The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks & Recreation will host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. July 30 at Deerfield, 507 Thompson Station Road, Newark, for the public to provide comments and ask questions on the draft master plan for White Clay Creek State Park.
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced in May 2018 the Division of Parks & Recreation would create a master plan for the future of the park. The division previously held four open houses and also provided an online survey in 2018 to gather public input. More than 1,300 participants provided feedback.
The draft master plan is available at destateparks.com/whiteclaymasterplan. The webpage will be updated as the process moves forward.
More than 60 items are proposed in the draft master plan. Focus areas include:
— The Nature Center and programming complex: Facility improvements, interpretive locations and sustainable access are needed.
— Park office move: The draft master plan calls for the park office to be moved to an existing building in the Carpenter Recreation Area, creating easier access for most park users.
— Judge Morris area: A new partnership, with a special events business, is expected to revitalize the Judge Morris Estate.
— Potential partnerships: The division will explore partnerships for the adaptive reuse of some buildings, and limited areas.
— Natural and cultural stewardship: Actions are necessary to protect and enhance the native ecology and cultural history of the park.
— Parking and vehicular ingress/egress: Among others, this recommendation includes the proposed closure of three segments of road to vehicle traffic, where it is currently restricted.
— Signage and programming: This includes efforts to improve signage and information on natural and historic features, as well as trail etiquette.
— Trail projects: An updated trail planning effort is incorporated into the draft master plan.
— Camping: Camping opportunities are proposed to enhance visitors’ park experiences. More evaluation is needed to determine amenities to be offered and their scope.
Now that a draft master plan has been created, the Division of Parks & Recreation will provide the opportunity for public involvement and will clarify next steps. These include:
— 5-7 p.m. July 30: The Division of Parks & Recreation will host the open house to take comments and answer questions from the public on the draft master plan.
— 9:30 a.m. Aug. 1: The draft master plan will be presented to the Parks & Recreation Council, an 11-member board appointed by the governor, that advises the Division of Parks & Recreation.
— August: The Division of Parks & Recreation will make any necessary revisions to the draft, and the revised version will serve as the final draft master plan, which will be posted online on the DNREC website.
— Late summer-early autumn 2019: The Division of Parks & Recreation will host a public meeting on the final draft master plan, to provide the opportunity for any remaining public comments or questions to be heard and addressed.
— Autumn 2019: The director of the Division of Parks & Recreation will determine if the final draft master plan should be adopted.
The public is encouraged to submit comments or questions on the draft master plan, whether or not they can attend the open house. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sent by U.S. mail to DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, Attn: WCCSP Master Plan.