Thousands welcome summer at Cape Henlopen
On one of the most beautiful Memorial Day weekends in memory, Cape Henlopen State Park was busy.
Individuals, couples and families of grandparents, parents, young children and babies rode bikes, pushed strollers and walked along the park's many meandering trails, visited Fort Miles or climbed up the observation tower under skies so clear they could see miles of shoreline beyond North Shores to Rehoboth Beach.
Before noon, visitors set up fishing lines and settled in on the park's wide, expansive beaches.
All in all, it was a postcard of a weekend in the best park in the state if not along the entire East Coast, a warm, sunny welcome to summer.
All of which makes it hard to understand why visitors who hoped to explore the new 2.8-mile trail linking Herring Point and Gordons Pond were met with a plywood barrier.
The Cape Gazette has reported the trail would be finished in late May or early June, so locals can be forgiven if they planned to show it off over the weekend. It was reported May 23 that decking on the new raised boardwalk is complete, although some work remains. The governor officially opens the trail Wednesday, June 18.
Surely park officials are not waiting for the governor to allow people to use this $2.5 million trail – the last link in a 15-mile loop from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach. If the trail really is not safe, a sign warning visitors would go a long way in winning public cooperation to delay its use.
There is really nothing like a wall to induce people to blaze their own paths, possibly through the very sensitive areas the blocked boardwalk is designed to protect. A sign explaining safety concerns would ensure everyone leaves the park safe yet satisfied with their visit.