- Outdoor Guide
- Sponsored Content
Local activist Noel van Swol dies in car crash
By Lissa Harris
10/16/12 - 2:44 pm
10/16/12 - 2:44 pm
Above: Noel van Swol, in a screenshot from a 2011 YouTube video from Energy In Depth's Northeast Marcellus Initiative. In the video, van Swol cites the Anti-Rent Wars as a precedent for the pro-gas-drilling movement in upstate New York, and tells an interviewer, "We are not an economic colony of the Delaware River Basin Commission, New York City, Philadelphia or Trenton. We own this area. We have property rights."
Noel van Swol, a 70-year-old Long Eddy man who was well-known in the area for championing pro-drilling activism and other causes, died in a car accident Monday. The Times Herald-Record reports:
The Long Eddy resident was retuning from a pro-gas drilling rally in Albany when he apparently went into a diabetic coma while driving and went off the road and crashed not far from his home, said his mother Tuesday morning.
“He was a wonderful son,” said his mother who was too distraught to speak after answering the phone.
Van Swol was the president of the Sullivan-Delaware Property Owners Association.
The River Reporter's Fritz Mayer has more on van Swol's long history with community activism, which ranged from property rights to local school issues:
The Long Eddy resident was also a fierce critic of the formation of the Upper Delaware River into a Wild and Scenic River managed by the National Park Service (NPS). In a document dating back to 1986, reporter Tom Rue wrote that van Swol was one of a number of NPS opponents who turned out to a meeting and shouted loudly for 90 minutes preventing any individuals from offering testimony about the plan for the proposed River Management Plan,
Rue wrote, “After about 90 minutes, van Swol took the speaker's microphone and announced, ‘We're going to suspend the rules and run a democratic meeting here.’" He then delivered remarks and introduced other unscheduled speakers.
van Swol was also a critic of the merging of the Delaware Valley, Narrowsburg, Jeffersonville-Youngsville school districts into the Sullivan West Central School District 1999, and was voted onto the Sullivan West School board in a wave of voter disenchantment with the merger in 2006. Later that year he called for and eventually received an investigation by the NYS Attorney General into whether there were voting irregularities into the voting that resulted in the merger.
Van Swol will be missed deeply in Sullivan County, even by some who didn't agree with him. Local activist and writer Liz Bucar, a longtime foe of gas drilling who often crossed swords with van Swol, wrote a tribute to him on Facebook today:
It's impossible to believe that such a force could be stilled in a single moment. For thirty years we engaged as allies or opponents on the major issues that have shaped decades of Sullivan County history. We argued endlessly, shared Christmas cards and brought everything we had to the battle. Farewell, traveler.
Adam Bosch, a former Times Herald reporter who currently works for Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, also commented about van Swol's death on Facebook:
Incredibly sad news. I got to know Noel a little while covering Sullivan County for three years. Some people agreed with his strong views, some people detested them. But in light of his tragic death, you have to admire him for doing what so many others shy away from - getting involved and contributing ideas to the region where he lived.
|WCCRC Invites MBE / WBE Businesses To Be On Approved Contractor List|
|Seeking Grant Writer / Manager|
|Get Grilling and Countdown to Memorial Day Weekend!|
|Open Saurday, May 11, Lunch starting at noon|
|Andes Hotel Announcing Andes BBQ Company|
|A new face at the Pop-Up Market|
|Beeswax + catnip for all at the Pop-Up market|
|Handmade candles and soaps at the Pop-Up Market|
|Celebrate summer's beginning with The Sheep's Nest|
|LIFETIME workmanship warranty on all new roofs!|
|Vinyl siding and roof, Colchester, NY|
|Nominate your house for a free roof by Sunday|
|For rent: High traffic commercial space near Phoenicia|
|Tay Home's first event of the season !|
|MOTHER'S DAY EVENT @ TAY HOME!|
|Fleischmanns' largest street fair of the season comes on Saturday, May 25|
|Re-open Friday with new yummy menu.|
|Artists from the Juilliard School to perform at the Cyr Center|
|Water & Land: May 2013 IPM Workshop|
|Catskills Farmlink: Why Farm the Catskills?|
|Farm Tour: May 17|
|Kick off our 2013 season and the beginning of summer...come to our first performance of the season and get down!|
|Whimsical Metal Sculptures by John Jackson|
|Tamarack log style bedroom set|
|New youth bedroom set, now in stock!|
|New upholstery collection now in stock!|
|Check out our new logo and facebook page NOW! Thanks....|
|Gardenfest2013! And So We Danced...|
|Gardenfest2013! May 11th 10am-3pm|
|Edelweiss exclusive @$519,000|
|Catskill Honeymoon Cottage, exclusive @$149,000|
|How Primroses avoid incest!!!|
|Spring! OPEN! Spring! We've missed You!|
|Picturing America: Free Workshops Continue on National & Local History|
|RAILS TO THE CATSKILLS - Update|
|The 4 Seasons in Kortright|
|This Saturday: Tour a 5th-generation dairy farm|
|MOTHER’S DAY & WEEKEND SPECIALS|