DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation Website Wins National Award

DOVER – The National Association of Government Web Professionals (NAGW) recently presented a Members’ Choice Pinnacle Award to DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation for the Delaware State Parks website at destateparks.com. NAGW Secretary and East Region Director, Barbara Belli, made the announcement during the organization’s 2019 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Government websites have progressed dramatically since the first Pinnacle Awards were presented in 2006. Thanks to the talented teams in the government web profession, including the teams represented by this year’s entries, our websites have grown from information portals to become the first point of service for our constituents and the windows to our organizations,” said Ms. Belli, who also serves NAGW as Pinnacle Awards Chair.

The NAGW membership, which comprises government web professionals from local, county, state, and federal government throughout the United States, voted on the Members’ Choice Awards from among entries for cities, counties, state and federal agencies, microsites, and sites demonstrating special features. The Delaware State Parks website won in the State/Federal category.

The website was recognized for its organization, informative content, and the wide variety of information it presents, as well as for the small size of its web team. Peer review judges noted the site was “easy to navigate and informative, as well as visually appealing”. The NAGW award committee commended Delaware State Parks staff Chris Polo, Chief of Creative Services, and Jennifer Bradford, web developer, for the “immense amount of time, resources, and attention” they had put into creating an expansive and highly functional site.

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announces cap reached on sale of Delaware surf-fishing permits

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announced today that it has reached its cap of 17,000 Delaware surf-fishing permits, as voted on this year by the state’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Council. With the cap figure attained, no more surf tag permits will be issued until December.

While surf-fishing permit sales have ended, the Division of Parks & Recreation notes that there are no restrictions for non-vehicle, walk-on fishing, as long as an angler has a Delaware fishing license issued by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.

In January, Delaware’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Council, an 11-member board appointed by the Governor that advises DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, voted to limit the number of permits issued annually to no more than 17,000, and to raise surf fishing permit fees. Both decisions were made at a regularly-scheduled council meeting Jan. 17, at which the council received written and oral comments from more than 100 members of the public.

Division of Parks & Recreation statistics show that the issuing of surf-fishing permits has increased at a rate of seven percent annually from 2011 to 2017. The Division implemented a first-come, first-served cap on the number of permits issued as the most equitable way to serve all beach users, to manage a limited resource, and to protect against overcrowding of parks beaches. The Division also has found that limiting the number of permits enables more efficient management of the state’s surf-fishing program. This plan also aligns with DNREC’s priority to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Delaware’s award-winning state parks system.

At the January meeting, DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation reported a three-fold increase over the last year for violations of the “actively-engaged in surf fishing” rule enforced by DNREC Natural Resources Police Park Rangers. In response, the General Assembly added funding in the FY 2020 operating budget for two new Park Rangers, one each at Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks. In addition, Parks Rangers’ workweeks have expanded from 37.5 to 40 hours, creating 1,000 hours of additional coverage annually for the coastal parks. The “actively-engaged” rule continues to be a priority area for targeted enforcement.

In response to complaints of visitors failing to abide by regulations, on Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16, DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s Park Rangers conducted the first of several targeted enforcement operations planned to take place this summer.

Rangers, assisted by Park Watch volunteers, conducted surf-fishing compliance checks at four crossings within Cape Henlopen and Fenwick Island State Parks. Vehicles were checked for compliance with Delaware’s surf-fishing regulations. More than 300 vehicles were checked.

At Fenwick Island State Park, Rangers and officers from DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police checked every vehicle on the surf-fishing beach to ensure at least one occupant was actively-engaged in surf fishing. This targeted enforcement operation resulted in 24 citations and warnings for various violations of surf-fishing regulations, including anglers not possessing required fishing and vehicle equipment.

Park Rangers remind surf-fishing permit holders that all individuals who drive on designated surf-fishing beaches must possess a valid surf-fishing vehicle permit; including a jack, shovel, low-pressure tire gauge, board, and tow strap; and also must possess proper saltwater fishing tackle.

More information on the surf fishing cap is available at www.destateparks.com/Adventures/Fishing or by calling 302-739-9200.

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

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation acquires two properties expanding Auburn Valley State Park

Yorklyn – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announced today that it has acquired 86 acres of land in Yorklyn to expand the recently-created Auburn Valley State Park. The preservation of the two parcels, each about 43 acres in size, will enable future expansion of recreational activities at the 452-acre park. The new land acquisition by DNREC will also benefit the Red Clay Creek watershed by protecting important headwaters and lands along a tributary to the creek.

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation acquired the property from the children of the Nancy Reynolds Cooch family. The sale was made possible through a donation from The Nature Conservancy in Delaware and grant funding through Mt. Cuba Center, both ensuring that the land becoming part of park will be preserved in its undeveloped state. The rest of the funds were provided by the Delaware Open Space Program, and secured by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation.

The Open Space Program was created by the Land Protection Act in 1990, with the goal of protecting land for recreation, wildlife habitat, state forests, and lands of historical and cultural importance. Governor John Carney’s 2019 budget provided $10 million in funding for the program, which has protected more than 62,000 acres of land since its inception.

“These new properties will be a wonderful addition to the Auburn Valley State Park,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With the land now permanently protected by DNREC, the environmentally-sensitive Red Clay Creek watershed will also benefit. I thank our conservation partner, The Nature Conservancy in Delaware; the Reynolds Cooch family; and Mt. Cuba Center; whose support made this purchase a reality.”

“The Nature Conservancy in Delaware is honored and humbled to join Mt. Cuba Center and assist DNREC in adding the Reynolds Cooch properties to the Auburn Valley State Park complex,” said Richard Jones, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Delaware. “Given the conservation legacy established over many years by the Reynolds and Cooch families, it is particularly gratifying to know that this important land will remain protected in perpetuity.”

The new parcels of undeveloped lands comprise a mix of hardwood forest and grasslands, and also include a stream that eventually flows into the Red Clay Creek, an important source of drinking water for New Castle County. One of the new parcels shares a border with the 121-acre Oversee Farm, another part of Auburn Valley State Park acquired with assistance from the Nature Conservancy in Delaware. Protecting an additional 86 acres provides a wildlife migration corridor through privately and publicly owned lands that extend well into Pennsylvania.

DNREC’s First State Heritage Park ‘First Saturday’ to offer special programs Feb. 2 marking African-American History Month

DOVER – DNREC’s First State Heritage Park’s monthly “First Saturday in the First State” will host “Black Migrations, Urban Realities for the African-American Community in Delaware,” and other programs as a part of African-American History Month. These First Saturday programs are based on the theme “Black Migrations,” set by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the national organization that founded African-American History Month.

Programs have been selected to emphasize the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and social realities. “Navigating a Segregated State: The Successes and Hardships of Travel for African Americans,” will be offered at the John Bell House, to explore how people of color faced daily challenges of discrimination and segregation, and worked together to create a system of communication. Also offered will be a “Tales of Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour,” to examine The Green as a place where free and enslaved men and women lived out their daily lives.

At Legislative Hall, guided tours will honor the life and work of long-time legislator Herman Holloway, known as the “Dean of Black Politicians” in Delaware, who served during the tumultuous 1960s. This program will feature his portrait, hanging prominently, as well as iconic images from his civil rights work. Other activities will be taking place throughout the day.

Here is a list of programs and activities on Saturday, February 2, 2019:

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“Navigating a Segregated State: The Successes and Hardships of Travel for African-Americans”

Explore the daily challenges faced by people of color travelling though, and out of the state, from the foundation of the nation through the era of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the John Bell House on The Green, 43 The Green.

“The Dean of Black Politicians: The Life and Work of Herman Holloway”

While touring Delaware’s Capitol Building, learn about the legal fight for civil rights and explore the life of Herman Holloway, one of Delaware’s most prominent African-American politicians, who served as both a state representative and state senator during the 1960s. At Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Avenue. Photo ID is required for all adults entering the building.

Biggs Kids: Inspired by Africa

Many Americans have ancestors who lived in Africa. To celebrate that heritage, children can make works of art inspired by African designs and crafts. For ages 5-10. At the Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street.

African-American Music and the Victor Talking Machine Company

Guided tours will highlight the musical careers of some of the most famous African-American artists who recorded with the Victor Talking Machine company from 1901 to 1929. At the Johnson Victrola Museum, 275 S. New Street.

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Tours of the Governor’s House

Enjoy guided tours of the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, and Hall House, the Governor’s guest house. At Woodburn (The Governor’s House), 151 Kings Highway.

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Tales of Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour

As a border state, Delaware’s role was complicated regarding slavery. Find out why during these walking tours, which begin on the hour. Meet at the John Bell House on The Green, 43 The Green.

10:30 a.m.

The Rosedale Beach Hotel and Resort

Historian Tamara Jubilee-Shaw will examine the history of this special Delaware resort, which was located in the Millsboro area, and was one of the few places for people of color to go for entertainment and hotel accommodations before desegregation. At the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

11:00 a.m.

African-American History: State Historic Preservation in Delaware

This presentation explores Delaware’s rich African-American culture, history, and legacy. At The Old State House, 25 The Green.

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Legion of Strangers: The Ebony Doughboys Story

Learn about the Ebony Doughboys, African-American soldiers who fought in WWI with the French Foreign Legion. In Courtroom 1, at the Kent County Courthouse, 38 The Green.

Admission to all park sites and programs is free. Centrally-located free parking is available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North. For more information about “First Saturday” events and all First State Heritage Park programs, please call 302-739-9194 or visit destateparks.com.

The First State Heritage Park is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries,” linking historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777. The park is a partnership of state agencies under the leadership of DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, working in collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

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

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation reminds public that dunes in state parks are closed to sledding and snowboarding

REHOBOTH BEACH – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation reminds residents and visitors that sledding, snowboarding, and other recreational activities are not allowed on Delaware’s dunes.

Dunes contain fragile wildlife habitat and also provide protection for the beaches and the communities that border them.

Besides asking the public to help protect the dunes, the Division of Parks & Recreation also advises that, except for marked crossings, the dunes in Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks are closed year-round to pedestrian traffic and recreational activities.

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

Vol. 49, No. 5