Noticeably absent at the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) session, January 3, were any representatives of the National Park Service (NPS), Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River.
NARROWSBURG, NY - Noticeably absent at the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) session, January 3, were any representatives of the National Park Service (NPS), Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River. This came at no surprise. The Park Service has been impacted by the federal government shutdown which went into effect December 22, 2018.
Normally, Superintendent Kristina Heister or assistant, Carla Hahn,would be giving a report.
A press release issued December 22 indicated that there will be no NPS-provided services at the Upper Delaware, including public information, restrooms, trash collection, and facilities maintenance, including plowing parking lots or shoveling walkways.
The Roebling Bridge vehicle thoroughfare will be maintained. The walkways on the bridge are closed at this time year anyway, and are not being maintained.
Laurie Ramie, UDC Executive Director, related that she was speaking with Superintendent Heister, who said that only she (Heister) and law enforcement rangers had authorization to work on a very limited basis. In the superintendent’s case, her limited duties include communications and to handle critical services such as making sure the buildings do not run out of heating fuel.
Law enforcement rangers must be on call. “They are at home essentially, they go out simply
to check on security issues of their own facilities here,”she said. If it snows, the maintenance crew is allowed to plow the Roebling Bridge.
“Otherwise, all of their leaves over the holidays were cancelled…but the legislation I believe addresses that they will get their time back,” Ramie noted.
Any NPS work requiring the computer or phones must be done on their personnel equipment, using there personal email or phone.
January 11, 2019 was a critical date as that is when the next federal payroll kicks in. Federal employees were hoping for the shutdown to be resolved by then.
Meanwhile, the shutdown trickles down to organizations like the UDC, she noted, which receive funding through the NPS.
Ramie shared the memo her office received from the Northeast Regional Office, NPS, regarding the shutdown. The UDC relies on an annual $300,000 allocation from the Department of the Interior. The UDC, a private non-profit corporation, operates under a long-standing cooperative agreement with the NPS.
“Basically it is our warning that we can continue to operate at our own risk, essentially during the time the shutdown is in effect,” Ramie told the Council. “The fact is there is no guarantee that our expenditures will be reimbursed for this time period.”
Appropriations for the federal fiscal year, which started October 1, 2018, expired December 21, the last day before the shutdown.
The News Eagle left a message for Superintendent Heister inviting comment.
The UDC meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at their office, at 211 Bridge St., Narrowsburg, NY.