Get Outside, But Protect Yourself

DNREC offers tips to enjoy outdoors safely during the coronavirus period

DOVER, Del. – With entrance fees to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas currently waived, Delawareans are getting outside to stay active and healthy. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers a few tips for enjoying the outdoors safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period:

  • Keep your social distance, even when outside. Enjoy less crowded areas. Limit your group to fewer than 10 people and keep at least 6 feet away from other visitors.
  • Avoid close-contact activities. Instead, fish, hike, paddle board, ride a bicycle or explore nature.
  • Don’t rent or share sports equipment. Use your own binoculars, bike, fishing rod, golf disc, kayak, yoga mat, etc.
  • Wipe down sports equipment before and after use. Disinfect gear with federal recommended products including diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and EPA-registered household disinfectants.
  • Avoid playgrounds. Delaware State Parks has closed all its playgrounds, but they may still be open in other areas. Surfaces like slides and swings have a lot of touch points that could potentially spread the virus.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re sick or have been sick in the past two weeks, please stay home to recuperate.

“If you choose to get outside, please take precautions to protect yourself, your family and your community,” said Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Whether you’re spending time in your own backyard or exploring our state’s nature areas, practice social distancing and be safe. And please watch for possible changing announcement in the interest of public health and safety.”

Delaware State Parks offers Play Outside, a map-based, mobile-friendly app helps visitors find parks, natural areas, trails and more. Filter the search by county and facility to find appropriate options during the coronavirus period. As a reminder, the public is currently prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk their dogs where dogs are permitted. 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. Additional resources are available at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/coronavirus and destateparks.com/Covid19.

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. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Modified upstate stream trout season to open in New Castle County streams

Anglers encouraged to practice responsible social distancing; trout streams closed March 21 until opening

DOVER, Del. –The opening day for Delaware’s spring 2020 upstate stream trout season has been changed to minimize crowds and accommodate responsible outdoor recreation during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) period. Trout season will open several days earlier than planned in seven designated trout streams in northern New Castle County for only youth anglers under age 16 on Monday, March 30 at 7 a.m., followed by the opening of trout season for all anglers on Tuesday, March 31 starting one half-hour before sunrise. Youth anglers can be accompanied by adults but fishing on March 30 should only be by the youth.

Anglers are encouraged to fish in less crowded portions of the streams and practice recommended social distancing while fishing, which is currently six feet from other individuals, approximately the length of some fishing rods.

White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run, and Mill Creek will be stocked with thousands of rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized fish. Trout stocking is planned to continue weekly in April at White Clay Creek and periodically at the other streams prior to or until Thursday, April 30.

All plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations, and any further restrictions or changes to the season will be announced.

Trout anglers planning to fish the New Castle County trout streams should note the following rules and regulations:

  • Stocked trout streams are closed to all fishing from Saturday, March 21 through Sunday, March 29 to accommodate trout stocking, eliminate incidental hooking of trout, and allow stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters, all done to improve trout fishing when the season opens.
  • A Delaware fishing license is required, unless an angler is exempt.
  • A Delaware trout stamp is required until June 30, unless an angler is exempt.
  • Following the opening youth day start at 7 a.m. on March 30, trout fishing at these streams is open one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.
  • The daily possession limit is six trout, except inside or within 50 feet of the designated fly-fishing-only section of White Clay Creek, where the daily possession limit is four trout.

Downstate trout season remains open at Tidbury Pond near Dover and Newton Pond near Greenwood, both of which opened March 7.

Managed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s trout for stocking. The popular fishery also is supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that are generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps are sold online and by license agents statewide that remain open (license sales are suspended at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building in Dover during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak). To purchase a license online or to find a participating agent (agents should be contacted to determine if they are open), visit dnrec.delaware.gov. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

Additional information about Delaware Trout Season is available online. For general information on fishing in Delaware, check out the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available from license agents that remain open.

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 Fish & Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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UPDATE on DNREC operations in response to COVID-19

Events, including private rentals, canceled through May 15;
One-day cleaning period implemented between rentals of State Park cabins and cottages

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

Detailed information about events, meetings and online options is available at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/coronavirus and destateparks.com/Covid19. A few of the updates include:

  • All Department events and programs scheduled from now through May 15 have been canceled, consistent with the Governor’s state of emergency order. The cancellations include private rentals and events at Delaware State Parks sites and facilities, such as picnics, 5Ks and parties. Organizers of events are being notified directly.
  • All state parks and wildlife areas remain open and no entrance fees will be charged through April 30. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices and avoid groupings of people. Annual park passes, good for the entire season, and surf fishing tags should be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office. Purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. Conservation access passes needed for state wildlife areas after April 30 should also be purchased only online or at any third-party agents instead of the Dover office.
  • All state park campsites, cabins, bathhouses, and cottages continue to be open at this time. There will be at least one-day break between rental periods of cabins and cottages to allow for thorough, increased cleanings between guests.
  • Public hearings will be available via phone or video conference. The public will be able to submit comments about the subject of each hearing via email, online form, or regular mail. Verbatim transcripts will be prepared by a court reporter while all exhibits entered into the hearing record will be posted on hearing-specific DNREC webpages. Specific information on how to access each hearing will be posted with individual hearing notices.
  • Sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses, wildlife area conservation access passes and boat registrations will be online transactions only or made at any third-party vendors that remain open. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover but by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Offices remain open, but with limited services. A limited number of staff are onsite, but many personnel are working remotely, and available by email and phone to provide technical assistance to the public, contractors, and environmental consultants on regulatory inquiries and permitting matters.

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 state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


DNREC announces changes to operations in response to COVID-19

Parks, wildlife areas open with no entrance fees until April 30,
but park and wildlife buildings, centers closed to public;
Fishing, hunting, boating licenses, park and conservation passes sales moved online

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

To encourage Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity during the coronavirus period, no fees will be charged or passes required for entrance to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas, effective immediately until April 30.

“Times are challenging and options are few, and this is an opportunity for Delawareans to experience our amazing parks and wildlife areas, to embrace nature while we maintain social distance from each other,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Hopefully, people will enjoy them enough that they will want to keep coming back long after coronavirus has passed, so we encourage people to buy a state park or wildlife conservation area pass online to use for the rest of the season and to support park and wildlife area operations.”

  • State parks and wildlife areas are open, and no entrance fees will be charged from now until April 30. All state park campsite, cabins, bathhouses, cottages continue to be open at this time. Buildings such as park and wildlife area offices and nature centers will close after the end of the day Tuesday, and programs and tours are canceled. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. People can find parks and wildlife areas listed online.
  • As of Wednesday morning, sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses conservation passes for vehicle access to wildlife areas and boat registrations will occur online only or at any third-party vendors that remain open, instead of in person at DNREC’s Dover office. Annual park passes good for the entire season and surf fishing tags should also be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office; purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Hearings for permits, regulations and appeals are being moved to phone or video for public access. Details on how to access any hearings will be posted with the official hearing notices.

Most Department-related events and programs, including tours, trainings and special events have been postponed, including the Junior Solar Sprint competition for middle-school students at Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover campus April 2, the volunteer training April 4 for the annual horseshoe crab spawning survey and the “Make a Splash” water education event for elementary students at the St. Jones Reserve April 7. Specific information about the status of any events is available on the online events calendar, parks program calendar and social media pages, Facebook and Twitter.

The Department remains open. Many office-based employees are working from home and remote locations or relocating within offices to create distance among individuals. Adjustments are being made to procedures for many parks, wildlife and field personnel to reduce interactions among employees and with the public.

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 state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


2020 Delaware Fishing Guide available now

DOVER, Del. – Anglers eager to learn what fish are available to catch within or offshore Delaware, including size and quantity possession limits, will welcome the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide. The new fishing guide is free from DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife online, at licensing agents statewide, and at DNREC’s license office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

The full-color, magazine-sized guide also includes information on Delaware’s tidal and freshwater sportfishing regulations, fishing license requirements, how to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number, fishing and boating access areas, and general angling information. The guide also showcases the popular Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release awards program.

Fishing size and possession limits and open seasons published in the fishing guide are subject to change, with changes anticipated for cobia, shark, striped bass and bluefish during the 2020 fishing season. Anglers are encouraged to check the online version of the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide for updated, current fishing regulations.

The guide features winning photos from the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s 2019 Fishing Photo Contest. The cover profiles the first-place photo taken by Dave Tally of Camden of two anglers fishing on McColley Pond. Second place and honorable mention photos appear inside the guide.

For more information on the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide or fishing in the First State, call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

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 Fish & Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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