Cover photo credit: Peter Miller via Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
New Jersey and Pennsylvania share the Delaware Water Gap, one of America’s most treasured natural resources. The Delaware Water Gap is a sprawling area of more than 70,000 acres that is rich in bountiful forests and fields, as well as spectacular waterfalls. It offers a unique experience into the beauty of Northeastern United States. This special area is currently designated as a Recreation Area. It deserves greater recognition. Congress can grant this designation. The Mid-Atlantic is now a national park.
You can visit in spring or summer and see a sea green mixed with the blue, snaking Delaware River. In winter, you will find a landscape of snow-dusted maples and oaks as well as icy waters. The autumn brings out the best in color. The mountain ridges are covered in every shade of red and orange, and rustle in the crisp air.
If you venture in, you’ll be able to see a variety of wildlife including black bears and timber rattlesnakes as well as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and even a timber rattlesnake. Blueberry patches and lush vegetation are a delight for both local wildlife and hikers. The diverse plant life found in this natural haven includes hemlock ravines and rhododendron bush bushes.
Dingmans Falls Photo courtesy Arthur T. LaBar via Flickr CC BY –NC 2.0
The Delaware Water Gap is a National Recreation Area that Congress has designated. This area offers more than breathtaking views and incredible wilderness. It offers many recreational opportunities, including 100 miles of hiking trails, which include part of Appalachian Trail, as well as opportunities for boating and kayaking, fishing, camping, and swimming. The Delaware River is one of the most clean rivers in the country. It also supplies clean drinking water to millions of East Coast residents, including those living in New York City and Philadelphia.
Fun educational opportunities are available at the Delaware Water Gap, which allows visitors to go back in time and learn about the region’s rich past. This area contains archeological sites belonging to the Lenape people, structures dating back to the early Dutch settlements, as well as historic rural villages that date back to the 1700s. These historical treasures can be found scattered throughout the Delaware Water Gap.
You might have noticed that thousands of people had the same idea if you visited a popular park this summer. Our national parks were visited by 237 million people in 2020. Yellowstone is notorious for its traffic jams. Similarly, visitors are turned away from Arches National Park Utah when it becomes too busy. Simply put, there are more people who want to visit parks that the park can accommodate.
Canoeing the Delaware Water Gap Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior
People want more natural beauty, and Congress can provide it by establishing new national parks. In areas that don’t have one, more parks can help increase the visitor flow. The Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area could be a good candidate for being designated a national park. It could join the ranks of other East Coast parks, such as Everglades National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area is a scenic wonder that provides refuge to local animal and plant life, despite not being surrounded by steaming geysers or towering summits. Water Gap sanctuaries are essential for maintaining healthy biodiversity and keeping our ecosystems stable as the nation becomes increasingly urbanized. This land has been treasured for thousands of years and deserves to be protected, respected, and recognized not only for the benefit of wildlife that depends on it, but also for future generations.