Protecting an amazing backyard resource
By BRIAN STUART, Lackawaxen Township Supervisor
Additional demands of increased growth present many issues, especially on the Upper Delaware River. It is a pristine and truly amazing natural resource that we are fortunate to have in our backyards. The river corridor, a natural attraction by its very beauty, must be recognized as a resource, and while it may be developed, it should be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner in an effort not to lose that very reason that made the area attractive in the first place.
We are truly fortunate, as well as in a unique position, because the corridor remains in the hands of private property owners. This has been achieved as a result of the hard work and dedication of those that promulgated and prepared the River Management Plan and the creation of the Upper Delaware Council. It provided the basis for cooperation between the Federal government, states, municipalities and landowners.
The municipalities, which have the authority and power to regulate land use decisions, must remain forever vigilant in their land development and zoning plans, especially within the corridor. Unfortunately, the issue is far larger than the development of solely the land along the river; it is with off-site pollution and use pollution that is of significant concern.
Much of the off-site pollution arises from projects that typically occur outside of the corridor, yet can adversely affect it. Sedimentation is a significant concern that has occurred numerous times over the last several years with no resolve. In addition, the issue of the landfill continues to be a significant concern and a definite threat to the river. This site must at some point be cleaned up. In my opinion, the danger that it poses certainly warrants such an action.
Additionally, there are issues that must be resolved from the very use of the river. While canoeing, rafting and tubing provide rereational opportunities for many, these activities create problems that arise with use of the river and the quality of life for residents. There have been too many occurrences over the years with trespassers and garbage. Organizations have tried to educate people regarding private property rights, and it has not proven effective.
With the continued growth of the area, there will be additional tests of the towns land use and zoning plans. Governmental bodies must begin to think differently today to properly plan for tomorrow. Only by working together can we achieve economies of scale for our projects, maximize our opportunity costs and provide to our children and grandchildren a future that we have the power and responsibility to ensure.
Brian Stuart has been on the Lackawaxen Township class=bodyBoard of Supervisors in Pike County PA for 11 years.