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<span style="font-weight: bold"> <span style="font-size: 17pt"> Delaware Water Gap park to close 2 sites</span> </span>
<span style="font-weight: bold"> Tourism takes hit from sequester cuts, losing Milford Beach, Kittatinny Pt.

By <span style="font-weight: bold">Beth Brelje</span>
Pocono Record Writer
April 03, 2013

Canoe livery businesses are among those who will feel the pinch this summer as Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area implements the sequestration — the government's order to federal agencies to reduce annual budgets by 5 percent.

The park will keep Milford Beach closed, including the beach, picnic area, boat launch, canoe access, parking lot and the trailhead for the McDade Recreational Trail.

Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in New Jersey will also be closed, including grounds, the picnic area, canoe access, restrooms and parking lot.

"We all used Milford Beach and Kittatinny Point," said Dave Jones, co-owner of Kittatinny Canoes, one of the liveries that use these points for river access.

"It's going to hurt my business, just like the road closure hurt my business last year," Jones said and added that river access is critical to the local economy.

"All they need to do is keep the gate open and maintain the bathroom," Jones said.

However, the park will save $52,000 in cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper and trash removal services, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Scaling back</span></span>
The park must reduce costs in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year, ending Sept. 30. It amounts to a $473,224 reduction from the 2013 budget of $9,464,480, reducing the total park budget to $8,990,856.

In addition to closing the two sites, the park will scale back hours and services, not fill vacant permanent positions, eliminate seasonal positions, reduce supplies and materials purchases, and cut travel, training and overtime.

"It is appalling to me they want to punish the public to make a statement. It is wrong," Jones said. "My family used to own Kittatinny Point. Maybe they should give it back and I will employ people and add services to the public. The private sector needs to take over."

The federal government bought a mile of riverfront property, including resort buildings, a bar and restaurant, pavilion and cabins from his family for $201,000 through eminent domain during the failed Tocks Island Dam Project.

Land seized in the dam project led to the formation of the park.

Jones said he would gladly buy the land back for that price.

<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Fewer jobs, reduced services</span></span>
The park will save about $250,000 by hiring 17 fewer seasonal employees this year. These employees typically perform maintenance duties at visitor sites, operate visitor centers, provide interpretive programs, serve as lifeguards, and perform resource management and law enforcement tasks.

In addition, 10 seasonal park rangers, guides and visitor use assistant positions will be eliminated in the interpretation, education and partnerships division at the park. These employees typically staff three visitor centers, park headquarters and Millbrook Village throughout the summer and fall and provide the walks, talks and education programs.

Many of the programs and services provided by these employees will be eliminated or reduced.

<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">What's open</span></span>Dingmans Falls Visitor Center will only be open Friday through Sunday, from May 24 to Oct. 27, instead of seven days a week.

The elimination of seven seasonal maintenance positions will result in decreased grounds and roadside mowing, reduced trash collection and custodial services, and facility closures.

Trash cans will no longer be provided at Buttermilk Falls, Cadoo Access, Flatbrookville in New Jersey and at George W. Childs Recreation Site. Visitors to those sites will be required to take their trash with them when they leave.

The Volunteers-in-Parks program, with some 500 volunteers who perform trail maintenance, water safety patrols, bicycle patrols, administrative functions, historical interpretation and other tasks, will be reduced because the park supervision of those volunteers and programs will be reduced.

Popular sites that will be open this spring include Smithfield and Turtle

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I'm planning my canoe trip down the Delaware and spoke with someone at the Delaware Water Gap HQ office. I was told that everything along the river is and will be open for the summer.
Said they received some private donations.......
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