Donations Keep Kittatinny Point Open This Summer
Superintendent John J. Donahue announced today that a consortium of five local canoe livery operators and the PSEG Foundation—a philanthropic arm of the New Jersey-based utility company Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) and their parent company Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)- have generously provided a combined donation of $70,000 to reopen Kittatinny Point, a popular visitor destination located off Interstate 80 on the New Jersey side of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The donations of $50,000 from PSEG Foundation and $20,000 from the liveries will keep the grounds at Kittatinny Point, including the canoe access, picnic area, parking lot, and restrooms, open for the summer season. The visitor center will remain closed.
Initially slated to be closed as a result of sequestration, Kittatinny Point is one of the most popular sites in the nearly 70,000 acre national park unit. It provides access to some of the area’s best hiking trails, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail which passes through the recreation area, and to the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River. The grounds also boast some of the best views of the iconic geologic feature after which the park is named, the Delaware Water Gap. Due to its proximity to Interstate 80, Kittatinny Point is a prime location for visitors who seek easy access to nature and the great outdoors.
When officials from the PSEG Foundation learned that Kittatinny Point would be closed, they contacted the National Park Service (NPS) and Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC), a park partner and residential environmental education center located within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, to discuss how they might help. “PSEG is pleased to make this donation to the Pocono Environmental Education Center to help keep Kittatinny Point open and usable to the public this summer,” said Ellen Lambert, President of the PSEG Foundation. “The company continually looks for opportunities to support the communities in which we are working. We strive to not only have minimal impact on the communities, but also work to help make them better. Providing funding to help keep the park open fits perfectly with our mission.” PEEC will work with the NPS to ensure that the donated funds are directed to the operation of Kittatinny Point.
PEEC’s Executive Director Jeffrey Rosalsky also commented, “We are fortunate to have a national park and the Delaware River as a vast outdoor classroom for our environmental education programs which promote connections to nature. PEEC’s forty-year partnership with the park is more vital than ever and we are pleased to be able to work with the PSEG Foundation and the NPS to restore access to an important part of the park.” PEEC is a not-for-profit organization located within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area whose mission is to advance environmental education, sustainable living, and appreciation of nature through hands-on experiences in a national park.
Additionally, a group of local canoe livery operators spearheaded by group spokesperson David Jacobi of Adventure Sports contacted the park in an effort to find a solution that would allow Kittatinny Point to remain open this season. The closure of Kittatinny Point’s canoe access would have had significant negative impacts on the canoe livery businesses, potentially reducing their revenues by up to fifty percent. Carl Wilgus, Director of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau, and Pennsylvania State Representative Rosemary Brown helped to coordinate discussions between affected livery operators and the NPS.
The five liveries that were able to contribute funds to keep this important river access open include: The Jacobi Family – Adventure Sports, Bob & Brad Sweeney – Chamberlain Canoes, Driftstone on the Delaware Campground, Chuck Cooper – Edge of the Woods Outfitters, and Pack Shack. “Not only is Kittatinny access very important to the local boat liveries, it is an important asset to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which helps to draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Pocono Mountains,” said David Jacobi. “We would like to thank the PSEG Foundation for their generous donation which made it possible to reopen Kittatinny access and John Donahue, Superintendent of DWGNRA, for not only his willingness, but his desire to find a solution to reopen Kittatinny access. All of us would also like to thank Carl Wilgus, CEO of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, and State Representative Rosemary Brown for all their help in bringing the parties together to find a solution.”
Superintendent Donahue added, “On behalf of the 5 million visitors who come to the park each year, the NPS is deeply grateful for the generous donation and support from the PSEG Foundation and the canoe liveries. These are difficult economic times for everyone. I personally appreciate the level of positive collaboration among all of the interested parties. The result is a solution that will provide our visitors with access this beautiful gem this season.” Donahue added, “The donations will be used for supplies, materials and services required to keep the site clean and safe for the public’s use.”