delaware River through recreation.

• “Running Free” was the theme of the 2023 Delaware River Sojourn on 6/16-23 which UDC staff helped plan and execute with guided paddling excursions, educational programs, and camping experiences.

• The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Minor Baseball League featured the UDC as the “Community Organization of the Game” on 8/1 at the PNC Field in Moosic, PA, with prime exhibit space on the concourse, an on-field interview, and UDC Town of Tusten Representative Evan Padua throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

• The UDC issued 39 news releases, published three issues of the “The Upper Delaware” newsletter circulated to 8,000+ recipients, regularly updated its website and social media platforms, arranged and uploaded public informational presentations at the top of nearly every monthly Council meeting, and exhibited at numerous festivals, events, and presentation opportunities for educational outreach.

• Advocacy was provided through letters supporting various grant applications; staff liaison participation on committees or in seminars with scientific, conservation, historical, economic, and cultural goals aligning with the RMP; and membership in the Alliance for the Upper Delaware River Watershed.

• Threatened and endangered species, and mitigation of invasive species, are reported on regularly, with Northern Snakehead fish, Knotweed plants, and Spotted Lanternfly insects being of noteworthy relevance during FY 23.

• A joint UDC/NPS Telecommunications Subcommittee scheduled monthly work sessions, as available, to evaluate the viability of better emergency communications within the river corridor through research, presentations, and sharing resources.

• The UDC arranged several public presentations associated with the 6/28/23 announcement by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection that they would delay the repairs of the Delaware Aqueduct leaks by one year to October 2024 as well as reporting on the Fall 2023 dewatering exercise.

• On 1/4/23, the UDC received the single largest private donation in its history of $10,000 in memory of Robert Cella of Barryville, NY and in honor of UDC 2023 Chairperson Aaron Robinson of Shohola Township, PA, which provided the seed money to open a brokerage account for investment of UDC unrestricted funds.

Further details of these initiatives and other accomplishments can be found in the UDC’s annual report. To request a print or electronic copy, please contact (845) 252-3022 or


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