Holiday weather promising; park full; a plan for Dewey

Appalachian Trail hikers take on trail names, such as Muffin Man, left, and Beans.  They also take on distinctive accessories such as the tiki torches each has taped to one of their hiking sticks. BY DENNIS FORNEY
May 23, 2014

The colorful Catts and Lynam beach shacks are out in Rehoboth Beach along with freshly painted benches lining the Boardwalk.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us.

I’m keeping my eye on the National Weather Service and its discussions about the possibility of an El Niño in the southern Pacific this year. In an early May posting, the service said it figures a 65 percent chance that the macro-weather event in the Pacific could develop and affect our weather this summer. El Niños are often associated with cooler-than-normal summers and lower frequency of hurricanes. Not all bad. We will see. Maybe we’re already feeling the effects. The forecast for this holiday weekend sounds on the cool though mostly dry side with lots of periods of sunshine on Sunday and Monday.

Cape park campground full

Pat Cooper, administrator for Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks, said the Cape campground is fully reserved for the holiday weekend. The campgrounds at Indian River Inlet are still closed due to construction.

Cooper said Gov. Jack Markell has set aside June 18 in his schedule for a dedication of the new Gordons Pond connector trail. The decking of the boardwalk section of the trail is complete, according to Cooper, but there are still a number of punch list items to finish before the trail can be opened to the public.

A suggestion for Dewey Beach

I spoke with 14th District Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf and former state Sen. George Bunting this week about legislation Schwartzkopf introduced. The bill clarifies that only the General Assembly can grant the right to communities to levy taxes. Any taxes not in original charters granted to communities by the General Assembly have to be approved by a three-fifths majority of both the state House of Representatives and Senate before they can be enacted in municipalities. Dewey Beach has no property tax, but depends on a litany of licenses, fees and transfer taxes to generate operating revenues. Bunting said he supports Schwartzkopf’s clarifying legislation. Both suggested that Dewey’s charter does enable the town to levy a property tax but at this point requires a positive referendum vote. Not likely to happen, they both said, because the town has so many nonresident voters. So what to do? Seek a charter change eliminating the referendum provision. Seeking such a change would not require a referendum vote, just a majority vote by the town’s commissioners.

Back to trails

A crowd of locals motored for hours and hours recently to bicycle the famed Virginia Creeper Trail in the westernmost part of Jefferson’s state. We walked the Appalachian Trail as it makes its way up the main street of Damascus. White blazes on the telephone poles. I’ve never seen so many backpackers assembled in one area. We were one week away from the town’s Trail Days in mid-May. Damascus is the trail’s midpoint between Georgia and Maine. Many hikers were hanging around for a week to join in the celebration before continuing their trek to the north.