Approximately $1.5 million was awarded in fiscal year 2017 for the National Park Service to do projects benefitting the Upper Delaware. They covered a wide variety of topics, from evaluating shad populations to steps towards making a visitor’s center at the Zane Grey House.

NARROWSBURG, NY – Approximately $1.5 million was awarded in fiscal year 2017 for the National Park Service to do projects benefitting the Upper Delaware. They covered a wide variety of topics, from evaluating shad populations to steps towards making a visitor’s center at the Zane Grey House.

Park Superintendent Kris Heister told the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), March 1st, that the funds- totaling $1,513,641 - came from a round of competitive grants issued by sources not related to the National Park Service.  Some are regional and others are national entities providing the money. Each year, the Park Service announces the grants. Heister credited their success to a “gigantic emphasis on writing good project statements.” She participated on project review panels to learn what they looked at and what would make the local Park Service unit’s proposals compete well.

These projects are included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan with the funds to br spread over a one to three year period.

The biggest chunk, about $841,000, benefits the Zane Grey House project in Lackawaxen. She stated that the visitor count at the Zane Grey House is “not many”. Currently the first floor is devoted solely as a museum to the famed author of western novels, Zane Grey, who lived there in the early 20th century and loved to fish in the Delaware across the road. It is a short distance from the Roebling Bridge.

Their concept is to renovate part of the first floor as a professionally done visitor’s center for the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River. They would keep part of the house as a museum, concentrating on the room where Grey did his writing.

Heister said that they fully expect that the shared use will increase visitors to the house. Wi-fi will be included. In addition, and very importantly, the funding also covers making the structure handicapped accessible and change the garage nearby into handicapped accessible restrooms. Presently visitors use portable toilet facilities. Displays would also be completely re-done.

She said that they plan to open the visitor’s center in 2021.

Other projects being funded include:

$120,000 for a “Historic Structure Report” for the Corwin Farm. Located near the south end of the River Corridor on the NY side, the property includes remnants of the D&H Canal, a canal lock, lock tender’s house and barn. $55,000 to complete a National Historic Register nomination for the D&H Canal resources owned by the Park Service. $149,850 to catalogue and re-house, and create aids to locate records related to the Upper Delaware/ Park Service’s establishment, administration, cultural and natural resources. $66,000 to implement a study to evaluate American eels with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. $176,000 to evaluate the presence and impact of micro-plastics in the Delaware River. $72,791 to continue a project first funded in 2015 to evaluate the best methods to evaluate shad populations in the Upper Delaware.

MORE INFORMATION IS CONTAINED IN THE PRINT EDITION, Wednesday, March 21st issue.