Preserving community character, promoting park and community health, and stimulating local economies
Situated near America's national parks, gateway communities benefit from beautiful landscapes, abundant wildlife and proximity to historic sites.
Gateway communities included in this Sourcebook largely are located near the Delaware River between Hancock, New York and Dover, Delaware and include gateway communities of the:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
- Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River in New York and Pennsylvania
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- First State National Historical Park in Delaware and Pennsylvania
The Sourcebook focuses on best practice models and successful approaches for gateway communities to meet the following goals:
- Engage local entrepreneurs, small businesses, civic groups, and governments in providing a distinctive, authentic visitor experience.
- Highlight respect for local culture and tradition by emphasizing and promoting local character.
- Create a nationally and internationally branded travel destination.
- Promote the region’s unique character by preserving natural habitats, heritage sites, scenic and recreational appeal and local culture.
- Enhance sustainability and authentic visitor experiences.
Examples of best practices and strategies:
- Callicoon Depot, a historic 1896 train station , was recently repurposed as the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway visitor center and town commons. The Callicoon Business Association signed a long-term lease with the Central New York Railroad Corporation to implement grant-funded improvements and turn the station into a public space. Tours of the revived historic depot started in April 2021.
- Milford Borough has an extensive Street System Guide built into its town Design Standards code. The guide outlines best practices for cul-de-sacs, street widths, street alignments, street grades, intersections and storm drainage to maintain the town’s character.
- In partnership with the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy can designate a gateway community as an “Appalachian Trail Community.” Benefits can include increased community viability and economic health; increased community environmental stewardship; increased sense of place and cultural sustainability; and trail-friendly promotion through ATC-assisted marketing. The greater Blairstown area in Warren County is designated as New Jersey’s only Appalachian Trail Community.
- Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Trail Program is a state-level matching grant program assisting with public parkland acquisition and outdoor recreation facility development. Wilmington has used this program to fund 29 projects, including two projects on the Northern Delaware Greenway.
This sourcebook is intended to be useful to residents, municipal staff and others seeking to preserve their community’s character, to promote their community’s health and that of their national park neighbor, and to stimulate their local economy for the benefit of their residents and visitors.