VOLUME XXIII,  Number 15                  NARROWSBURG, NEW YORK                     APRIL 10-16 1997  

UDC hosts annual awards dinner

HAWLEY - The Upper Delaware Council (UDC)hosted its ninth annual awards dinner the afternoon of March 30. The event, a tradition since 1989, was held at Ehrhardt's Waterfront Banquet and Conference Center overlooking Lake Wallenpaupack. About 100 people attended.

The UDC was created in 1988 as an oversight organization charged with the coordinated implementation of the River Management Plan (RMP) governing the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a National Park Service (NPS) component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

"We present these awards in celebration of the implementation of the river management plan," said UDC executive director Bill Douglass. "It makes the valley a great place to live."

Douglass said the awards dinner was designed "to recognize and honor the work of various individuals, organizations, and agencies in the Delaware River Valley."

After dinner, the recipients were recognized for their contributions to insuring the overall quality of life in the Upper Delaware River valley, thus adding a page to local history. Douglass and current UDC chair Charles Wieland shared the duties of making the presentations.

In his opening remarks, Wieland referred to the UDC's mission as "an intricate web that gets things done." He credited former NPS Upper Delaware superintendent and present NPS river boss Calvin Hite with "having a great feeling for the people of this vallev."

Pennsylvania's UDC representative, Irene Brooks, gave the keynote address. In her speech. Brooks stressed the importance of a multi-faceted approach to watershed management: "Working together and working smarter."

She also discussed the operation of the newly created Office of River Basin Cooperation, an branch of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Brooks received a special UDC award in appreciation of "her commitment to protecting the environment."

The award presentation featured a First, one that may become a tradition: after the formal UDC awards were handed out, Joe Bertolini, a dual resident of New Jersey and Shohola, stepped to the podium and presented an engraved plaque to the UDC.

"I wanted to give them this award for what they're doing for the river I fell in love with," Bertolini said.

Award recipients:

 Distinguished Service Award - George Frosch of Lordville was recognized for 30 years devoted to protecting the resources and the rights of individual property owners in the valley.



Frosch has been  involved with  virtually every citizen's  group associated with formulating and   governing  the management  plan:

the Equinunk - Lordville Upper Delaware River Association, the original Upper Delaware Clearinghouse, and the Conference of Upper Delaware Townships, and as a charter member of the Citizens Advisory Council.

He has served the UDC since its inception, acting as chair in 1995. Frosch currently represents Hancock at UDC meetings. In 1989, he was recognized by the UDC for his "substantial contribution to protecting the resource and community." According to

Douglass, the award represents the UDC's highest honor.

"He's a rugged individualist," Douglass added.

Community Service Award - Andrew Bartsch of Shohola was honored posthumously for dedication and public service to his community. He served as Shohola Township's alternate representative to the UDC, was president of the Shohola Volunteer Fire Department, president of the Shohola Area Lions Club, charter member of the Shohola Township. Planning Commission, and was the township's alternate zoning officer. A carpenter he volunteered his expertise to many community building projects. "What he did for the community of Shohola in only a few short years was more than most people do in a lifetime," said Douglass.

Cathy Bartsch, the recipient's widow, accepted the award. Bartsch's father, Fred, spoke movingly of the advice he gave to his son when the younger Bartsch complained several years ago "of a good river turned to bad. I told him to get involved, give of yourself," he said.

Cultural Achievement Award - The PA Department of Transportation was commended for authorizing and funding the publication of a book, "Of Pulleys and Ropes and Gear: The Gravity Railroads of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and the Pennsylvania Coal Company." The volume was produced in conjunction with the Federal Highway Commission and the PA Historical Museum Commission. The creative mitigation documentary project included a 30-minute video, "The Gravity: The Story of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's Gravity Railroad." Jamie Mcintyre accepted the award on behalf of DOT.

Recreation Achievement Award Anthony Ritter of Gone Fishing Guide Service was honored for his "outstanding effort to educate river users about such issues as water safety, conservation, litter control, river etiquette, and property rights."

Ritter said of the Upper Delaware's well-preserved history, "It's the spring of 1997, but it could very well be the spring of 1897." He is a NYS licensed guide and is a familiar sight along the Upper Delaware.

The winners are: Lewis Schmalze,Oaken Gavel Award; Irene Brooks, Pennsylvania'srepresentative to the UDC, Certificate of Merit for the DRBC; Jamie McIntyre, PennDOT, Cultural Achievement Award for PennDOT; George Frosch, Distinguished Service Award; Cathy Bartsch, Outstanding Service Award, presented posthumously to her husband Andrew Bartsch; Matthias Southwick, co-recipient of the Robin M. Daniels Memorial Lifesaving Award; Paul Pratti, co-recipient of the Robin M. Daniels Lifesaving Award; Anthony Ritter, Recreation Achievement Award; Donald "D.J." Jahn, Award of Recognition; Mike McCarthy, City of Port Jervis Councilman; Charles Wieland, UDC Chair with the special award presented to the UDC by Joe Bertolini.



Outstanding Community Achievement Award - The City of Port Jervis was recognized for rehabilitating the vintage Erie Railroad turntable, located in the riverside community.

The renovation permitted several steam train excursions to visit the Upper Delaware region last year.

Additional steam train tours are planned for 1997, potentially establishing the groundwork for excursions west of Port Jervis. Council member Mike McCarthy accepted the award.


Volunteer Award - Chris Nielsen was acclaimed for his work with the National Canoe Safety Patrol (NCSP), Delaware River Sojourn, Upper Delaware River Safety Committee, and the UDC's Water Use/Resource Committee. "Chris has touched countless numbers of people during his travels on the Upper Delaware River, helping to make other visitors' boating experiences positive ones," said Douglass.

In 1989, the inaugural year of the awards dinner, Nielsen accepted the UDC's Community Service Award for the NCSP.

Certificate of Merit - The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) was honored for addressing local concerns about flooding in watershed communities, "from convening flood coordination discussions after the January 1996 flooding, to directing the Flow Management

Technical Advisory Committee, to investigating the isue of releases from reservoirs for flood Control purposes, to negotiating an agreement which eventually led to New York City providing five billion gallons of potential flood storage in Pepacton Reservoir." Irene Brooks accepted the award for the DRBC, which was created in 1961.

Award of Recognition - Donald "D.J." Jahn was recognized for his contribution to the publication of a Upper Delaware tourism brochure promoting the river and area businesses on both sides of the Delaware.  D.J. and JoAnn Jahn are proprietors of the Roebling Inn in Lackawaxen.

Robin M. Daniels Lifesaving Award - The award is named after park ranger Robin Daniels, who gave her life in service to the community while responding to a medical emergency. This prestigious award was shared by two individuals "for acts of heroism on the river." Last fall, then 15-year old Matthias Southwick of Lititz, PA, put his own life in harm's way during a dramatic river rescue. On September 20, Southwick swam 75 yards across the river north of Callicoon to save the life of a young girl.

Paul Pratti of the Yulan Fire Department directed the rescue of four firefighters from the neighboring Highland Volunteer Fire Department. 

Oaken Gavel Award - Lewis Schmalzle, Town of Highland' representative to the UDC, received the traditional award for his tenure as 1996 chair. Last year, he attended 104 meetings. "He worked long and hard for the council," Douglass said as he handed Schmalzle the oaken gavel.


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