DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation grows White Clay Creek State Park with new superintendent, acreage

NEWARK – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) is pleased to announce Laura Lee as the new superintendent of White Clay Creek State Park (WCCSP). Laura was previously superintendent of Auburn Valley State Park, which she helped develop since it was dedicated as the newest state park in 2018.

Laura started her State Parks career in 1991 at Fort Delaware, where she worked as both a seasonal interpreter and a cultural resources assistant. She then served as director of the Iron Hill Museum from 1995 to 2008, before returning to the DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation as the interpretive program manager at Fort Delaware and then moving on to Auburn Valley State Park.

Also, DNREC recently added 32 acres to WCCSP along the Route 896 side of the park; the acreage is comprised of mature forest, meadow and agricultural lands near the Krantz Hill Farm and will protect important wildlife habitats. The newly acquired land was funded with approximately $2.6 million from the Delaware Open Space Program (OSP) making it the largest land acquisition for the state park since 2003.

The Delaware Open Space Council recommended this land for acquisition in its June 2019 meeting. Since 1988, the OSP has provided nearly $62 million to add 2,210.7 acres to WCCSP through open space preservation.

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DNREC dedicates new Auburn Valley State Park in Yorklyn

YORKLYN – Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin were joined by U.S. Senator Tom Carper, state legislators, New Castle County and local officials, neighbors, and friends, at the dedication and ribbon-cutting of Delaware’s newest and 17th state park, the Auburn Valley State Park in Yorklyn.

Dedication of Auburn Valley State Park
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, Tom and Ruth Marshall, U.S. Senator Tom Carper and Governor John Carney unveil a bronze plaque dedicating the new Auburn Valley State Park.

Formerly the Auburn Heights Preserve, the park features an 1897 Queen Anne Victorian mansion and the Marshall Steam Museum, home to the largest operating Stanley steam car collection in the world. This four-acre estate was donated by Tom and Ruth Marshall, whose family established and operated the National Vulcanized Fiber (NVF) factory next to the estate. Marshall donated the mansion and steam car museum to the state in 2007. Part of that agreement included establishing an endowment for property upkeep. A historic bridge in the park is now named after the Marshall family.

“The new Auburn Valley State Park will be an economic engine to draw residents and visitors alike to Yorklyn, helping boost the state’s $3.3 billion dollar tourist industry,” said Governor Carney. “We must invest in our state parks to provide Delaware’s residents and visitors with safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities and open spaces, responsible stewardship of the lands and the cultural and natural resources that we have been entrusted to protect and manage, and resource-based interpretive and educational services.”

“Auburn Valley State Park promotes environmental stewardship and ensures that Delawareans will be able to enjoy acres of preserved land for years to come,” said Senator Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This park – and the 16 other parks like it in the First State – are also economic drivers that bolster our tourism sector and encourage people from coast to coast enjoy all that Delaware has to offer – from our unique history to our pristine outdoor spaces. Our efforts to work together to protect and maintain these lands are a win for Delaware.”

“DNREC owns more than 360 acres of this valley with beautiful vistas, established trails, newly-cleaned flowing creeks with aquatic life, additional preserved lands and soon-to-be restored historic buildings, home of the Marshall Steam Museum, and all being served by the historic Wilmington and Western Railroad,” said Secretary Garvin. “Auburn Valley State Park will help transform Yorklyn into a residential, commercial, conservation and recreational area, while also removing a century of contamination. We thank Tom and Ruth Marshall and their family for their generous donation of their estate as well, and this new park will ensure their legacy endures in perpetuity.”

The new park features a total of 366 acres, including portions of the former NVF facility acquired through funding by the Delaware Open Space Program, FEMA, and private donations. The land has undergone site remediation – including toxics removal and flood mitigation – along with the building and completion of new trails. Plans are ongoing for continued redevelopment designed to turn the area into a revitalized, vibrant hub of activity that retains its historic character and provides the kinds of amenities that will help improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

For more information, visit www.destateparks.com/AuburnValley

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


DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Observation Tower in Cape Henlopen State Park to undergo repairs beginning Nov. 5

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announced today that repair work will begin on Tower 7, also known as the Observation Tower, at Cape Henlopen State Park. The tower will be closed Monday, Nov. 5 – Monday, Dec. 31.

This is the second phase of planned repair work for the Observation Tower. Construction will include stair repairs and painting.

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


DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announces closure of Farm Lane Bridge and Auburn Valley Trail Aug. 20 – Sept. 4

YORKLYN – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation has announced that the Farm Lane Bridge and Auburn Valley trail in Yorklyn will be closed for construction from Monday, August 20 to Tuesday, September 4. The bridge and trail will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians.

The work is necessary to prepare abutments and piers for a new bridge. Trail visitors are encouraged to use the Yorklyn Bridge and Oversee Farm trails during the construction period.

More information is available at AuburnHeights.org, at www.destateparks.com, or by contacting Laura Lee, Park Superintendent, Auburn Heights Preserve, at 302-729-4278.


DNREC’s Fort Delaware State Park to host second of two annual Civil War-era P.O.W. weekends Aug. 11-12

DELAWARE CITY – DNREC’s Fort Delaware State Park will host the second of the park’s two annual prisoner-of-war (P.O.W.) living history weekends at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12.

During this special weekend, Fort Delaware will come alive with re-enactors and historians dressed as they would have during the American Civil War. Visitors will be offered a fascinating and unique look at what life was like at Fort Delaware during the 1860s, including prisoners being processed, prisoner mail call, and firing demonstrations with blank charges of various 19th century weapons.

With a number of additional re-enactors from a wide geographic range participating in the days’ events, visitors will see Delaware history as it happened almost 160 years ago.
Fort Delaware is a Civil War-era structure built to protect the city of Philadelphia from attack via the Delaware River. During the Civil War, it was used as to house captured Confederates, Union criminals, and civilians arrested for acts of presumed disloyalty. Between the years 1862 and 1865, about 33,000 prisoners spent time at Fort Delaware. P.O.W. Weekends are the fort’s best opportunity to tell their stories.

Visitors also can view many of the park’s regular daily events, including seeing the fort’s blacksmith, listening to Civil War folk songs, watching musketry drills, and much more.
Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for children, and $11 for those 62 and older, and active military. Children under two get in free. Most special programs at the park are free with Pea Patch island admission.

The Fort Delaware ticket office and ferry launch is located at 45 Clinton Street, Delaware City, DE 19706. Fort Delaware is regularly open from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

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