Preserve Our Park Coalition praises supporters
Seldom have residents of Lewes and Sussex County been so unified. Hundreds, nearly a thousand, attended the public meeting at Cape Henlopen High School and spoke with near unanimity: no new bar/restaurant in Cape Henlopen State Park. Thank you, La Vida and DNREC, for coming to the same conclusion.
For now, Cape Henlopen remains a special place – a natural wonder offering visitors endless adventures. It needs to remain that way. The Cape is part of the Lewes and Sussex historical heritage, a 340-year relationship with lands bequeathed by William Penn through the Warner Grant. This relationship is older than the state of Delaware, and as the outpouring of support made clear, the community wants it to continue.
Balancing public enjoyment with preservation of the park is an ongoing challenge. DNREC wants to enhance the visitors’ experience but, as we have seen, maximizing enjoyment can threaten preservation. Striking the right balance can be difficult. Those with the greatest stake in the park’s future, the residents who see themselves as trustees of the park’s well-being and future, vigorously defended preservation.
DNREC faces a daunting task: provide 65% of its own funding. We are puzzled by that policy. It creates incentives to make decisions and launch initiatives that can threaten the very nature-based recreational opportunities that make Cape Henlopen so special. In our view, the state should reconsider this practice and commit additional financial resources to protect the state’s natural heritage. Delaware needs a larger conversation about this policy.
Moving forward, both Preserve Our Park and La Vida have pledged to mobilize community efforts to help solve this revenue dilemma in ways that preserve the park’s special character. We hope others in the community will respond favorably to our invitation to join us.