Delaware Canal 21 Executive Director Founds Environmental Film Festival

Delaware Canal 21 announced today that its executive director, Debra Wolf Goldstein, will be stepping down at the end of the month to become the founding executive director of the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival.  The Festival will showcase powerful new environmental shorts and features that entertain, inform and inspire personal action. The inaugural Festival will be held on Earth Day weekend, April 20-23, 2017 and will show a juried slate of dozens of films from around the world that both celebrate natural beauty and raise awareness about our impact on the earth.  In addition to the film lineup, the Festival will include special events, an exciting launch party, a juried competition, awards and opportunities to meet with filmmakers. (See

Ms. Goldstein will continue supporting Delaware Canal 21 as a member of the group’s Advisory Council, joining such members as former Congressman Jim Greenwood; state representative Marguerite Quinn; and  Dr. Vail Garvin, president and CEO of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed working with this dynamic group over the last 18 months,” said Goldstein. “Delaware Canal 21 has both the vision and professional expertise to bring the Canal and towpath trail to a whole new level.”

“Our organization has benefited greatly from Debra’s leadership, extensive network of contacts, and creative ideas.  She will be sorely missed,” said Delaware Canal 21 board chair, Allen Black.  He noted that the Board has initiated a search for a new executive director.

About Delaware Canal 21: 
Delaware Canal 21 is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to assure 1) that the Delaware Canal will be fully watered from end to end on a reliable basis; 2) that the Canal receives adequate day-to-day and preventative maintenance and sufficient long-range planning to enable the Canal to be watered reliably; and 3) enhanced public access to the Canal and trail.

Unique in its targeted mission, Delaware Canal 21 helps the state park system identify and implement new ideas, new partnerships, and new funding sources to work towards providing adequate funding, maintenance, and planning for the Canal and towpath trail.



Vision Study at Presented at World Canals Conference

The 2016 World Canals Conference in Inverness, Scotland was an eye-opening experience for the 4 people from Delaware Canal 21 who attended. Delaware Canal 21’s Executive Director, Debra Wolf Goldstein, and Technical Advisor, William Collins, were invited to make a presentation at the conference, held at the end of September. Board president Allen Black and Board member Randy Apgar came along (at their own expense) to network and spread the word about Delaware Canal 21.

WCC Attendees from DC21 included (from left to right): technical advisor William Collins, executive director Debra Wolf Goldstein, chairman Allen Black, and director Randy Apgar.

WCC Attendees from DC21 included (from left to right): technical advisor William Collins, executive director Debra Wolf Goldstein, chairman Allen Black, and director Randy Apgar.

There were numerous highlights, but to name just a few: 

  • After seeing how canals are thriving in Scotland, Canada, France, and Korea we came away energized and optimistic that we will succeed in achieving the same level of success for our Delaware Canal.
  • It was astounding how other nations have turned their canals into powerful economic drivers that generate income not only for maintenance of their canals but also for re-invigoration of their adjacent and nearby communities.
  • There is much modern technology out there that could be applied to our canal without sacrificing its historic significance:
    • Remote sensors and waste gate operations.
    • Ability to detect incipient holes in clay and earthen structures so the holes can be fixed before they become holes.
    • Software to manage a preventive maintenance program.
    • And much, much more.
  • There are many helpful, knowledgeable people out there! From the head of the Scottish canal system to a boat builder from Albany, everyone we met was not just willing but anxious to help us fix our Canal.

For a link to dynamic keynote speaker Steve Dunlop, head of Scottish Canals, please click here: HERE.

To watch a video of DC21 executive director Debra Wolf Goldstein and technical advisor William Collins present the Vision Study at WCC, click HERE.

Delaware Canal 21 asked to present at the World Canals Conference

Delaware Canal 21 is pleased to announce that Delaware Canal 21 and its technical advisor, Bill Collins, have been invited to present a paper to the World Canals Conference at Inverness, Scotland, on September 20, 2016. The topic of the presentation will be the 2016 Visioning Study of the Delaware Canal – how it was conducted, and its results.  The Study was initiated by Delaware Canal 21 and carried out in partnership with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the Friends of the Delaware Canal.  The Visioning Study was funded by The William Penn Foundation.

 “This is a marvelous moment for the Delaware Canal and for Delaware Canal 21,” said Debra Wolf Goldstein, the group’s Executive Director.  “This will put the Delaware Canal on the world map, and make it a point of interest for those all over the world who have interest in canals.”

Delaware Canal 21 is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to keep water in the Canal at all times, finding new sources of funding to ensure the Canal can afford first-class maintenance and the necessary long-range planning, and putting the Canal on a sustainable financial footing.

Bill Collins is a Registered Landscape Architect and principal in the firm of Simone & Collins.  

“We at Delaware Canal 21 are proud to have sponsored this ground-breaking study that will form the basis of a whole new way we think about the Delaware Canal, and will lay the groundwork for the canal to become well maintained and fiscally sustainable throughout the 21st century,” said Allen Black, the chairman of Delaware Canal 21.


Delaware Canal 21 Hosts Canal Vision Study Presentation

On May 10, Delaware Canal 21 unveiled a draft of the Vision Study for the Delaware Canal that was funded by the William Penn Foundation and conducted during the past year in conjunction with Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L).  Leading the discussion were Delaware Canal 21 Board Chairman Allen Black and Vice-Chairman Ron DiLeo.  Participating in this presentation were Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn from Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and members of her executive team along with several staff from the Delaware Canal State Park.  Josh Swartley, the newly appointed manager of the Park, was introduced.  Also in attendance for this two-hour meeting were Representative Marguerite Quinn, who chairs the Delaware Canal Legislative Caucus, as well as Bucks County Commissioners Rob Loughery and Diane Ellis-Marseglia, and representatives from various communities located along the Delaware Canal.  They were joined by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bliss, Commander of the Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers and his colleague Peter Blum, Planning Chief for the Philadelphia Army Corps District.  The meeting included a signing by LTC Bliss and Secretary Dunn of the long-awaited River Wall Assessment MOU.

There was a detailed presentation of the Vision Study led by William Collins, who serves as the technical advisor to Delaware Canal 21.  The ensuing discussion concerned the various projects being championed by Delaware Canal 21 and collaborating organizations such as D&L, the William Penn Foundation, and the Heritage Conservancy.  Specific Delaware Canal 21 projects discussed in detail included the comprehensive Back-up Watering Pump Plan, which includes the pump in Durham that was reinstalled last year through efforts led by Delaware Canal 21, and additional pumps planned near Marshall Island and in Point Pleasant.  It was announced at the meeting that Met-Ed and the First Energy Foundation have committed to a $5,000 challenge grant to support the costs associated with the Marshall Island pump.  Also discussed was the comprehensive Storm Water Damage Mitigation Study, and the future creation of the first Delaware Canal Operations and Maintenance manual.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to assemble such an esteemed group of thought leaders here today, all of whom share a passion for our Delaware Canal,” said Allen Black, Chairman of Delaware Canal 21.  “Without the support of the people in this room, improvements to the Canal’s care and well-being could easily end up just being a bunch of things to dream about or complain about.  At Delaware Canal 21 we are all about getting things done and in this room today are the people who can make it all happen.”

[From L to R: DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn; Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bliss, Commander of the Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers; and State Rep. Marguerite Quinn]

“We greatly appreciate the efforts and determination of Delaware Canal 21 and their partners,” said DCNR Secretary Dunn.  “It is often said that for change to happen it often ‘takes a village’ and that is exactly what Delaware Canal 21 and its partners have created.  The energy in this room is truly palpable.”

Internationally Known Canal Consultants to Tour Delaware Canal at Our Request

Delaware Canal 21 has arranged for consultants from The Canals Group to assess the nearly 200-year-old Delaware Canal and advise Delaware Canal 21 and the Delaware Canal State Park about the scope and cost of preparing a detailed Operating & Maintenance Manual to guide park staff in its day-to-day management of the Canal. The consultants will be working with DCNR staff, Delaware Canal 21 executive director Debra Wolf Goldstein, and a number of Delaware Canal 21 board members and technical advisors. The Canals Group is a consulting firm headquartered in Ontario that specializes in all aspects of canal operations, planning, and maintenance, with experience throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Delaware Canal 21 to host stakeholder meeting to roll out Visioning Study

On May 10, 2016 Delaware Canal 21 is holding an invitation-only luncheon at the Black Bass in Lumberville to roll out the recommendations of the new Delaware Canal Visioning Study.  Delaware Canal 21 initiated efforts to raise funds for the  $225,000 long-range study from the William Penn Foundation, and partnered with Delaware & Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor and consultant Simone Collins to make this exciting project a reality.  Attending are DCNR top management, area legislators and other elected state, county, and municipal officials, representatives of stakeholder groups, and the press.


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