American Water Resources Association
Topic: Recreational User Demand Analysis for the Upper Delaware River Estuary
Featured Speakers: Pennsylvania Environment Council
Patrick Starr, Sr. Vice President
Jessica Anderson, Communications Manager
Paul Racette, Watershed Programs Manager
The Tidal Delaware River represents one of the successes of the Clean Water Act, evidenced by the return of fish and bird species, as well as boaters, sailors and kayakers. To encourage recreational use of the river, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council worked with multiple partners to create the Tidal Delaware River Water Trail map and guide (www.tidaltrail.org), and introduced hundreds of people to urban kayaking through the free kayak program at Penn’s Landing last summer. While PEC is excited to bring these opportunities to the region, more permanent, consistent recreation opportunities must be offered to residents and visitors, especially as efforts are also underway to build the East Coast Greenway trail and restore the shoreline ecology.
Since other peer cities have successfully expanded river recreation (e.g., New York, Pittsburgh), PEC believes that “if we build it in Philadelphia, they will come.” To better understand the needs and wants of recreational users, PEC is conducting a user-demand analysis for the Tidal Delaware Water Trail. We are examining what existing users love about recreation on the Tidal Delaware River, and determining the physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent more recreational use of the river. This work will guide a marketing campaign to attract more users, and will help PEC prioritize future initiatives to attract new boating related businesses, fund new boat launches and bring more recreation amenities to the riverfront.