DNREC, LaVida Hospitality Will Not Proceed With Cape Henlopen State Park Restaurant Proposal

 DNREC announced a restaurant proposal for Cape Henlopen State Park will not proceed, and that additional visitor surveys and site reviews will be conducted prior to future RFPs for visitor enhancements to the park’s main beach area.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and La Vida Hospitality have mutually decided not to move forward at this time with a proposed restaurant for Cape Henlopen State Park, DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens announced during a public meeting about the project Monday evening at Cape Henlopen High School.

La Vida Hospitality LLC was awarded a publicly bid one-year contract by DNREC in April to manage the existing main beach food concession while both parties conducted due diligence on La Vida’s proposal to extend the contract and build a restaurant at the park’s main beach area. DNREC determined that the necessary environmental review and contract negotiation could not be completed by the contract’s expiration date of Dec. 31 and with La Vida Hospitality LLC in agreement, has chosen to the end the project.

The proposed restaurant came from a request for proposal (RFP) to manage the park’s main beach area concession, which includes food service and amenity rentals such as chairs and umbrellas, with the potential for added services such as a restaurant. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation initiated an extensive review process for the proposed project in May, which included review of the natural and cultural resources, a public comment period and internal contract evaluation.

The division will continue to gather data regarding natural and cultural resources in the area and to seek public input regarding the levels of service provided at the site as it proceeds with planning improvements to amenities at the main beach area, including the existing Sen. David B. McBride Bathhouse and the north day-use beach crossing.

Needed improvements for Cape Henlopen State Park include expanded food service, ADA-accessible restrooms and beach crossings. Location, hours of operation, traffic, lighting and noise restrictions will remain key considerations with any improvements.

DNREC also announced today that additional visitor surveys and site reviews will be conducted prior to future RFPs for visitor enhancements to the area.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###

 

 

 

 


DNREC to Host Public Meeting Dec. 5 on Proposed Restaurant for Cape Henlopen State Park

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a public meeting to solicit feedback on the potential of a new restaurant at Cape Henlopen State Park Monday, Dec. 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cape Henlopen High School auditorium. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation will share a presentation about the proposal and gather public input on the proposed restaurant which would be located at the north side of the park’s main beach parking lot.

The proposed restaurant came from a publicly bid request for proposal (RFP) to manage the park’s main beach area concession, which includes amenity rentals such as chairs and umbrellas, with the potential for expanded visitor services. The RFP was spurred by visitor surveys, which showed park users wanted a higher level of food service and improvements to visitor amenities. The Cape Henlopen State Park concession contract was issued for a term of one year, with exclusive rights to negotiate with DNREC for an extension of up to 24 years.

La Vida Hospitality LLC was awarded the contract by DNREC in April to manage the existing main beach food concession. As part of that agreement, there was a provision for researching the feasibility of adding a restaurant and new restrooms, with time set aside allowing both parties to conduct due diligence before any final decisions are made regarding the proposed restaurant.

Additionally, as part of that research, Division of Parks and Recreation staff continue to gather data regarding natural and cultural resources in the area, and seek public input regarding the levels of service provided at the site – such as accessibility, restrooms and improved food service. The upcoming public meeting continues that outreach effort.

The division also held an open house at Cape Henlopen State Park in June to share information and gather public feedback about capital projects and proposed planning efforts, including the proposed restaurant, to improve the park’s amenities and conserve Cape Henlopen’s natural and cultural resources. DNREC extended a public comment period following that meeting and shared the feedback received with the Parks and Recreation Council during its Nov. 3 quarterly meeting, at which public comment on the potential project also was accepted.

Anyone unable to attend the Dec. 5 public meeting but wanting to give feedback on the proposed restaurant may do so by visiting destateparks.com/contact and selecting “Cape Henlopen Restaurant Proposal” from the Delaware State Parks location drop-down menu.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

###


Arrest on Charge of DUI Made After Newark Man Drives Vehicle Into Surf on Navy Beach at Cape Henlopen

Delaware Natural Resources Police State Park officers arrested 48-year-old Donald R. Quill Jr. of Newark, Del. on a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) and additional traffic violations Thursday evening after he drove his vehicle into the ocean on Cape Henlopen.

At approximately 7:20 p.m., on Sept. 8, officers responded to Cape Henlopen State Park’s Navy Beach following a report of a water rescue in progress. Witnesses called 911 after seeing a vehicle driven into the surf. Bystanders quickly entered the water and helped the driver from the vehicle and onto shore.

During the Natural Resources Police investigation, officers observed that Quill displayed signs of impairment. He was then transported to Rehoboth Police Department for further investigation, where he was charged with DUI, a misdemeanor, and inattentive driving and operating a motor vehicle on closed Delaware State Parks areas, both traffic violations.

Quill was video-arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $1,502 cash bond and issued a no-contact order with all Delaware State Parks.

Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Captain John McDerby, john.mcderby@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


DNREC to Offer Training For Volunteer Beach-nesting Bird Monitors

A piping plover forages along a Delaware beach in spring of 2020 /DNREC photo

 

Important Effort For Helping to Protect Endangered and Threatened Birds

Volunteers wanting to help protect Delaware’s beach-nesting birds, including federally-listed threatened piping plovers and state-listed endangered American oystercatchers, are invited to join a training session held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 7 at the Cape Henlopen State Park Officers Club (Youth Camp III) Mess Hall located at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes 19958, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today.

The volunteer training session, offered by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife beach-nesting bird monitoring program, will begin with light refreshments and a slideshow presentation, followed by a discussion about the monitoring program and how volunteers can help to ensure that beach-nesting shorebirds are not disturbed while nesting and rearing their chicks during the summer months. Weather permitting, the group will finish the training session by venturing out to the Point at Cape Henlopen to look for piping plovers and other shorebirds likely to be feeding on the tidal flats. Birding scopes and binoculars will be available for use, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own optics if they have them.

Volunteers are an important and valued component of the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s conservation efforts. Stationed on the boundaries of the bird nesting areas, volunteers explain to beachgoers the importance of closing sections of the beach to prevent human disturbance thus helping increase the nesting success of the birds.

Pre-registration for the training is encouraged, but volunteer walk-ups also will be accepted for training as beach-nesting bird monitors. Cape Henlopen State Park entrance fees will be waived for volunteers attending the training. For more information on the training, beach-nesting birds, or volunteer monitoring efforts, visit de.gov/pipingplovers or contact DNREC Coastal Avian Biologist Henrietta Bellman by emailing deshorebirds@delaware.gov.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


Piping Plovers Experience Poor Nest Productivity Year in Delaware

A banded piping plover male photographed in mid-July at Cape Henlopen State Park on Delaware’s Atlantic coast/DNREC photo.

 

DNREC Provides Updates on Other Beach-Nesting Bird Species

Beach-nesting piping plovers experienced poor nest productivity on their breeding grounds in Delaware during 2021, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today in summarizing the rare shorebird species’ nesting success within the state.

Six pairs of piping plovers were recorded nesting at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park with 18 more nesting pairs at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, making for a modern-day record total of 24 breeding pairs. Despite the record number of breeding pairs, piping plovers were less successful in producing only 19 fledglings, young birds that hatched and can fly in leaving their nest. Poor fledgling productivity is suspected to be the result of nest loss from a Memorial Day storm and higher-than-average predation at Fowler Beach.

Record piping plover productivity was documented in Delaware over the previous three years for the federally-listed threatened species and Delaware state-listed endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a goal of 1.5 fledglings per breeding pair in 1996 as part of the piping plover recovery plan, with Delaware’s nesting productivity exceeding that goal from 2018 to 2020. This year, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recorded 19 fledglings, for a productivity rate of 0.8 fledglings per breeding pair. In 2020, 21 breeding pairs were documented, producing 47 fledglings for a productivity rate of 2.2 fledglings/pair.

Delaware’s piping plover recovery effort involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

In other beach-nesting bird species nesting season updates, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park while one pair nested at Delaware Seashore State Park. Although the nest successfully hatched at Delaware Seashore State Park, the chicks did not fledge. A pair of American oystercatchers were observed using the marsh islands of Delaware Seashore State Park and were seen with two chicks that appear to have successfully fledged. Least tern counts were lower than recent years, with only four breeding pairs and four nests found at Cape Henlopen State Park, where only two chicks hatched, and neither of them fledged.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

###