Delaware Seashore State Park Is Going To Look Very Different Soon

When you drive down route 1 in Delaware Seashore State park you can see trees alongside the road in the dunes. These are not supposed to be there, and parks is taking an aggressive step to eradicate them.

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The dunes between the parking lot and route 1 will be cleared of Japanese pines.


State parks started cutting down invasive Japanese black pine trees along route 1. They are starting near the tower at the southern beach bathhouse (Tower road) and working towards Fenwick Island Statge Park. The view of the tower will be better from route 1 soon. That is the tower that is lit up blue at night.

invasive trees, Japanese black pines, delaware seashore state park, cape henlopen state park, route 1, fire watch tower, ghost tower, coastal highway, atlantic ocean
For years parks has used a herbicide to kill the tress and let them decompose where they fall.

The pine trees were planted by the military back in the day when they owned the area that the park is in now. These Japanese black pines were used to camouflage Fort Miles and other military installations. Because they are such fast growers and can handle the saltwater environment. Now these trees have covered the coast line of Delaware. Parks plans to remove as many as they can, but the project will take years. This has been an ongoing project for the last ten years or more.

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invasive trees, Japanese black pines, delaware seashore state park, cape henlopen state park, route 1, fire watch tower, ghost tower,  coastal highway, atlantic ocean
A view soon without Japanese Black pines.

When the invasive Japanese black pines take over an area, they create what is known as a mono-culture, which only allows for a limited amount of wildlife to populate the area. By removing the invasive trees the natural (local) plants and trees will be able to repopulate the area and increase wildlife diversity. Parks has been using herbicides in the past to kill the trees and let them drop and decompose where they stood. Eventually the natural plants move back in and create a more diverse culture for wildlife to thrive.

invasive trees, Japanese black pines, delaware seashore state park, cape henlopen state park, route 1, fire watch tower, ghost tower, coastal highway, atlantic ocean
Japanese Pine trees cut up waiting for the chipper

It will be a different look eventually along route 1 with most if not all of the trees removed. Now if parks could just get rid of the invasive phragmites they could really change up the look of the area. That ouwld take a lot of burning as I am told, but theya re not allowed to do that in parks. Removal with herbicide and hands is all that is allowed.

Fish On!
Rich King

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