Former Delaware Water Gap Superintendent Joins Mission to Protect the Delaware River

Date Published: May 24, 2018

BOILING SPRINGS, Pa. (May 24, 2018) – The former superintendent of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA), John J. Donahue, has joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) as a conservation consultant, offering expertise that will boost efforts to protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) and the Delaware River Watershed. Through a grant awarded by the William Penn Foundation, Donahue will assist the ATC in advising key partners in best practices to protect forested headwaters and strengthen riparian buffers — forested strips along rivers and streams — in the townships through which the A.T. passes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“I am honored and excited to work with all of the dedicated employees and volunteers at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy,” said Donahue. “The outstanding work by the ATC and the associated volunteer trail clubs along the Appalachian Trail is a unique model for turning a vision into a reality. The A.T. is the original ‘people’s park,’ creating connectivity not only in nature but also in our society.”

John J. Donahue
John J. Donahue brings decades of conservation experience to assist in Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and Delaware River Watershed protection.

Donahue served as superintendent of the DEWA and Middle Delaware Scenic and Recreational River for 14 years and served with the National Park Service for 37 years. Throughout his career, Donahue has shown expertise in negotiating protections for lands throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, working with government agencies, conservation organizations and private citizens to create a thriving natural landscape that stretches for hundreds of thousands of acres. Donahue was instrumental in guiding the public participation process of the Susquehanna-Roseland Power Line Project, which resulted in a $66 million fund for purchasing and permanently protecting nearly 500,000 acres.

“John Donahue brings years of professional experience and has fostered relationships with local and state officials and the community that has engendered his respect and trust,” said Karen Lutz, Mid-Atlantic regional director for the ATC. “He understands natural resource management and his list of career accomplishments will only grow in this new assignment.”

This work to educate partners and implement best conservation practices along the A.T. is complementary to a larger regional effort, the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI), which involves more than 65 partners. The William Penn Foundation announced more than $40 million in new funding for the DRWI earlier this year, which stands among the country’s largest non-regulatory conservation efforts to protect and restore clean water. The DRWI is a collaborative effort among non-governmental organizations working together at an unprecedented scale to protect and restore clean water in the Delaware River watershed, the source of drinking water for 15 million people in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Many sections of the Delaware River are part of the National Wild and Scenic River System and are enjoyed by millions of paddlers, boaters, anglers and swimmers annually.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is grateful to the William Penn Foundation as it helps to raise the profile of the Delaware River Watershed as an iconic large landscape, whose protection is paramount to restoring clean water for the Watershed,” said Lutz.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy:
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, visit

About the William Penn Foundation:
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance opportunity, ensure sustainability, and enable effective solutions. The Foundation’s assets exceed $2.6 billion as of December 31, 2017.

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794
Email: [email protected]


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