Fenwick Island Drive On Private Beaches Coming Soon

Well played Beach Coalition, you finally got what you wanted, GOLF CLAP all around. For years you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying the state to keep trucks off the beaches in front of your houses. Getting on the surf tag committee to “help” as a stakeholder was a brilliant, smooth move. I’ve seen you all in action in other meetings. The professional politicians that you are played these people on this committee. Well done, I am impressed. I saw this coming when asked to be on that committee, which is why I decided to not. I was also told vehicle limits wouldn’t even be addressed. No point in me/DSF being in that room, the end game was already set. Also we get tired of being blamed on the internet for a lot of this stuff that occurs, done by parks and the state of Delaware. Now, for once, I get to sit outside on the perimeter and throw rocks. I brought a big bag of stones today.

I’ve listened to everyone bitch at us/me/DSF for years about the beach problems and parks in general. NOW YOU GET TO HEAR ME. This is going to be really long, and it could be incredibly long, but I’m too tired to rant for hours online and you just need the facts.

The reservation system gives the Beach Coalition and all the nearby residents to Fenwick Island State Park nearly private beaches. All they have to do is game the very system they helped and pushed into play … Surf Tag Reservations. If you don’t think they knew this going into those meetings I have some terrible news for you. The BC folks are professional politicians, they can eat people like that committee for breakfast on a Sunday. I’ve seen them in action. I am not pointing out anything they don’t already know is my point. The public and some state reps I spoke to recently had no idea this can happen. Let’s just say it was eye opening.

How can this reservation system be gamed you ask?
It is easy with unlimited tag sales. The reservations made don’t have to be used. You make the reservation and you can go out whenever you want during those times. By the way parks has no idea how they will regulate this program. There is no way the rangers can handle this they are already overwhelmed. I feel for that crew, some are friends, and they got the raw end of the stick on these deals. If you wanted to know how to fix the problems out there, who would you ask first? Maybe the people out there on the daily dealing with the problems? Maybe?

There are nearly two hundred houses around or backed up to Fenwick Island state park. You can count them on Google earth easily enough or the map below. If every resident gets two surf tags, or even one. Then all they have to do is make 200 to 400 reservations and not use them. Private beach. This will cost them about 218$ per tag for instate. That is less than they pay to have a toilet unclogged.
There absolutely has to be a limit on reservation numbers, or there would be no need to have reservations. So we actually have a vehicle limit but only for X amount of hours on two days. No one has announced any of these regulations for this yet.

beach access coalition, fenwick island state park, delaware surf fishing
(2017) Proposed areas to be restricted against surf fishing vehicles in Fenwick Island State Park. We would not even be allowed to drive across these areas to access the areas in between. The black areas even though not restricted to vehicles would be inaccessible due to not being allowed to drive across the restricted area. Essentially this becomes a private beach within Fenwick Island State Park.

2017 is when the Beach Coalition amped up their efforts, and I was asked to get involved. The reason they increased their efforts? The secretary of DNREC is a friend of theirs from DC. He came from the EPA and the BC are mostly DC people. They saw a friend in charge and kicked up their efforts. Also he mentioned in a stakeholder meeting one day, that he used to summer in one of those neighborhoods back in the day. Probably shouldn’t have told us that.

This was when I got involved in all of this because no way was I losing beach access, on state land. Keep in mind DSF is a business not an NPO or a club. Not many businesses would put it on the line to fight these things. The blow back I knew would be a problem, but whatever this had to be fought.
Before this no one at the state was really listening to the coalition. That year (2017) the BC were being charged more for their over dune accesses. Because parks and DNREC were spending more money than came in to maintain those accesses.
2017 article … Save Your Beach Access On Delaware State Park Beaches

If you game the reservation system you can clear the beach of vehicles. No one is going to walk the two miles from the bathhouse parking lot, or walk in from Bethany Beach. There aren’t any facilities down there either, one would have to walk the two miles back for a bathroom. The only issue they (BC) will have now is people using more Ubers to use their accesses. Which has been happening the past couple years and amped up during covid.
Those communities have their own over the dune accesses they pay parks for and are required by law to make those accessible to the public. They are not required to allow you to park in their gated community. Another “loophole” they use or game. The Uber issue was a compliant they had a couple years ago and pushed for more parking in other parks for the public to have more walk on access.
2021 … The Beach Coalition Has A new Tactic.

The BC fought the idea of limited vehicle numbers on the basis of public access rights. These are the same people who don’t want you in their gated communities. Meanwhile the real reason … if you allow X amount of vehicles on a beach, you will have X amount of vehicles all day. If you have a reservation you don’t have to use at all. You just make the reservations for all the residents’ tags and not use it. Now X amount of vehicles has been reduced to Y, simple math. Now you have a nearly private beach on state land. Well played to the Delaware Beach Access Coalition. I knew you all would get what you wanted eventually. You have new tactics each year. I could spend hours explaining, but I won’t bore anyone.

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Here is another bomb for you all.
I was told the reservation costs will hopefully deter people from going to the beach those two days and help reduce the crowds. So the parks sold you a surf tag and now hope you don’t use it. Now those that use the beach to actually surf fish on weekends have to pay more to do what they have been doing for years.

Delaware is about to lose a lot more weekend surf anglers. Ask any bait shop and they will tell you they are seeing less and less business on weekends from surf anglers. If people can’t surf fish here they are going elsewhere.

People can’t plan trips months down the road with rentals, if they don’t know they can get on the beach. Even residents are going to have issues planning trips. Don’t get your “rezzi” now what do you do? It’s like parks wants to kill surf fishing on surf fishing beaches.

The surf tag reservation system. as a friend of mine said, whom is no longer going to come here to surf fish. Delaware as usual over complicated something simple now we can’t be assured we can surf fish so we are going south and so is our money. Why don’t they ever say we have to protect the resource which is their job as DNREC?
I didn’t have an answer for him except typical SNAFU by the State of Delaware and DNREC.

Limited vehicle numbers will protect the beach better, and give everyone room to do whatever. The surf anglers fighting limited vehicles need to wake up and realize something. If we have limited vehicles guess who will be on the beaches first that morning? Surf anglers. Once the limit is hit you won’t be crowded out and have to leave. Think about that, take all the time you need.

The actively fishing rule is a joke and needs to go the wayside. That rule was put in play a long time ago. It doesn’t work and is a waste of time and resources needed elsewhere. You can not enforce the desire to fish. You can only enforce the action of fishing. Rod, sand spike, and line in water. Based on the rules set by the DOJ you don’t even need a hook on the end of that line. Can’t prove in court the fish didn’t take the hook etc. Because the ranger wasn’t standing there to witness what you had on your line originally. Literally that happens in court nearly every time, and it is tossed out. Only person ever charged for not actively fishing in court … admitted to it. Even the judge was shocked.

All hail the no hook nation.

I’ll bet if we used gates with limited access, it would cost much less than the current reservation system. The amount of people they will need to regulate this system, parks does not have and will cost a lot to employ. Even for just the two days. Gates are a one time cost. The tech exists to do all of this, it is not that hard.
Assateague is a good example and has been studied by parks they just don’t want anyone to know.
At one point there was a pilot program for gates at Gordons Pond and Herring Point. The excuse was going to be the president coming so they could closes the accesses. Then the surf tag sales went south in three hours and that idea was canned.

Pilot programs are just that an experimental attempt at a new system. If the people won’t get on the plane, ain’t no need for that pilot for the plane. Follow me ?
Pilot programs can crash before they even take off.
Contact your state representatives, DNREC, and anyone you think could help. These are YOUR/OUR parks and these people work for you, not the other way around. Because my next worry is that they will praise the program and then it becomes a weekly thing all summer.

So far parks has not announced how they are going to run this system. I was told … we hope it all just works itself out. I was floored. So they put in a reservation system and have no idea how they will enforce or regulate it. I can tell you that parks is in for a nightmare of issues on the first weekend. Imma go watch too. It takes time to check vehicles, if there are 20 vehicles out before 8 AM and aren’t leaving. Now you need at least 3 to 4 people to regulate the entrance(s) and check vehicles already on the beach. The line will keep building up. NIGHTMARE for whoever gets stuck dealing with this. Which will be rangers, seasonals, and probably some volunteers.

Here is a link for all the state reps and senators. Email or call your state representatives. This is the link for your Delaware senators. Be nice, it is much more helpful. No one likes to read negative emails, or be yelled at they get less attention. Talking to them in person has more of an effect. Below are people directly involved.

Senator Gerald Hocker … Gerald.Hocker@Delaware.gov
Representative Ron Grey … Ronald.Gray@delaware.gov
Senator Brian Pettyjohn … Brian.Pettyjohn@delaware.gov

Speaker of the House Pete Schwarzkopf … peter.schwartzkopf@delaware.gov
Governor John Carney … John.Carney@delaware.gov
Secretary of DNREC … Shawn Garvin … Shawn.Garvin@delaware.gov
Ray Bivens Director of Delaware State Parks … raymond.bivens@delaware.gov

Good luck, this is the last time I am going to post about reservations and all of this park created drama … I’m going surf fishing .. on weekdays. I haven’t bought a DE surf tag yet because I am conflicted giving my money to a organization that isn’t doing right by the people they are charging and the beaches they are responsible to protect.

A while back (years) we/us/you were asked to get support for parks to fight the coalition. You all stepped up and killed that in under 12 hours! Other organizations didn’t even get their emails off to the governor yet. You all killed it that quick. Do it again!! State Parks Say No To Restricted Beach Access

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