The staff at Delaware Seashore State Park is offering a series of guided hikes in January, kicking off on New Year’s Day and continuing with a different hike each Sunday. The hikes will cover a variety of habitats, including the intertidal zone, salt marsh areas and upland forest. Each hike will offer park visitors a unique opportunity to learn about coastal wildlife and local history.
The first hike will take place Tuesday, Jan. 1, at Burton Island Nature Preserve. Burton Island is in Delaware Seashore State Park behind the Indian River Marina. The hike will begin at 1 p.m. and participants should meet in front of the marina office. This program is free of charge and preregistration is not required.
Sunday, Jan. 6, participants will enjoy a guided hike through Thompson Island Nature Preserve on the north shore of Rehoboth Bay. Look for birds and other wildlife while learning about the Native American presence on Delaware’s Inland Bays. Because of limited parking access, space is extremely limited and preregistration is required. The fee for this program is $5, and participants should meet at the Indian River Life-Saving Station at 10 a.m.
The hike Sunday, Jan. 13, will take place at 1 p.m. at Fresh Pond, a part of Delaware Seashore State Park just north of Fred Hudson Road. Participants will explore over three miles of trails with a naturalist, looking for signs left by the resident deer, fox, owls and other creatures that call the forest, fields and marshes home. The fee for this program is $4 and preregistration is required.
At 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20, a guided hike will be held at Burton Island Nature Preserve. Although the trail on Burton Island is slightly less than one mile, it displays a rich variety of trees, plants and wildlife, as well as traces of man’s past habitations and influence on the land. The fee for this program is $4, and preregistration is required.
A park naturalist will lead the final hike of the series at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan 27, along Coin Beach. Before heading out onto the strand, park staff will discuss the history of the Indian River Inlet, how some of the park’s dune crossings got their names, and why the locals refer to this 1-mile stretch of coastline as Coin Beach. This hike is a great beachcombing opportunity as winter storms wash up a variety of objects, both natural and man-made, that are not typically seen during the summer months. The fee for this program is $4, and preregistration is required.
For all hikes, participants are encouraged to dress in layers and wear shoes or boots that can get muddy. To register for these programs, or for directions to meeting spots, contact the staff at the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum at 302-227-6991. More information can be found at destateparks.com.