Surfrider Foundation supports new policies
The Delaware Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation agrees with points made in the Sept. 3 editorial in the Cape Gazette concerning Delaware policy prohibiting recreational activities other than fishing for those who drive onto public park beaches.
This policy has the effect of limiting vast stretches of state park beaches, a precious and limited resource, to one user group (fishermen who drive on the beach). Many parts of Delaware’s coastal parks are miles away from the nearest available parking, public pedestrian access, or public transportation options. We think it is poorly conceived management of a public resource when it is difficult for anyone without the means or inclination to drive on the beach and fish to use large parts of Delaware’s beach parks.
The Cape Gazette editorial urges state managers to study the issue and propose solutions, and we agree. Delaware Surfrider advocates solutions which increase overall public access (including parking) to state park beaches that are currently only accessible to mobile surf fishermen. We have heard other suggestions involving excluding trucks from portions of a state park beach to essentially clear space for walk-on users. We strongly oppose access limitations which result in adjacent private communities having exclusive access to public beaches. This would be a step in the wrong direction. Surfing, swimming, skimboarding, walking, fishing, exercising, and many other beach activities are all important and legitimate uses of the resource. If Delaware’s State Parks or General Assembly made a deal decades ago to manage state parks for mobile surf fishing over all other recreational uses, that is an unsustainable exclusionary management practice, and should be reversed. Park beaches should be managed in a way that strives to increase recreational opportunities for all people and all types of appropriate forms of recreation.