A bill to protect Cape Henlopen State Park unanimously passed the House June 30, the last day of session. After receiving unanimous support from the Senate June 6, the bill now heads to the desk of Gov. John Carney.
Introduced by Sen. Russ Huxtable, D-Lewes, the bill establishes clear guardrails for how Cape Henlopen State Park is used and preserved.
In a press release, the Preserve Our Park Coalition, which led the grassroots effort to support the park and the legislation to protect it, said it is grateful for Huxtable’s leadership in sponsoring the bill that reaffirms the General Assembly’s commitment to a 350-year-old obligation known as the Warner Grant.
The legislation was introduced in response to a public meeting held by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control at Cape Henlopen High School in December 2022. Nearly 1,000 residents attended the meeting to hear DNREC’s plans for Cape Henlopen State Park, including a proposal to build a bar/restaurant on the dune next to the Hawk Watch in the park.
Public comments at the meeting overwhelmingly rejected the bar/restaurant’s construction. At the end of the meeting, DNREC Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens announced that the bar/restaurant plan was paused.
Preserve Our Park said it will continue working to protect and preserve Cape Henlopen State Park for its unparalleled natural beauty, outdoor recreation, environmental education and historic significance.