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

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DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation’s economic impact study for Delaware state parks praised at Tower 3 lighting ceremony

LEWES – Against the backdrop of the ceremonial lighting of the World War Two-era Tower 3 at Delaware Seashore State Park, Governor John Carney, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and other officials today lauded the positive economic impact DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation has in Delaware. Gov. Carney announced the results of the first-ever independent economic impact study of Delaware’s 16 state parks.

The study, conducted by Rockport Analytics, shows that in FY2016, nearly $400 million was generated by out-of-state park visitors, with spending assessed at about $245 per visitor on various goods and services in the state.

“The economic impact of our state parks on our economy is tremendous,” said Gov. Carney. “Our state parks provide Delawareans and visitors with fun things to do, but also support nearly 6,700 full and part-time jobs across the state and made a significant contribution to state and local taxes. We are proud of our state parks and their positive impact on the economy and quality of life in Delaware.”

The study also shows that:

  • For every dollar of operating general fund tax dollar support state parks receive, $40 was returned in economic activity. That is more than the return of neighboring states, including Maryland ($18), Virginia ($13), and Pennsylvania ($12).
  • If there were no Delaware state parks system, each Delaware household would need to pay an average of $151 in additional state and local taxes in order to maintain current levels of tax receipts.
  • In 2016, nearly $53 million in state and local taxes were generated by the parks system, including $12 million in hotel taxes, $4.7 million in income taxes and $9.5 million in property taxes.

“These statistics support our belief that our parks are a significant economic engine for Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The figures show that every time someone visits a state park, they are not only enjoying Delaware’s recreational opportunities, but they are also contributing to the state’s economy. Every dollar the State invests comes back by a multiple of 40 in economic activity in Delaware. Most importantly, parks visitors can be assured that they are supporting all of the amazing programs that our parks provide.”

Tower 3 is one of the landmark concrete WWII-era fire towers used for Delaware’s coastal defense. During the announcement, nine cobalt lights surrounding the tower at the park were lit, the color intended to match the lights on the Indian River Bridge, and to help birds navigate around them.

Ten years in the making, the restoration of Tower 3 was a partnership among the Fort Miles Historical Association, the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation and DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation. The foundation provided $130,000 in startup funds, while the association provided the manpower with its “Bunker Busters” cleanup crew. The $60,000 restoration includes new pavement and the large lights around the base of the tower.

The foundation seeks to raise more funds to complete the restoration project; members officially kicked off a fundraising campaign during the event. Members were recently informed by the Longwood Foundation that it will provide a $130,000 matching grant to continue restoration efforts. The foundation now aims to raise another $300,000 to install a staircase inside the tower to provide further access for the public.

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

Vol. 48, No. 27

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DNREC, DDA prepare to respond to Delaware Supreme Court’s Dec. 7 decision allowing firearms in state parks and forests

DOVER – The Delaware Supreme Court, by decision dated Dec. 7, 2017 in the matter of Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club, LTD, overturned a Superior Court ruling and ended a ban on visitors’ possessing firearms in Delaware’s state parks and state forests. Pursuant to the ruling, visitors may now possess firearms unless they are prohibited by law due to a past conviction for a violent crime, active Protection from Abuse Order, or mental health commitment. Following the Court’s decision to invalidate the existing regulations limiting firearms in state parks and forests, and some Division of Fish & Wildlife properties, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Department of Agriculture anticipate issuing interim firearm regulations early next week. The interim regulations would respect the State Constitutional provisions on firearms cited by the Court, by implementing the State’s interest in ensuring the safety of the public in a less restrictive manner.

The State anticipates that these interim regulations would prohibit firearms in certain public facilities and designated areas – including park offices, visitors’ centers, bathhouses, zoos, educational facilities, dormitories, group camping areas, swimming pools, guarded beaches, stadiums and water parks. In addition, the regulations would allow holders of valid Delaware concealed carry permits to carry within parks, including designated areas. The regulations would further allow active-duty law enforcement officers and qualified retired officers to carry anywhere within the parks and other areas affected by Supreme Court decision.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9064

Vol. 47, No. 266

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

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, and Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), invite the public to #OptOutside this Black Friday by visiting Delaware State Parks. This year, visitors can enjoy free entry to 15 state parks on Black Friday, Nov. 24, and the Brandywine Zoo is joining in on the outdoor fun and will also be waiving admission all day.

“The ‘Opt Outside’ event has become 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 15 parks across the state, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Those willing to forego marathon shopping and opt instead for a day of hiking, biking, and adventuring will find more than 100 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 third year that DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will be participating in the event, along with more than 700 organizations and seven million people nationwide.

All Delaware State Parks’ gates will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, with the exception of Fort Delaware State Park, which is closed for the season. In addition, park offices will be closed. 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.

Vol. 47, No. 246

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