Restaurant creates more problems than it solves

November 1, 2022

I have been following the recent letters regarding the proposed state park restaurant with interest. Where and when did this idea come from? What environmental studies have been done? How will this affect the dunes, which are supposedly protected?

As a birder and volunteer at the Hawk Watch for many years, I can’t imagine a more poorly thought-out idea than a year-round, open till 10 p.m., full-service restaurant, including live music, on the dunes. If this is being considered due to campers’ requests or complaints, as indicated by the Cape Gazette article, why not locate it in the camping area? There are a number of restaurant options close by. As an alternative, has shuttle service to Lewes and Route 1 been considered? 

The proposed building will be located between the existing bathhouse and the Hawk Watch platform, necessitating the removal of many trees, which are often the first resting place for birds crossing from New Jersey during migration. It will contribute both noise and light pollution in an otherwise silent space. It will also disrupt nocturnal species. There will be daily movement of trash trucks and delivery trucks through the park and an increase in typical restaurant trash. Since alcohol will be served, there is also the possibility of vandalism in the park, especially at night. 

Cape Henlopen is a naturally beautiful park, with walking and biking paths, birding hotspots and breeding areas for endangered birds, and rare plants. This project will provide a major disruption, and also require additional rangers, park gate attendants, and both safety and security personnel going forward. What is next? A full-service hotel with a pool? Just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should.

Ann Marie Dinkel


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