DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation sponsors Yorklyn Storytelling Festival, archaeology events

Events of the weekend of October 18 to 20 celebrate Delaware history and literacy

Yorklyn — Yorklyn Village Partnerships, in conjunction with DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, will celebrate storytelling, archaeology, and Delaware history with two special events the weekend of October 18 to 20.

The first edition of the Yorklyn Storytelling Festival features a lineup of nine nationally-known engaging storytellers in the spoken-word equivalent of a major music or arts festival. The event runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18-20, at the Center for the Creative Arts, 410 Upper Snuff Mill Row & Rt. 82, Yorklyn, Del. Special guests include award-winning performers Kim Weitkamp, Andy Offutt Irwin, and Delaware Division of the Arts’ Established Professional Fellow TAHIRA. This one-of-a-kind event is family-friendly and includes storytelling workshops, seven performances for kids, and an open- microphone contest. Special presenters are also performing at local schools on Friday, Oct. 18.

This event is sponsored by Yorklyn Storytelling Festival Inc., a non-profit organization focusing on literacy, as well as DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s Auburn Valley State Park, the Center for Creative Arts, and Delaware Humanities. Ticket prices range from $10 up and are available as day or weekend passes, with student and family discounts in place.

For more information or to order tickets go to www.yorklynstoryfest.com or call 302-238-6200.

Also, on Saturday, Oct. 19, Auburn Valley State Park will celebrate International Archaeology Day with special programs, speakers, and opportunities for families to discover archaeology in their community. Kid-friendly programs include a hands-on artifact analysis “Artifact Detectives” program; a “Make a Clay Pot” program, and a chance to meet real archaeologists talking about their work. At 4 p.m., Delaware Humanities archaeologist Cara Blume will present “A History of the Indian People of Delaware 1630-2008.” All archaeology programs at the park are free; for a schedule of events, please go to www.destateparks.com/history/AuburnValley.

Visitors to Yorklyn Village can walk from the park to the storytelling festival and back on Delaware State Parks’ trails, and various parking options are available. For more information on all these programs, please call Auburn Valley State Park at 302-239-5687 or 302-729-4280.

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation to sponsor Yorklyn Day Festival celebrating community Sunday, June 2

YORKLYN – The third annual Yorklyn Day Festival, sponsored by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, will be held 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2 in Yorklyn. The event is a partnership between DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, the Center for Creative Arts, the Marshall Steam Museum, Yorklyn Pool, and Dew Point Brewing Co.

At the new Auburn Valley State Park, the Marshall Mansion and Marshall Steam Museum will be open from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., with steam car and miniature train rides, and mansion tours. The Wilmington & Western Railroad’s Doodlebug train will be offering rides from Yorklyn to Hockessin and back. Representatives from DNREC will also be on hand to discuss the progress on revitalization of the former NVF site, as well as the new Marshall Family Bridge, the first in a series of repurposed historic iron-truss bridges brought from all over the country to serve community trail users at Auburn Valley State Park.

Activities are stationed in numerous areas, almost all within convenient walking distance to the new Auburn Valley State Parks trails. Food trucks will be on hand to serve a variety of culinary options. Festivities will also include live music, artisans, craft beer, vendors, and non-profit presenters.

Activity hubs will include:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Cozy Quarters Farm pony rides
  • 1 p.m. – Yorklyn Bridge Trail’s Kid Zone and Jungle John’s Dinosaur Show
  • 2:30 p.m. – Live Reptile Show
  • 3:30 p.m. – Conservation Connections’ free-flighted bird program

Other activities will include: the Juggling Hoffmans, nature presentations, and crafts; the Center for Creative Arts “Art Zone,” featuring live music, an artisans market and art sales, adult beverages, and children’s art activities; the “Dew Point Zone” with live music, lawn games, ping-pong, disc golf baskets, craft beer, and vendors; and Yorklyn Pool Pickle Ball demonstrations, with an opportunity to try your hand at this new craze.

Event parking is headquartered at H. B. Middle School, 735 Meeting House Road, Hockessin, DE 19707. School buses will transport visitors to and from the school to the event site every fifteen minutes, with smaller shuttle buses transporting throughout the activity areas. Handicapped parking on the event site is available at Yorklyn Bridge Trail, 1178 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin, DE 19707. Fees apply to all rides and the house tours.

More information is available at www.YorklynDay.org, on the Yorklyn Day Facebook page, or by calling the Auburn Valley State Park office at 302-729-4280.

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

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’s Division of Parks & Recreation announces temporary closure of Farm Lane Bridge

YORKLYN – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation has announced that the Farm Lane Bridge in Yorklyn will be closed to both vehicles and pedestrians from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19. The closure is necessary to prepare the bridge for future construction work.

For more information, please contact Laura Lee, park superintendent, Auburn Heights Preserve, at 302.729.4278.

DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation installs refurbished historic bridge on Yorklyn trail

The McIntyre Bowstring Bridge, formerly located in Iowa, touches down on its new abutments, and will serve
as a critical connection between the Yorklyn Bridge Trail and the Auburn Heights Trail in Yorklyn. DNREC photo.

YORKLYN – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation installed a pedestrian bridge on a trail near Auburn Heights in Yorklyn by reusing a restored historic bridge today. The replacement bridge, The McIntyre Bowstring Bridge, was built in 1883 and set into place originally in Iowa.

The refurbished bridge placement is part of the Auburn Valley Master Plan project in Yorklyn, a multi- year project designed to remediate and repurpose the former NVF paper mill site while connecting new and existing trails in the region.

The bridge is 120 feet long and 15 feet wide. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, although it was removed from the register in 2013 after it was damaged in a flood and removed from the water for restoration. It is still eligible for reinstatement on the register following its completion at Yorklyn.

Eighty percent of the original structure has been retained, including four original wrought and cast iron piers. The new bridge will carry pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians, and antique cars, and sits on the approximate location of the former West Chester, Kennett & Wilmington Electric Railroad, and the Kennett Trolley that ran though the NVF site from 1903 till 1923. The bridge is being set into place to connect a new trail on the NVF side of Red Clay Creek and existing trails there, to the Auburn Heights side, including the Auburn Heights Mansion and Museum and the trails located there.

“This restored bridge will create the critical link between the NVF site and the Auburn Heights complex,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We are really pleased to be a part of this historic bridge being relocated, seeing new life, and becoming repurposed for the public’s enjoyment.”

The new bridge’s parts have been on site for about two weeks, and have been assembled on the ground by Workin’ Bridges, a non-profit company under contract with the Division of Parks & Recreation to provide restored historic bridges for the Auburn Heights project. The work is being supervised by the Division. The abutments were built by Mumford and Miller, as part of the Division’s current Benge Road trail connector project.

This is the first of four total bridge projects to be done over the next two years. Two other refurbished historic bridges will be set in new locations and one existing bridge will be replaced with another refurbished historic bridge. Each bridge will be from the late 1800s, coming from different states with different styles. These will tie into the other historic bridges in the area.

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

Vol. 48, No. 114