Delaware State Parks seeks public input in plans to raise user fees

DNREC Press Release ….. Delaware State Parks seeks public input in plans to raise user fees;  the first increase in a decade

the point at cape henlopen state park, dsf, delaware surf fishing
The point at Cape Henlopen State park

DOVER (Nov. 21, 2014) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation is proposing increases in certain user fees, and is seeking input from the public on the proposed changes. Delaware State Parks has maintained a high level of public service without adjusting fees for the last 10 years. As enacted by the Delaware General Assembly, passed in the FY15 Bond and Capital Improvement Act (HB 425), the division is seeking input on the proposal through three public open houses in December – one in each county.

Delaware’s state parks are primarily self-funded, with 65 percent of revenue to operate and maintain the parks generated by park users. The collection of user fees has been affected by numerous outside influences, including economic downturns, bad weather, increased visitor service costs and vacation patterns of visitors.

Surf fishing beach 3R's ... Delaware Seashore State Park
Surf fishing beach 3R’s … Delaware Seashore State Park

In 1971, Delaware State Parks collected $1.00 per vehicle to enter state parks. Nearly 43 years later, the daily entrance fee is a nominal $3.00 for inland parks and $4.00 for ocean parks for an entire family.

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“Current user fees haven’t kept up with the cost of maintaining the irreplaceable state parks we manage,” said Ray Bivens, Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “The open houses provide an opportunity for the public to get a better understanding of the need for the funding and to hear public feedback on the proposed changes,” said Bivens.

At each open house, parks staff will be available to answer questions and share information.
Open houses will be held:

Dec. 2, 2014
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Cape Henlopen State Park Officers Club
15099 Cape Henlopen Drive
Cape Henlopen State Park
Lewes, DE, 19958

Dec. 4, 2014
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Bellevue Hall
Bellevue State Park
911 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE, 19809

Dec. 9, 2014
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Killens Pond State Park Nature Center
5025 Killens Pond Rd.
Felton, DE, 19943

The proposed increases, a questionnaire to provide input and important information about the management, improvements and capital upgrades needed to maintain and enhance Delaware State Parks, will be available beginning Dec. 2, 2014 at www.destateparks.com/OpenHouse . The public can also call the Division of Parks and Recreation at 302-739-9220.

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