Delaware Mobile Surf Fishing seeks better options for Beach access issues

Surf Fishing Vehicle Permit, delaware, sussex county, delaware state parks, DNREC
Surf Fishing Vehicle Permit

Today the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishing club put up a petition to get the state to reconsider the reservation option in Cape Henlopen state park for drive on beach access in the summer season.  As you know overcrowding has become a serious issue with our surf fishing beaches, especially in Cape Henlopen state park.  I attended the meetings that addressed this issue and the park’s administration has a difficult job to try and curb an overcrowding issue that increases exponentially each year.  I think this year we will see even more crowds on Cape Henlopen’s fishing beaches due to the fact the fishing pier will not open this summer.  I have heard people are already asking for the beach near the pier to have areas set up to separate bathers and anglers.  There are hundreds of opinions on how the state should handle this and honestly most of them are unrealistic based on the funds available or just unreasonable ideas.  So how do you limit access to a natural resource that everyone has a right to use?

cape henlopen state park, overcrowded beaches, drive on surf fishing access, point confort station, sussex county, delaware, lewes, rehoboth, ORV beaches in delaware, beach fishing, old inlet, route 1,
Crowded beaches at Cape Henlopen state park during the fourth of july … Photo by Nick Roth reporter for the Cape Gazette

My personal opinion?  There are several ways to help curb this issue.  We have close to 15,000 tags in circulation with 1,100 free tags estimated this year.  Based on the new proposal for free tags, there is a potential  of over 10,000 free tags.  If these tags were not free, it would do two things.  First there would be less tags sold, because if not free, the tag would most likely not be purchased.  Secondly the tags that would be purchased would generate money for the parks to help with enforcement, but only if that tag money was earmarked for just that, enforcement.  In order to increase enforcement the parks need legislation to allow for more rangers and they would need more money.  Earmarking these tags’ money for just that would be a good way to start.  Think about it, the parks already charge a few dollars for access for a car load of people for park access.  Yet, the drive on beach is a separate amenity that is only available in four parks but the money is sent to all of the parks for upkeep.  Why not keep that money in the parks that have the drive on beach access?  This would create more than enough revenue for beach access upkeep and enforcement.Anything extra could go towards that parks upkeep or all of the parks in general.  It has become obvious that the beach parks are some of the most crowded in the summer and need extra enforcement,which the parks are not allowed to have nor do they have the money needed.  While we are on the subject, why not charge a per person fee and not a carload fee.

stacked parking on beach, henlopen state park, crowded beaches, drive on beaches in delaware, sussex county, indian river inlet,
Stacked parking on a crowded Cape Henlopen State Park beach during the holidays … photo from Nick Roth reporter for the Cape Gazette

A car that holds 4 people is charged the same access fee as a van that holds 10, that seems a bit off economically.  Everyone should have to pay for access, per person in all parks, which would alleviate a lot of costs the parks already have.  The Cape Henlopen pier could have been fixed years ago if they had the money.  Projects in the parks are as much a money issue as they are a priority issue.  Projects will suffer due to urgency in other places.  Another way to alleviate the issue is to get the bait shops to stop selling gear to people they know for a fact are just going to go “fake” fishing. They will scream they are going to lose money, but aren’t they helping create another problem that we now need to throw state (everyone’s taxes or park fees) money at to fix?  Robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Related Articles
1 of 642

I could go on for days how and what could be done to alleviate the crowded beach access  issues. It all boils down to money.  One way to really fix many of these issues is have the State of Delaware kick in more money to the parks in general, instead of the current system in place.  But where will that money come from?  Then again the state could just close the drive on beaches and solve a lot of problems … and everyone has to walk to fish.

All in all I can say one thing for certain, I would not want to have a park administrator’s job.  They seem to get it from both ends on a daily basis, and not in a good way.

You can view the petition at this link … Beach access petition

Fish On!!

Rich King

Comments are closed.