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New management taking over first American golf course commissioned by a woman — and it’s inside a National Parks property

Milford Hospitality Group (MHG) has entered lease negotiations with the National Park Service (NPS) to operate the historic Cliff Park Inn & Golf Course in Dingman Township, Pike County, within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA).

The course has plenty of historic value as it is believed to be the first in the United States to be commissioned by a woman. Annie R. Buchanan was a widow who oversaw the building of the golf course at Cliff Park at the turn of the 20th Century. The farm fields at the old Buchanan homestead weren’t productive, so Buchanan hired golfer Frank Hyatt to turn her fields into fairways. In 1928, according to her grandson Harry Buchanan, Annie took a trip to China, alone. “She was not a woman to be pushed around,” Buchanan said.

In the early 1900s, when silent film companies visited Milford to make movies, the rugged cliffs in the area overlooking the Delaware River were used for scenes.

MHG plans to maintain a public golf course for all to enjoy the benefits and beauty of Cliff Park, restore and reopen the inn and restaurant, and offer other unspecified public amenities. The project, done in phases, is expected to create approximately 45 temporary full-time jobs during construction and once fully operational, provide around 25 full-time jobs at the resort.

The inn has been vacant since 2012 while the nine-hole golf course has continued to be operated by another lessee, whose lease expires this fall. The resort is accessed from Milford Road (SR 2001).

In January, the NPS issued a request for proposals for leases to take the entire property, including the golf course, inn, restaurant and other outlying buildings on the 54-acre site. According to MHG, the inn is dilapidated, and the golf course needs improvements and upgrades.

MHG hopes to become the operator of the golf course. Its plans are also to renovate and reopen the inn, restaurant, banquet center, pro shop and other outlying buildings.

“We are honored to have been chosen for this unique opportunity, which aligns perfectly with our mission to provide world-class entertainment experiences in Historic Milford, PA,” said William Rosado, president and owner of Milford Hospitality Group. “We look forward to engaging in fruitful negotiations with the National Park Service and are committed to complying with all NPS leasing regulations throughout the process.”

According to the NPS DEWA, there was an attempt in 2012 to lease the property, but there were no bidders then. “Without occupants the maintenance backlog accrued more quickly,” the NPS states. “There are nearly 700 other buildings at the park, 285 of which are historic, which compete for limited maintenance, funding, and staffing resources.”

In 2022, approximately 3,000 rounds of golf were played at Cliff Park.

A view from the tee box of hole No. 2 at Cliff Park Inn and Golf Course in Milford. Photo: POCONO RECORD

NPS purchased the Cliff Park Inn & Golf Course, and approximately 500 acres, in 2003 to protect the property from development.

About 60 years ago, Harry Buchanan, the former Cliff Park owner, made a promise to make it part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. If the property had been sold and developed for housing, the public would have lost access to the trails, the inn, and the golf course forever, the NPS states.

MHG is the owner and operator of historic inns, hotels, restaurants, bars, and event venues throughout Milford. This includes three hotels, Tom Quick Inn, Hotel Fauchère and La Posad; and six restaurants, Tom Quick Inn, Jive Bar & Lounge, Bar Louis, The Delmonico Room, La Posada & Felix’s Cantina, and Apple Valley Restaurant.

“MHG looks forward to continuing a close and cooperative relationship with the NPS throughout this process and under the potential new lease agreement,” the group’s press release states.



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