Fenwick Island State Park Surf Anglers Are Being Harassed

If you have been fishing at Fenwick Island state park since Memorial day weekend this is a heads up, some anglers have been complaining about people harassing them for being in front of the houses.  I am assuming this is the Beach Coalition people that wanted to keep trucks away from the front of their houses and condos.   Anglers are being told by these beach users, that they are not allowed to be where they are, which is completely wrong.  The beaches being part of Delaware’s state park system, managed by DNREC, belong to the citizens of the State of Delaware, not a handful of residents, landlords, and their summer renters.   Also there are huge holes being dug in the sand so be careful driving, especially if you are fishing at night.  Driving into one will get you stuck or worse, falling into one could hurt you.

We have been talking to people who have experienced this issue(s).

Mark King “I fish when I am out there and have been for a long time.  I have been told by park rangers to make sure I am actively fishing, so they do not have to deal with constant calls from the people in the houses”   

Carla Briccotto and her friends had this issue several weeks ago …

 WTF walk on rudeness ? … 

We are set up on the beach .. no music , no alcohol, dog on a leash, peaceful …
Christina arrives and parks next to us. All hell breaks loose !  I begin to do some stretching and push ups on my towel when I notice the lady on the other side of Christina’s Jeep ( who had just walked on ) taking pictures of the Jeep , Mark’s FJ, and me!! I stop my mini workout because I felt so uncomfortable. I then see the man is now standing at the front of Christina‘s truck almost leaning on it.. that was so odd I decided to get up and go over and see if there was a problem. I’m so short they didn’t see me coming and I caught them off guard. He was on the phone with either 911 or a park ranger calling in Christina’s tag  number.
I approach the lady:
Me : Hi there I’m Carla .. may I ask if there is something I can help you with?
Lady: Oh no
Me: Oh, well I have noticed you taking pictures of this vehicle and I can hear your husband on the phone reporting my friends tag number to someone. Is there something that is causing a problem?
Lady: No it’s ok
Me : Okay,  I just wanted to make sure if there was something that was troubling you that we work to resolve it.
Lady : No it’s fine
Man : (Now off the phone) .. Yes there is you need to be actively fishing, yelling at me !!!!
Me : Yes Sir that is correct and we are “actively fishing” as I explain the rules and how we are in compliance .
I go back and explain to Mark what is happening well that didn’t go so well! The Man would not look at any of us .. as Mark approaches – is there a problem Sir .. I’m asking you Sir is there a problem?
Man : Yes You are supposed to be actively fishing and you are NOT .
Mark : Recites the rules and then says “ mind your own business“
And that’s the only time she has her video on! 
I get Mark away and proceed to attempt to explain how the drive on works .. She is looking and smirking at me .
Me : Ma’am I truly hope the Ranger does come from your phone call because perhaps he can explain to you that we are all in compliance and I invite you actually to walk up and down the beach to see how other’s also set up .
Well .. she did just that walking up and down taking pictures of people’s trucks, tags, and families on the beach.
Some of the people got so angry that they walked back up the beach to find her when she was done and started taking pictures of her!  (side note … it is not illegal to take pictures of people in a public area, like a state park)
I wave them down and it turns out she told them the same thing about “actively fishing” .
Christina noticed a guy trying to find parking space so we pulled closer together so the stranger could have a spot. When he got out with his dogs they were all over him just like us.  We spent the day with those two families and it was very enjoyable.

 Another Misinformed Walk On person :
As I was walking back to our truck.. a family asked me what happened. The 40 ish aged woman says “ I bet he was drunk”  (A guy we helped got a big hook in is leg while shark fishing)
Me : He was very coherent and did not appear to be drunk .
Lady : Well then why didn’t he take the shark out of the water if he wasn’t drunk ?
Me : Umm .. you are not supposed to take them out because they die quickly and I believe it’s illegal to do so.
Lady : Oh and BTW this is NOT a drive on beach you are NOT supposed to be on here with vehicles.
Me : In my own head .. (what the hell is happening to me and who has beamed me up and plopped me in the middle of the sandy place that is no longer familiar) … Ma’am this is in fact a drive on beach and the Ranger’s have been by at least 4 times today . I am sure they would have removed all of the vehicles if we were not allowed to be here . Do you live here on the beach ? Are you renting ? I’m just curious, because I believe you have been gravely misinformed.
Questions : Can we all not just get along and be respectful ? Are the rentors being told this stuff ? Are these people on a campaign to have no drive on in front of their neighborhoods? 

Last weekend a (different) lady was walking up and down the beach pulling on people’s lines and telling them that this is a walking beach and they are not allowed to be here.  She pulled one angler’s rod out of the holder dumping his reel into the sand.   If you are out there make sure you are actively fishing at all times.  If you have any issues like this please let us know as we have been documenting this since Memorial day weekend.  I have several cases of these issues with the “people in the houses and condos”

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Solution .. Maybe we should ask the state to take away the walk on accesses to these communities.  They are paying collectively a little over $16,000 a year for these accesses.  Our surf tags bring in parks nearly 2 million a year.  These accesses are supposed to be accessible by the public but are in gated communities you are not allowed to park in and you can not park on route 1.  So technically it is for the public, but we cannot access them.

The Beach Coalition has now apparently formed a non-profit.  I would assume so they can write off the lawyer and lobbyist they are paying to take away your drive on access in those areas.  That’s right they are spending money to do this.  I would dare say they are paying more than they pay for the access to walk onto the beach from their housing communities.  Driving in the State of Delaware is a privilege you pay for and can be taken away for breaking the rules of the road, this access has the same privilege, it can be taken away.

These folks were all at the meeting we had last year with the Beach Coalition.  If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or issues please let them know.   They (Beach Coalition) told us they were going to work with parks to help alleviate their complaints, this is not how you do that.

Ron Gray … Ronald.Gray@state.de.us
Gerald Hocker … Gerald.Hocker@state.de.us
Pete Schwartzkopf … Peter.Schwartzkopf@state.de.us
Steve Smyk …Steve.Smyk@state.de.us 
Shawn Garvin, Secretary of DNREC … Shawn.Garvin@state.de.us
Ray Bivens, Director of Delaware State Parks … Raymond.Bivens@state.de.us

These people are documenting every little thing they can on these public drive on beaches so they can use it to get what they want.  You paid for your access, you have the right to be there as much as they do.  These are multi use beaches to be used by everyone, not  handful of people who live in front of the park.

Fish On!

Rich King


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