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Delaware River Water Trail - News

Delaware River Water Trail: Pennsylvania River of the Year 2011

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NJDEP to close Bulls Island Campground

From NJ Department of Environmental Protection

 

PARKS AND FORESTRY PERMANENTLY CLOSES UPPER RIVER CAMPGROUND

AT BULL’S ISLAND RECREATION AREA

 

(12/P26) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Parks and Forestry has decided to permanently close the upper river campground at Bull's Island Recreational Area along the Delaware River in Hunterdon County. The division will remove weakened trees in restoring the campground to a natural state.

A tree health assessment found that the upper campground is susceptible to silt buildup from repeated floods that weakened roots of trees in this area.

 

“Based on this examination and more frequent flooding, we determined that the prudent course is to permanently close the upper river campground area and restore it to a natural state,” said Amy Cradic, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources

 

Parks and Forestry will ultimately reopen this area for passive recreation only, when deemed safe for public access.

 

The down river campground will be closed this season to allow for further tree risk assessment. Day use activities in the lower river section of the recreation area, including the boat ramp and picnic area, will remain open.

The Division of Parks and Forestry may reopen the down river campground next season, if deemed appropriate to do so. Meantime, the division is evaluating acquisition of land away from the river for a new campground to replace the sites lost by the permanent closure of the upper campground.

 

The DEP conducted a tree health assessment after a Somerset County man died when a sycamore tree fell on his tent in the upper river portion of the campground in June 2011. A DEP contractor found that repeated flooding caused an accumulation of soil around the bases of the trees, which may have stressed the trees’ root systems.

 

Significant amounts of storm debris remain in the area following the passage of Hurricane Irene last August. After removing this debris, standing trees, and other vegetation, the Division of Parks and Forestry will replant the area with tree species adapted to areas that are frequently flooded and which grow slowly.

 

Campground access roads will not be rebuilt and the bath house and other campground features will be removed. Public access will be restored for passive recreation only. DEP also will contact universities in the state about partnering on a long-term landscape restoration plan.

 

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Pennsylvanians Choose Delaware as 2011 River of the Year

The people have spoken: the Delaware River is Pennsylvania's River of the Year for 2011.

 

Chosen for the first time through a public vote, the Delaware bested five other candidates in an online contest that saw more than 10,000 ballots cast from across the state. The Delaware received 2,520 votes.

 

The five other finalists were: Clarion River, Conewango Creek, Kiskiminetas River, Pine Creek, and the Stonycreek River.

 

DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.

 

POWR helps train and organize local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

 

"The Delaware River is simply an incredible resource—not just for Pennsylvania, but for the nation as a whole," said POWR Executive Director Jon Meade. "To honor it with the River of the Year award reflects the importance of preservation to those who live near it and experience it every day."

 

There are a number of organizations that work in partnership to support conservation and recreation activities along the Delaware, including: the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC); Delaware Canal State Park; National Canoe Safety Patrol; National Park Service; and Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition.

 

These groups will organize several events throughout the year, including the 17th annual Sojourn paddling trip, a symposium, photo contest and river legacy fundraiser. The eight-day sojourn will include educational programs, and give paddlers a chance to experience the Delaware River to encourage greater understanding of the river and stewardship needs.

 

"On behalf of the steering committee and all our partners, I would like to thank everyone who voted for the Delaware. Having the Delaware be Pennsylvania's 2011 River of the Year is truly an honor, especially since it is the people's choice and with this the DRBC's 50th Anniversary year," said Kate O'Hara, co-coordinator of the Delaware Sojourn Steering Committee. "This designation will not only showcase the Delaware and all it has to offer, but also highlight the numerous organizations, agencies, and individual volunteers who work together to protect and enhance the river for future generations."

 

The Delaware also will be celebrated with an annual Rivers Month poster issued in June.

 

Pennsylvania's River of the Year has been presented annually since 1983