DNREC Releases Answers to Questions, Survey Results About Fenwick Island State Park Proposal

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has released the answers to publicly-asked questions about the possible location of an electrical interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park bringing power from a proposed offshore wind farm, as well as results of a public survey about possible improvements to the park. 

Last year, Ørsted requested that DNREC consider allowing electric cables from the company’s proposed Maryland offshore Skipjack Wind Farm to connect underground to a possible interconnection facility on Fenwick Island park property. DNREC took public comment on a number of possible improvements to the park that could be funded by Ørsted if the interconnection were allowed within the park, with the comment period extended to earlier this year. DNREC has not made a decision on the use of Fenwick Island State Park as a landing for the power produced from the proposed wind farm.

The answers released Wednesday clarified that DNREC is “considering the proposal to allow an interconnection facility to be installed at Fenwick Island State Park to direct power from the proposed Skipjack Wind Farm. The proposed wind farm itself is authorized by the state of Maryland, but an interconnection is proposed to be located in Delaware. The wind farm developer, Ørsted, would provide park improvements as part of the project. This proposal is separate from regulatory considerations of the wind farm, which is proposed to be developed regardless of Parks’ involvement.”

Other statements made in response to public questions about the possible interconnection within the park and the possible park improvements included:

  • “If the project is determined to move forward by the DNREC Secretary, the next step requires detailed planning and all associated permitting.”
  • “DNREC will not allow negative impacts to wetlands. Any unacceptable impacts to the environment will not be entertained.”
  • “A review of impacts to living resources (e.g. marine mammals, sea turtles, horseshoe crabs, birds, bats) would be conducted as part of the permitting process. Time of year restrictions are often placed on projects to protect living resources.”
  • “The proposed infrastructure improvements would remove a row of parking closest to the dune to allow the area to naturalize again and give the dune additional space to move. In addition, any new infrastructure would be designed to allow for dune movement.”
  • “Fenwick Island State Park has seen an increase in visitation as a result of increased visitors and development in the surrounding area. Regardless of any proposed amenities, the park is expected to only grow in popularity and stress existing infrastructure that is undersized for the demand. The proposed amenities will add capacity for the park and improve flow and experience for visitors.”

The public process about the possible interconnection and park improvements produced numerous questions about the offshore component of the Skipjack Wind Farm, including the distance of turbines to the shoreline, the location of wind energy areas in relation to fishing, the impacts of the wind farm on recreation, fisheries, and navigation. The DNREC answers noted that many of these questions are most appropriately addressed by Ørsted and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

DNREC received 2,692 survey submissions that gave feedback on the proposed park improvements, which include methods for increasing public safety and relieving traffic congestion, upgraded infrastructure and the addition of new recreational amenities to meet the needs of increased visitation.

Of those who completed the survey, 44% said they would like DNREC to renovate the existing parking area and/or create additional parking facilities, 32% want the bathhouse and restroom facilities to be renovated and expanded, 13% would like additional food concessionaires and 12% felt the proposed improvements would improve traffic flow and parking at Fenwick Island State Park.  

Respondents also ranked proposed amenities from first to last, with walking paths to connect Fenwick Island, a nature center and additional food concessions the most popular.

To see the survey results and read the questions and answers, go to www.destateparks.com/FenwickImprovements.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov


DNREC announces 15,500 surf-fishing permits issued this year, restricts sales locations

The Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control announces it has issued 15,500 of this year’s 17,000 available surf-fishing permits. In 2019, the Delaware’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Council established a 17,000 cap on annual surf-fishing permit sales as the most equitable way to serve all beach users, manage a limited resource and protect against overcrowding of parks beaches.

Starting Thursday, the Division of Parks & Recreation will reduce the number of locations where surf-fishing permits may be purchased; online sales will be unavailable. The following locations will issue surf-fishing permits until the 17,000 cap is reached:

Bellevue State Park: 800 Carr Road, Wilmington

Cape Henlopen State Park: 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes

Killens Pond State Park: 5025 Killens Pond Road, Felton

Indian River Life-Saving Station: 25039 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach

Surf-fishing permit transfers and replacements are also available at these sites. As a courtesy prior to reaching the 15,500 mark this year, the division issued an e-newsletter and contacted those who purchased surf-fishing permits in 2018 and 2019.

Novice surf anglers are encouraged to view the Surf Fishing at Delaware State Parks informational video that explains surf-fishing rules and regulations in Delaware, what equipment is needed, how to drive on the beach and what to do if a vehicle gets stuck in the sand. There are no current restrictions for non-vehicle, walk-on fishing for those with a valid Division of Fish & Wildlife fishing license. Walk-on surf anglers should only use pedestrian foot traffic access points to access surf-fishing beaches and should use caution near drive-on access points. 

Surf-fishing permits also serve as a Delaware State Parks Annual Pass that provides access to all 17 state parks. Park user fees, including surf-fishing permit fees, provide 65% of the Division of Parks & Recreation’s funding, and are used to operate and maintain the parks.

To learn more about fishing in Delaware State Parks, visit destateparks.com/Adventures/Fishing.

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 Division of Parks & Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC to resume state park campground rentals June 1

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will reopen its campgrounds in Delaware State Parks Monday in response to Governor John Carney’s removal of the emergency ban on short-term rental units starting June 1. The mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers will also be lifted Monday.

Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced that the State of Delaware will lift the ban on short-term rental units and the quarantine on June 1 as part of the rolling reopening of Delaware’s economy.

All state park campsites, cabins, cottages and yurts were temporarily closed from March 24 through May 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of Parks & Recreation issued refunds for reservations through May 31. The current liberal cancelation policy will remain in effect through June 15, allowing those with reservations to cancel them and receive a full refund.

Camping is available after June 1 at the following state parks:

Cape Henlopen: Tents, RVs, cabins

Delaware Seashore: Tents, RVs

Indian River Marina: Cottages

Killens Pond: Tents, RVs, cabins

Lums Pond: Tents, RVs, yurts

Trap Pond: Tents, RVs, yurts, cabins

All cabins and cottages will be sanitized by a professional cleaning service between rentals to allow Parks staff to focus on cleaning common park areas. Some amenities will remain closed until further notice, including nature centers and playgrounds, due to COVID-19.

Campers are required to heed all current safety protocols in Delaware State Parks in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19. All visitors to Delaware State Parks must carry a face mask or other cloth covering and wear it in restrooms, any other enclosed space and when social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained between members of different households. When camping, visitors are encouraged to report any safety concerns to a Campground Host or the park’s office.

To reserve a campsite, go to destateparks.com/reservations or call 1-877-98 PARKS (1-877-987-2757).

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

 

 


Beach Restrictions To Be Lifted, Visitor Numbers Limited In State Parks For Memorial Day Weekend

Delawareans will resume activities such as swimming and sunbathing on Delaware State Park beaches for Memorial Day weekend, with existing restrictions on beaches being lifted by the Governor effective Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. Out-of-state visitors who have maintained a 14-day quarantine since entering the state are also allowed to resume activity on Delaware beaches.

Since March, beach activities had been limited to exercising, dog-walking and restricted surf fishing as part of precautions against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Adequate social distancing on the beaches remain a concern and will be closely monitored as the restrictions are modified. 

To carry out Gov. Carney’s phased reopening of Delaware beaches, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following for state parks:

Current restrictions on beach activity will be lifted starting 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22. Sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, surfing, kayaking, walk-on surf fishing and other activities will be allowed to resume for Delawareans and for those from out-of-state who have quarantined 14 days.

At least 6-foot distance will be required on beaches among those from different households, and groups of visitors from the same household may be no larger than 10. Masks or face coverings are encouraged to be worn on beaches.

Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will have capacity limits – between 50 and 70% of parking spaces – that will be enforced at entrances and with closure of parking spaces.

Visitors must bring face coverings, such as masks or bandanas, with them when entering state parks. Within state parks, face coverings must be worn in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in bathhouses, park offices, concession buildings, boat docks, and trails and paths where others are present.

Beach-area bathrooms and bathhouses will open May 22. Most bathrooms in other state parks around the state will also open, but some will remain closed due to distancing/cleaning considerations.

Cleaning services will be increased to multiple times per day at all open bathrooms and bathhouses.

For surf fishing, the emergency limit on number of persons per vehicle will be lifted and now only one person will need to be actively fishing. But 20-foot distancing between vehicles will be required and drive-on beaches may be closed by officers to additional vehicles when the carrying capacity to implement social distancing is not possible.

State Park offices will open Thursday, May 21, and will require credit cards for purchases. Face masks must be worn when entering park offices.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase Annual Passes to avoid anticipated delays for daily entrance payments. 

Annual Pass and Surf-Fishing Permit sales resume availability at all park offices starting Thursday, and are available online at destateparks.com.

Daily park entrance fees will only be collected via the automated credit card machines or self-registration envelopes provided at park entrances for those without annual passes or permits.

Camping and pavilion reservations at all state parks have been canceled through May 31. Full refunds will be issued, and no further action is required by the customer. Should the Governor’s state of emergency closure of camping be extended beyond June 1, further cancellations will occur at that time.

State park daily entrance fees for vehicles registered in Delaware are $4 at inland parks and $5 at ocean parks. Fees for out-of-state vehicles are $8 at inland parks and $10 at ocean parks. Annual park entrance passes are $35 for Delawareans and $70 for out-of-state, with discounted rates for military and for those on state or federal assistance, including those on unemployment. For information on pass and permit fees, go to destateparks.com/Know/passestagsfees.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov.


DNREC Campgrounds and Playgrounds to Close March 24

DOVER, Del. – As part of precautions against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will close its Delaware State Park campgrounds and playgrounds Tuesday, March 24, and cancel campground reservations scheduled through May 15. Full refunds will be issued for reservations scheduled during that time.

While state parks and wildlife areas are currently open, all state park campsites, cabins, cottages, yurts and playgrounds will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.  Buildings such as park offices and nature centers remain closed, and programs and tours are canceled. Additionally, beach access from within Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks is prohibited at this time. Parking and fishing at the Indian River Inlet within Delaware Seashore State Park is permitted at this time. All conditions are subject to change.

Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people.

Refunds and reservation cancellations will be processed by the Delaware State Parks reservation vendor. Additional questions can be handled at the call center at 1-877-98 PARKS (1-877-987-2757).

Governor John Carney on Sunday issued the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The orders go into effect Tuesday, March 24, and will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages 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 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 @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Contact: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov

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