The Sussex County Land Trust and Chesapeake Conservancy have joined forces with several other partners to preserve a 41-acre parcel on the south side of the Nanticoke River known as Nanticoke Crossing Park.
Located on the opposite side of Woodland, about 4 miles west of Seaford, the property includes 29 acres of mixed hardwood-pine forest, 12 acres of open area with large canopy trees, and 1,900 feet of meandering shoreline with healthy, freshwater tidal and wetland plants. It contains direct access to the river by means of an old lagoon that will be revitalized for public use.
Purchased from Absher Farms LLC, Nanticoke Crossing Park features a rolling topography overlooking the river.
Several partnerships helped acquire the property, including Sussex County Council, Chesapeake Conservancy, Mt. Cuba Center, U.S. Navy Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, Delaware Open Space Program, Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, and Sussex County Land Trust.
The opportunity to protect the site was presented to SCLT by the Chesapeake Conservancy. The conservancy, in partnership with Delaware-based Mt. Cuba Center, assists local and state entities by facilitating funding and negotiations for protection projects in the region. This marks a successful landmark collaboration by intergovernmental and nonprofit organizations to preserve land in western Sussex County to be protected for conservation and recreational use.
“The Navy is proud to be a contributing partner for the protection of Nanticoke Crossing Park. This project demonstrates that we can successfully protect military readiness in the Navy’s airspace and support our communities through land preservation and creation of public recreation opportunities,” said Rob Vargo, Department of the Navy Atlantic Ranges and Targets Department director.
“The protection and preservation of Nanticoke Crossing Park is a great example of leveraging partnerships and resources for the greater good of Sussex County,” said Casey Kenton, SCLT chairman.
“This is the 21st parcel protected through the Chesapeake Conservancy's partnership with Mt. Cuba for a total of 3,050 acres. The projects have connected previously protected properties throughout the Nanticoke River watershed, which is now 33 percent protected,” said Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy.
“We are really excited to help conserve this beautiful place on the Nanticoke River shoreline for future generations,” said Ann C. Rose, Mt. Cuba Center president. “Gorgeous native trees will take your breath away, including many oak species, sassafras, black cherry, loblolly pine, Virginia pine, and even Delaware’s state tree American holly. This site is home to large stands of spatterdock, blue flag iris and sweetspire, highbush blueberry, and other trees and shrubs. Fox, deer, bald eagles, osprey and songbirds are often seen here.”