Trap Pond State Park near Laurel has long been noted for the natural beauty of its wetland forest and lush swamp lands, home of the northernmost natural stand of bald cypress trees in the United States. The state park this month received a new distinction as a site on the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Network.
Trap Pond was created in the late 1700s to power a sawmill for bald cypress lumbered by European settlers for shipbuilding, shingles and even water tanks. In the 1930s, the Federal Government purchased the pond and surrounding lands and set the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to work developing the property as a recreation area. Trap Pond became one of Delaware’s first state parks in 1951, and is today administered by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks and Recreation.
As a Chesapeake Bay Gateway, Trap Pond joins a partnership system of more than 150 parks, wildlife refuges, maritime museums, sailing ships, historic communities and water trails that share the goal of fostering citizen stewardship of the Bay and its tributaries. Trap Pond is connected to the Chesapeake watershed by draining into Broad Creek and eventually emptying into the Nanticoke River which flows into the Bay. At Gateway sites, including Trap Pond, visitors can experience the Chesapeake’s spectacular natural areas, its unique contributions to American history and its rich maritime heritage.
Text and photos by Joanna Wilson, DNREC public affairs
Attending the Aug. 23 dedication of the park as a Gateway site were Senator Thomas R. Carper, Congressman Michael N. Castle, DNREC Secretary John A. Hughes, Division of Parks and Recreation Director Charles A. Salkin, and John Maounis, Superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Water Trails Network.
One of the benefits of Trap Pond’s becoming a Gateway site is the opportunity to apply for National Park Service grants for specific Bay-related projects. During the ceremony, Trap Pond was awarded a 2007 Gateways grant for $25,000, which will be applied toward the park’s new Bald Cypress Nature Center. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Network, please visit www.baygateways.net.
Centered around its 90-acre pond, Trap Pond State Park features a playground, nature trails, picnic areas, pavilions, fishing, disc golf, game courts and ball fields, horse trails, camping options including rental cabins and yurts, a camp store, guided pontoon boat tours and boat rentals including canoes, pedal boats and kayaks.
Trap Pond State Park is located 5 miles east of Laurel, 1 mile off Route 24 on Baldcypress Lane. For more information about the park, please call the park office at 302-875-5153 or visit www.destateparks.com/tpsp/tpsp.htm.