The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) is among the busiest National Park Service (NPS) units with millions of annual visitors. In this book, David Fazzino uses oral history and archival work to consider the ramifications of government land takings, done half a century ago to uproot families and communities across 70,000 acres in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Fazzino situates these land takings in historical context to explain the ways places have been taken, both physically and ideologically, in the name of progress, development, wilderness, and recreation. The author contrasts legal valuations, measured along utilitarian and material lines, with lived valuations which account for place as experiential, intimate, personal, and relational. Fazzino also considers the ruins of what was and the remains of past lives in the valley to suggest inclusive possibilities of future management regimes in DEWA and federal public lands more broadly.
David Fazzino is associate professor of anthropology at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and chair for anthropology, criminal justice, and sociology at Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University.
Chapter 1: Property and Place in the United States: Seeing the Delaware Water Gap
Chapter 2: American Conservation and Preservation and the Tocks Island Dam
Chapter 3: Initial Inhabitants and Takings
Chapter 4: Settler Development in the Upper Minisink
Chapter 5: More Takings
Chapter 6: The Park and Surrounding Communities Today
Almost anyone who lives in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area has some experience with the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, but there are very few, unless they experienced it, who know its tumultuous history. David Fazzino does an excellent job of conveying all of the important parts of the story—from precolonial history to historic home ownership—as well as legal explanations of the government's power for legislative taking and the true beauty that abounds the area today. This book would be an excellent educational read for legal or environmental scholars, but also should be available to anyone who avails themselves of recreational opportunities at the Delaware Water Gap.
In Historic Takings in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, David Fazzino sets about the difficult task of tracking backward in time the seemingly endless string of dispossession and cultural violence enacted in North America in the names of colonialism and capitalism. This is a story told in multiple acts, one that is as relevant for how we think about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as it is for understanding contemporary poverty in Appalachia. This well-researched story humanizes complex histories and resonates with emerging critiques of mainstream environmentalism.
David Fazzino skillfully weaves together biographical, autobiographical, and academic perspectives in his exploration of the creation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Eastern Pennsylvania. His use of multiple perspectives to tell the many stories of this unique and special place creates an engaging and instructive portrait of this important regional resource.
In Historic Takings in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, David Fazzino carefully weighs the historical and anthropological tensions between the promises, controversy, trauma, and nostalgia involved in removing people from their homes to create a national park. By privileging the voices and experiences of those who were displaced, this book reveals how memory and belonging combine in the ongoing process of place-making in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.