Funds collected at state park should stay there

December 13, 2022

In a letter to the Cape Gazette published Dec. 9, George Dellinger writes, “It’s time to provide Parks and Recreation with the sustained capital budget resources needed …” He goes on to consider different revenue-generating ideas. I could not agree with him more, but I ask the Division of Parks and Recreation, and perhaps the Delaware state Legislature, to revisit their dispersal of the millions of dollars generated by our beloved beach parks.

Prior to the Cape Henlopen High School open forum on the proposed restaurant at Cape Henlopen State Park, I searched online for the annual report of the Division of Parks and Recreation. I found their published reports of 2018 and 2019, nothing more recent. Looking at those reports, I couldn’t help notice a lack of revenues. I did notice visitors reported, and was very surprised to see very small numbers attending state parks in New Castle County. I understand it can be very hard to estimate numbers of visitors when no entry fees are collected. Even the beach parks don’t count the occupants of vehicles, but entry fees are paid by vehicle permit (not required to enter northern parks).

At the forum, the division did report large expenditures earmarked for northern parks, citing the historical significance of said parks. Is the Division of Parks and Recreation Delaware’s historical society? Why should fees paid to enter Cape Henlopen State Park go to any other park or county? Perhaps we should take a much deeper look at the expenditure of funds, and not increasing fees. Use Cape Henlopen State Park’s revenue in Cape Henlopen State Park. Use Delaware Seashore State Park’s in Delaware Seashore State Park. 

Gary Cooke


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