Fall foliage in the Lehigh Valley

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is skeptical that redesignating the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as a national park will limit development as proposed. In this file photo, hikers tackle Mt. Tammany in the Delaware Water Gap on a beautiful autumn day in 2016.Saed Hindash | For lehighvalleylive.com

An environmental group focused on the health of the Delaware River has sided against a controversial proposal to redesignate the Delaware Water Gap as a national park.

In so doing, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network has split from other ecologically minded organizations that support the change and its implied protections for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the 70,000 acres of federal lands straddling the river dividing Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 40 miles from I-80 to the New York state border.