Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Narrowsburg, NY – Sullivan County’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Beautification today kicked off the summer season at a special “Park Yourself” launch celebration at the authentically re-created Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History in Narrowsburg.
“Everyone can have a lot of fun in Sullivan County, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team working to increase awareness of and enhance the attractions at the County’s six parks and museum,” said new Parks, Recreation and Beautifcation Director Brian Scardefield by way of introduction. “We have so much to offer both residents and visitors, who should feel free to ‘Park Yourself’ at all of these unique spots throughout this summer and beyond!”
Those spots include:
- Fort Delaware, a faithful reproduction of an 18th century colonial fort in the Delaware River valley
- The popular Lake Superior in Bethel
- The extensive trails and locks of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park and Interpretive Center in Phillipsport
- The Revolutionary War-era Minisink Battleground Park and memorial near Barryville
- The preserved Livingston Manor Covered Bridge and adjacent picnic park
- The oft-photographed Stone Arch Bridge Historical Park in Kenoza Lake, and
- The exhibit-rich Sullivan County Museum in Hurleyville.
“I think this represents a new direction, a new commitment the County has for its parks, and that’s a good thing,” County Historian John Conway remarked under the gate to Fort Delaware. “I think that heritage tourism is a red-hot item today. People are very interested in our history, and we have a unique story. That’s a story that is told largely through our parks.”
“The county’s history is vitally important,” agreed County Manager Josh Potosek, who noted the health benefits of park visitation in addition to relaxation and recreation. “I’d like to thank the County Legislature for really committing to our parks, by agreeing to an over half-million-dollar investment in our parks system in the 2017 budget. We also brought on a new parks director who’s energetic, and under his leadership you’ll see a lot of good things happening, including a parks master plan guiding us forward for the next 5-10 years.”
“I would like to commend Josh for having the foresight to realize how important all of these pieces are to our County tourism and our financial stability,” affirmed District 1 Legislator Scott Samuelson, who also credited Conway for his enormous grasp of – and eagerness to share – local history. “Sullivan County’s history is no less exciting, no less important than anybody else’s, and heritage/historic/educational tourism is a vital piece of our overall tourism.”
“Sullivan Catskills is just blessed with some of the most incredible outdoor and historic assets,” Sullivan County Visitors Association President/CEO Roberta Byron-Lockwood said. “We have a tremendous countryside for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”
“Before she passed away, my mother came and visited this fort, walked around and said, ‘This is an example of what Americans are, of who we are,’” Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez recalled. “I could not imagine what she was telling me until today, looking at the significance of this fort. Now I understand: this is an example of who we are. Sullivan County can survive. It doesn’t matter what happens to us – we can get up and move forward.”
“Fort Delaware has a very special place in my heart, as it was my very first real job at 14 years of age,” Tusten Town Supervisor Carol Ropke Wingert related of her days as a tour guide and re-enactor. “Our natural, cultural, recreational and historical attractions have certainly proven to be sustainable throughout the years. The modern tourist is now interested in slowing down a bit, looking for local food, attractions and history. We have that perfect mix here in Tusten and Sullivan County, and we are proud to have Fort Delaware honoring local history, traditions and lifestyles.”
“People who come for the history, they are amazed by the number of papers and info we have about Sullivan County and its families. I hope you all will stop and see us!” added Sullivan County Historical Society Archivist Arthur Hessinger, who works with visitors and researchers at the County Museum.
More information about the parks and museum can be found at http://co.sullivan.ny.us/Departments/DivisionofPublicWorks/ParksRecreation/tabid/3190/Default.aspx , with upcoming events posted on the County’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/sullivancountygov and at www.sullivancatskills.com . The Sullivan County Historical Society maintains a website as well: www.scnyhistory.org.
Photo: Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez speaking in front of Fort Delaware:
Photo: A re-enactor demonstrating blacksmithing techniques to a visiting family at the Fort: