DNREC Sec. Garvin joins State Sen. Hocker, State Rep. Gray, at ribbon-cutting at Holts Landing State Park

Cutting the ribbon (left to right): Parks & Recreation Director Ray Bivens, State Rep. Ronald Gray, State Sen. Gerald Hocker, DNREC Sec. Shawn M. Garvin, and Friends of Holts Landing State Park President Robert Printz, with a group of children from Ocean View.

DAGSBORO – DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin was joined by State Senator Gerald Hocker, State Representative Ronald Gray, and other supporters at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate numerous new enhancements at Holts Landing State Park in Dagsboro.

Improvements include a new playground, an improved, A.D.A.-accessible hiking trail, and a freshly-paved parking area and roadway.

“Since 2016, the Division of Parks & Recreation, with the financial support of Senator Gerald Hocker and Representative Ronald Gray, along with the tireless support of the Friends of Holts Landing State Park, have undertaken a number of projects to enhance the visitor experience at this oasis on the southern shore of the Indian River Bay,” said Secretary Garvin. “I thank Senator Hocker and Representative Gray, the Friends of Holts Landing State Park, and the Division of Parks & Recreation, for making these many improvements possible.”

Construction is also underway on a new boardwalk that will stretch more than 600 feet across marsh to complete the Sea Hawk trail loop, and a viewing platform that will overlook the marsh.

Media Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation to sponsor Yorklyn Day Festival celebrating community Sunday, June 2

YORKLYN – The third annual Yorklyn Day Festival, sponsored by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, will be held 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2 in Yorklyn. The event is a partnership between DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, the Center for Creative Arts, the Marshall Steam Museum, Yorklyn Pool, and Dew Point Brewing Co.

At the new Auburn Valley State Park, the Marshall Mansion and Marshall Steam Museum will be open from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., with steam car and miniature train rides, and mansion tours. The Wilmington & Western Railroad’s Doodlebug train will be offering rides from Yorklyn to Hockessin and back. Representatives from DNREC will also be on hand to discuss the progress on revitalization of the former NVF site, as well as the new Marshall Family Bridge, the first in a series of repurposed historic iron-truss bridges brought from all over the country to serve community trail users at Auburn Valley State Park.

Activities are stationed in numerous areas, almost all within convenient walking distance to the new Auburn Valley State Parks trails. Food trucks will be on hand to serve a variety of culinary options. Festivities will also include live music, artisans, craft beer, vendors, and non-profit presenters.

Activity hubs will include:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Cozy Quarters Farm pony rides
  • 1 p.m. – Yorklyn Bridge Trail’s Kid Zone and Jungle John’s Dinosaur Show
  • 2:30 p.m. – Live Reptile Show
  • 3:30 p.m. – Conservation Connections’ free-flighted bird program

Other activities will include: the Juggling Hoffmans, nature presentations, and crafts; the Center for Creative Arts “Art Zone,” featuring live music, an artisans market and art sales, adult beverages, and children’s art activities; the “Dew Point Zone” with live music, lawn games, ping-pong, disc golf baskets, craft beer, and vendors; and Yorklyn Pool Pickle Ball demonstrations, with an opportunity to try your hand at this new craze.

Event parking is headquartered at H. B. Middle School, 735 Meeting House Road, Hockessin, DE 19707. School buses will transport visitors to and from the school to the event site every fifteen minutes, with smaller shuttle buses transporting throughout the activity areas. Handicapped parking on the event site is available at Yorklyn Bridge Trail, 1178 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin, DE 19707. Fees apply to all rides and the house tours.

More information is available at www.YorklynDay.org, on the Yorklyn Day Facebook page, or by calling the Auburn Valley State Park office at 302-729-4280.

Media Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation encourages the public to ‘Plan for Vacation Day’ today

DOVER – Have you planned your vacation yet? DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation encourages you to mark Tuesday, Jan. 29, on your calendars, to join “National Plan for Vacation Day,” reminding Delawareans and out-of-state visitors to beat the crowds and plan their park visits at the start of the year.

Visitors can discover a world of possibilities for vacationing at Delaware’s state parks. You can soak up the sun on a vacation to Cape Henlopen State Park, named one of the most scenic state parks in the country by USA Today. For more fun in the sun, enjoy Delaware Seashore or Fenwick Island state parks. Or, paddle your way through the baldcypress trees at Trap Pond State Park, soar through the trees with GoApe!Treetop Adventure at Lums Pond State Park, or make a splash at the Killens Pond State Park’s Water Park.

“The fact that a record 108,256 nights of lodgings were booked last year, up three-and-a-half percent, is a testament to the excellence of our award-winning state parks,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This is a good reason for Delawareans – and out-of-state-visitors – to plan their vacations in our state parks early, and not wait till warm weather, so they won’t miss out on the adventures and experiences that await in our 17 parks throughout the state.”

Perhaps best of all, the Division of Parks & Recreation is offering 50 percent savings on weeknight camping, cabin or yurt stays through May 15, which can be used now. Just enter the code SMORES5019 at checkout to take advantage of the offer. Some restrictions may apply, so learn more on www.destateparks.com.

A recent study by the U.S. Travel Association found that 54 percent of Americans don’t use all of their vacation time each year, leaving 659 million paid vacation days unused. Aside from letting earned vacation days go to waste, studies have found that vacation is essential for strong bonds with family and friends, a productive workforce, and a fulfilled life.

So what are you waiting for? Plan your vacation now at Delaware’s state parks and take advantage of the 50 percent savings.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No.15

Division of Parks & Recreation to offer free admission to State Parks and the Brandywine Zoo on Black Friday

“The ‘Opt Outside’ event is now a tradition at DNREC’s Delaware state parks, and the numbers of visitors are increasing each year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Between the Brandywine Zoo and our parks across the state, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Those willing to forego shopping and opt instead for a day of hiking, biking, and adventuring will find more than 150 miles of trails to explore throughout Delaware, spectacular locations for bird and wildlife watching, scenic beaches, and much more.”

The Opt Outside movement, started by REI in 2015, encourages families and friends across the nation to ditch the retail madness and get outdoors on Black Friday. The 16 million-member outdoor co-op sets an example by shutting its doors, and giving its 12,000 employees a paid day off.

This is the fourth year that DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will be participating in the event, joining more than 700 organizations and seven million people nationwide.

All Delaware state parks’ gates will open at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23, with the exception of Fort Delaware State Park, which is closed for the season. The Brandywine Zoo will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public can use the hashtag #OptOutside on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to show support and invite family and friends to join the movement.

Visit destateparks.com for park locations and more fun ideas on how to get outside on Black Friday.

Media Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

DNREC’s White Clay Creek State Park sustains flood damage, forcing closures and cancellations

The logo for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ControlNEWARK – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation has announced that White Clay Creek State Park sustained damage from flooding due to heavy rains this morning, forcing closure of some parts of the park and cancellation of affiliated activities as follows:

  • The Chambers Rock Road parking lot is inaccessible due to heavy flooding and is closed until further notice. The park’s day camp has been cancelled for the week.
  • Creek Road, north of Hopkins Road, offering access to the park’s Nature Center will be closed to all traffic until further notice. The bridge spanning one of the tributaries feeding the White Clay Creek has moved off its abutments. Parks officials advised that no bridge crossing should be attempted by any means.
  • Multiple trees have fallen across trails, along with erosion occurring on some trails. Trail users should exercise caution when visiting the park within the next few weeks.
  • Hopkins Road was closed by New Castle County Police this morning, allowing parks staff to clear heavy debris from the roadway. The Delaware Department of Transportation cleared the roads and installed barrels as barriers in heavily-eroded culverts.
  • Park users can contact the park office at 302-368-6900 to report issues. Division of Parks & Recreation staff continue to assess further damage at this time.

As always with flooding events, park visitors should not access the water for fishing, swimming, canoeing, or any other recreational activities until flood waters subside.

Media contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 223