The Sierra Club of New Jersey, along with the Sierra Club of Pennsylvania, is trying to get the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area designated as a national park.

According to NJSpotlight.com, there is not currently a national park in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, even though 60 million people live within a three hour drive of the Delaware Water Gap.  It is one of the most popular national attractions, drawing over 4 million people last year.

This will be the second attempt to get national park status for the Delaware Water Gap; about ten years ago, the effort was derailed when an agreement couldn’t be reached with local hunters. Hunting is prohibited within national parks. This time, a carve out within the park is planned to be available for hunters. According to NJSpotlight.com, the nation’s newest national park in West Virginia designated part of it as a national recreation area, where hunting is allowed.

Achieving national park status would benefit the park in a couple of ways: national parks are eligible for infrastructure improvements that they don’t currently qualify for, and national parks are move popular with the public, increasing attendance just due to the added prestige of being added to the national park system.

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is made up of over 70,000 acres, spanning both sides of the river in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

There are currently 63 national parks designed to preserve natural and cultural resources. Congressional authorization is needed to designate land as a national park.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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