Community events planned in Sussex County, N.J., Monroe County, Pa., and Sullivan County, N.Y.
EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (April 21, 2016)—Following months of unprecedented collaboration, the “Scenic, Wild Delaware River” Geotourism Stewardship Council will host three community events to celebrate the geotourism initiative for the middle and upper Delaware River region, and preview the Geotourism Mapguide website produced in collaboration with National Geographic Maps. The website will be publicly unveiled on May 19 at an event in New York City.
The Scenic, Wild Delaware River geotourism initiative seeks to contribute to the area’s economic health and long-term vitality by promoting geotourism: Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.
At each community celebration event, the Geotourism Stewardship Council members will acknowledge and thank organizations, businesses, community leaders, National Park Service staff, elected officials and others who have supported the initiative. Additionally, the hundreds of business, sites and attractions featured on the Scenic, Wild Delaware River MapGuide are invited to attend and receive their certificate of participation and other identifying materials from National Geographic. These can be publicly displayed to highlight involvement in this collaborative promotion and stewardship initiative.
These events are free and open to the public.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 12:30 p.m., The Walpack Inn, Route 615, Wallpack Center, NJ 07881, Lunch provided
Thursday, May 5, 2016, 11:30 a.m., The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Delaware Room (lower level), 100 Shawnee Inn Drive, Shawnee on Delaware, PA 18356, Lunch provided
Thursday, May 5, 2016, 3:30 p.m., The Narrowsburg Union, 7 Erie Avenue, Narrowsburg, NY 12764, Light refreshments provided
“Our Scenic, Wild Delaware River geotourism initiative not only brands the middle and upper Delaware River region as a destination for responsible, meaningful tourism, it also will help us sustain our unique history and culture,” said Geotourism Stewardship Council member Carl Wilgus, president and CEO of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau in Pennsylvania.
“This geotourism initiative has brought communities across the region closer, and it promotes all of our amazing assets to better preserve the cultural, historic and natural attractions that we all love,” said Stewardship Council member Roberta Byron-Lockwood, president and CEO of New York’s Sullivan County Visitors Association.
“We’re all united by the Delaware River, and the partnerships we’ve built through this geotourism initiative will help us promote what’s special about where we live and share it with visitors,” said Stewardship Council member Tammie A. Horsfield, president of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey.
“Not only is this region a short drive from major cities, the middle and upper Delaware River region also is culturally and geographically significant,” said James Dion, National Geographic Maps’ director of tourism programs. “This geotourism initiative underscores the importance of connecting communities in an area to share their tremendous scenic, historic and cultural assets, and helping them thrive together for future generations.”
Formed in September 2015, the Geotourism Stewardship Council’s first product will be an interactive, customizable travel website called a MapGuide that aims to attract a niche national and international market of geotourists to the Scenic, Wild Delaware River region. On average, geotourists are highly educated, take four or more leisure trips per year, care about the protection and preservation of the places they visit, and about half have annual household incomes above $75,000.
Since the Scenic, Wild Delaware River geotourism initiative was launched, local residents have nominated more than 600 unique landmarks, natural resources, attractions, activities, events, lodging and dining venues to be included on the MapGuide. Residents and visitors may continue to nominate new sites, events and special places for the website, which will be dynamic and constantly updated.
The MapGuide, which may be previewed at www.delawareriver.natgeotourism.com, will be unveiled in New York City on May 19. More information about the New York City event announcing America’s newest and most compelling travel destination will be made available in the coming weeks.
The Scenic, Wild Delaware River region includes Sussex and Warren counties in New Jersey; Delaware, Orange and Sullivan counties in New York; and Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania. The area is anchored by three river-based national parks: Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Middle Delaware National Scenic River.
Initial funding for the Scenic, Wild Delaware River geotourism initiative was provided by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, with funding also from the Claneil Foundation, to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). The nonpartisan NPCA is a nonprofit, independent advocacy organization working to protect and enhance America’s national parks.
National Geographic Maps has partnered with communities across the United States and the world to produce more than 20 Geotourism MapGuides, including for the Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Crown of Continent (Montana, British Columbia, Alberta), U.S. Gulf Coast States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida), Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province and The Bahamas Family of Islands.
National Geographic Maps was established as a division of the National Geographic Society in 1915 and has been producing maps for National Geographic magazine and other Society groups for 100 years. National Geographic Maps produces outdoor recreation mapping software, Trails Illustrated maps and software, globes, wall maps, travel maps and atlases. For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit www.natgeomaps.com.
The initial “Scenic, Wild Delaware River” Geotourism Stewardship Council includes travel and tourism industry representatives; businesses owners; members of cultural, art and historical organizations; members of local Chambers of Commerce and economic development groups; conservation and recreation organizations; local public and private land managers; and other community leaders throughout the region:
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