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Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

In 2021, the Delaware Water Gap was the passageway for millions of dollars.
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Businesses in Northampton, Monroe, and Pike counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Sussex counties in New Jersey saw a combined $235 million in sales thanks to the park’s 4.3 million annual visitors, according to a report released this fall by the National Parks Conservation Association.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonprofit organization that provides unofficial assistance to the National Park Service, has urged local governments to do their part in protecting parkland from industrial encroachment by, among other things, preventing the construction of warehouses and other developments that compete with the attraction of the outdoors to tourists.

“Together, we must protect these communities, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and preserved lands along the Delaware River from any incompatible industrial development that threatens them,” said Ed Stierli, senior director for the Mid-Atlantic region at the nonprofit conservation association based in Washington, D.C.

Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

While the park’s financial benefits to surrounding areas are undeniable, the park’s stunning rapids and other natural features are truly irreplaceable.
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Among the other recommendations made in the report is the installation of more signs in Spanish (both informational and warning), and the advocacy for the utilization of federal funding and congressional action to protect and enhance the Delaware River watershed.

From Interstate 80 in the south to the New York state line in the north, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area spans 40 miles of the Delaware River and encompasses 70,000 acres. It’s only an hour or so from New York City and Philadelphia, but the park itself doesn’t have much to offer tourists, so they have to venture out to nearby towns.

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In 2021, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area received 15 million visitors, making it the agency’s fifteenth most popular site overall. The majority of the top 25 were not classified as “national parks.”

Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

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The NCPA analysis estimates that in 2021, the water gap parklands will bring in $235 million. This figure comprises revenue earned from concessions and other sources as well as money spent directly by visitors.

The largest recipient of park revenue was the amusement and recreation industry, which received more than $32 million. Restaurants ($22.1 million to full-service, $21.6 million to limited service) and hotels and motels ($27 million) also saw significant financial effects.

The NPCA study found that the park brought in $2.9 million in tax income to the states and local governments through visitor spending. When compared to 2015, when the NPCA previously looked at the water gap’s economic impact, the total impact in 2021 is million more.

Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has contributed at least $165 million to the economy, according to a separate report by the National Park Service. Compared to other neighboring National Park Service attractions like Valley Forge, Independence Hall, and the Statue of Liberty,

the recreation area’s finest year in the last decade was the most recent one, in 2021, when it earned $260 million. A spokesperson for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Kathleen Sandt, told lehighvalleylive.com, “Regardless of how you look at it,

it is clear that visitors to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (and other national parks across the country) are an important economic driver for local communities, where they spend money and support jobs.”

Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

The Delaware River and Interstate 80 divide New Jersey and Pennsylvania at the Delaware Water Gap. LightHawk by Steve Novak for lehighvalleylive.com. The NCPA has not commented on the movement to redesignate the national recreation area as a national park, although it has made proposals for park enhancements.

Those who advocate for the shift argue that it will boost the area’s prominence, bringing with it an influx of tourists, funding, and legal safeguards. Many others feel it would cause more problems than it would solve since it could encourage additional buildings around the park, which would increase the danger of environmental damage.

Read More: Federal Provide $1 Million For Renovation Work At 2 New Jersey Historical Sites!

Delaware Water Gap Tourists Increased Pennsylvania And New Jersey Regions By $235M In 2021!

Neither the NCPA nor the National Park Service will take a stance until Congress acts, but there is little appetite for change among elected officials in the area. To further conserve and defend the park, “we have been involved in and welcome” community talks, Stierli added.

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