Vacating Road to Park Service Would Hurt Fishermen
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, April 4, 2019
DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township officials call it the "road to nowhere" and its name -- Doodle Hollow
Road -- befits its identity.
It runs through National Park property that includes a body of water nearby that is visited by some fishermen, a
hidden secret except for residents and outsiders in the know. It is not a through intersection.
But township officials are at the point where they want to decide what to do about the road -- to keep it or to
dedicate it to the National Park Service as part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
"They own the land. We just own the road," said township Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson, who
said he wonders whether the township should turn over the road that it has maintained to DEWA.
The issue that has been discussed at prior meetings got renewed focus during the workshop prior to last week's
general meeting when the supervisors announced they had received a correspondence from DEWA saying it
wants to close the road to vehicles during the summer from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
"It's all about the concerns of the 'nature people,'" said Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who later said, "It's worth
considering that they (DEWA) would take it."
"They (DEWA) say they want to keep the road open at other times of the year for fishing," said Neufeld, but she
and her fellow supervisors pointed out that summer can be a very active time for fishing.
Another concern by DEWA, they said, is garbage dropped on the land along that road and closing it might deter that recurrence, particularly during busier summer months.
But resident Steve McBride expressed a concern. "If we (vacate) the road, they (DEWA) will close it
(completely)," he said.
"Why would you want to deny our residents access," posed township Solicitor Thomas Farley. "Closing that area
off to a transient group (of visitors) presents a catastrophic injustice."
Discussion will continue toward a final decision at upcoming meetings, the supervisors said.
At the meeting, the board accepted the annual budget report from the township volunteer fire company. "We're in
great shape. We're holding our own," said Ed Hammond, president of the fire company, afterward. "We budget
accordingly and we're transparent," said Fire Chief Sean Hughes.
Hughes said the company last year began budgeting toward replacing timeworn equipment. That was a concern
expressed by neighboring Lehman Township during the Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company's report presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting last week.
Also at the Delaware Township meeting, the board appointed Steve Tarquini to the township's Recreation
Commission. With that appointment, Henderson and Neufeld agreed to let fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler vacate
his role as a temporary member of the commission until someone was appointed for a full term.
The supervisors unanimously agreed to accept the fiscal year 2018 audit performed by Krk Summa & Co. LLP. They also agreed to publish and advertise the township's Concise Financial Statement on the modified cash basis by the accounting service for 2018.
The board agreed to purchase two truckloads of clay for its ballfields along Wilson Hill Road from Dingmans Ferry Stone, costing $55 a ton at a maximum payout of $2,700. .. Supervisors also agreed to accept tar and chip
resurfacing estimates for five roads, including Emory, Nichecronk, Mary Stuart, Johnny Bee and
Juniper/Resers/Pocono Circle. "It's not a bid but a preparation for putting it out to bid," clarified Neufeld.
The board approved Music in Akenac Park on July 6 and Aug. 31 from 5-9 p.m. ... It also agreed to the request by the Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society to hold meetings at the municipal hall on the third
Thursday of each month from April through December, starting at 6 p.m.
The board during the workshop cited comments from township Emergency Manager George Beodeker as
"accurate and to the point" to the American Red Cross Poconos chapter's assessment of the Delaware Township municipal hall as an emergency shelter. Supervisors had withdrawn the building designation as a full emergency shelter because it does not have showers for long term stays, they said. But Beodeker said the building can be used for an evacuation stating point, a warming center and a charging center (for residents' mobile electronic devices). "Why sign an agreement for what we don't have," Beodeker said.
Also during the workshop, supervisors talked about installing gates at the upper, western end of by-roads such as Wilson hill Road that connect Milford Road/State Route 2001 to Route 209. Those gates would be closed during storms when the National Park Service closes gates it has already installed at the lower end of those roads at Route 209.
PA American Water Project Manager Gary Vebulko talked during the workshop about phases of expanding
services, including into Wild Acres private community. "We're getting closer to acquiring that system," Vebulko
said. He could not specify when that would happen at Wild Acres when asked by the supervisors about it, except
to say "maybe the latter part of the year."
Supervisors announced that the township's annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place 1-4 p.m. on April 13 at Akenac
During public comment, Nancy Janiec read a letter she and Cathi Hewston submitted to the Delaware Township
Volunteer Ambulance Corps talking about how they are rescinding their application to the new DTVAC leadership for returning as members and volunteers of the corps.
"We appreciate your taking the time for meet with (us) on March 4 to discuss our offer of volunteering and the
discussion that took place. At that meeting, there were three main concerns mentioned:
"First, our concern for DTVAC's financial situation and the lack of ambulance coverage for Delaware Township due to the financial situation the company is in. To help alleviate this financial situation, it was suggested that DTVAC take a direct hire approach. In doing this, DTVAC would stand to save a substantial sum of money (Note: Rather than going through a placement agency as it does) and that could help toward the reorganization of DTVAC since they would have more money available for direct hire employees, thus more coverage.
"Second, it was requested that proceeds collected from the ambulance calls, that volunteers run, go to BLS
operating expenses of DTVAC only, not to the outside contracted employee payroll. The idea would be to try to
save DTVAC assets before they are lost to sale or forfeiture due to the irreversible financial situation of the
organization at present.
"Third is a request that one of us become a member of the Board of Directors, which would be a better adherence to the by-laws description of Second Lieutenant by putting a certified first responder in that position."
The letter goes on to conclude:
"You have claimed that all of these requests are unreasonable.
"Unfortunately, we will have to rescind our applications for membership and volunteering. Neither one of us are
willing to volunteer under the present management and organization of a DTVAC that seems uninterested or
incapable of making any changes that might contribute to bettering our ambulance service, how it is run and
managed, and its sustainability in the future.
"However, should DTVAC reorganize and return to volunteers or combination of volunteer and direct hire, we will definitely reconsider our position and reapply."