Preserving state park is paramount

May 26, 2023

Cape Henlopen State Park is a special place. 

Where else can you find a beautiful natural setting situated on both the ocean and the bay, with a storied military past mixed with myriad options for education and recreation? It’s really the whole package. 

For these reasons and more, a group of Cape Region residents banded together last fall to protest the possible addition of a restaurant in the park near the Sen. David McBride Beach Bathhouse. The group felt adding a purely commercial element to the park was a bridge too far. 

To ensure such a situation does not arise again, Sen. Russ Huxtable, D-Lewes, recently introduced Senate Bill 6 to protect Cape Henlopen State Park.

Despite the bill receiving bipartisan support in the General Assembly, some concerned citizens, as well as Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin, have criticized it, saying it’s an overreaction following last year’s events.

We think it’s important to support this legislation so long as it does not affect what already exists. Operations such as the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park Bike Barn, the new Breakwater Bait & Tackle shop and Quest Kayak all support recreational activities in the park. Keeping drive-on beaches open and accessible also supports recreational fishing. These supportive operations and activities need to remain unhindered. 

The Gordons Pond Trail, Fort Miles, the campground, the Seaside Nature Center, the fishing pier, the disc golf course, the Point and the Great Dune are each unique. They get people outside to exercise their bodies and their brains. Allowing a small amount of commercial enterprise to support these activities and features is the right thing to do. But to ensure no one, whether state officials or commercial businesses, oversteps in the future, this legislation is necessary.

As many have said in recent months, Cape Henlopen State Park is the crown jewel of Delaware’s state parks system. Let’s do what we can to keep it that way. 

  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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