Electrified Bearproofing Device Nearly Kills Little Girl at Delaware Water Gap

On Friday afternoon, a seven-year old girl from Slate Hill, New York, was nearly killed when she stepped on an electrified device at the historic Delaware View House in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area The victim, who had reportedly stopped breathing after being electrocuted, was treated by rangers before being flown to Morristown Memorial Hospital. She was later reported to be in satisfactory condition.

The Delaware View House, a big Greek Revival structure originally built as a farmhouse in 1837, sits on a bluff overlooking the Delaware River and Flatbrookville, New Jersey. The historic structure, which once served as a resort for Russian émigrés, has been partly restored and is now being operated as a general store under the terms of a 40-year lease extending to 2030.

The electrical device that the little girl came into contact with had been installed to ward off black bears. It apparently was not commercially available portable electric fencing of the type sometimes used to protect campsites and hunting camps, but rather a makeshift device. The general store, which attracts nearly all of its business on weekends, was not open at the time of the accident.

The Delaware View House leaseholder was arrested, charged with maintaining a hazardous device on federal land, and released. The incident is now under investigation.