Contact: Lt. Douglas Messeck, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-258-4045, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to close Nanticoke Wildlife Area
road to vehicular traffic due to ongoing problems with dumping, vandalism
Unpaved road to remain open to compatible uses such as hiking, biking and horseback riding
LAUREL (March 21, 2014) – Beginning Friday, March 28, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife will be installing gates and closing an unpaved cross road connecting Phillips Landing Road with Sharptown Road through the Robert L. Graham Nanticoke Wildlife Area near Laurel. The area continues to attract illegal activity including trash dumping and vandalism despite increased signage and public notification and increased law enforcement presence.
The gates will close the road only to automobiles and all motorized traffic. The road will remain open to compatible uses, such as hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.
“We encourage the public to enjoy our Fish and Wildlife areas and the unique outdoor experiences they offer. However, state wildlife areas are public lands with a conservation mission – and the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s mission is to protect and conserve these areas for current and future generations,” said David Saveikis, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “As stewards of this land for Delaware, we cannot allow a few people who do not respect the area to ruin things for the many who do. Therefore, we are closing the gates to vehicular traffic on this roadway, at least temporarily, as a stronger deterrent to illegal activity.”
The 4,415-acre Nanticoke Wildlife Area includes access for anglers and boaters to the scenic and historic Nanticoke River via Phillips Landing public boat ramp. However, the area has been plagued by a variety of violations, including: dumping of trash, furniture, appliances, scrap tires and yard waste; damaging access roads with vehicles; smashing access gates; and spray-painting graffiti on wildlife area signs, as well as damage to the John Smith monument at Phillips Landing.
“Most visitors to the Nanticoke Wildlife Area and Phillips Landing treat this beautiful area with respect and enjoy the fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding and other outdoor activities that it offers,” said Chief Robert Legates of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “However, this area also seems to be a popular target for vandalism and criminal mischief by a few who would spoil the enjoyment for others. To anyone considering actions that damage this area, be warned: we have zero tolerance for your illegal activities.”
Fish and Wildlife Enforcement agents will continue to monitor the Nanticoke Wildlife Area closely, Chief Legates said. “We rely on the people of Delaware to share and support our role as good stewards of our natural resources – and that includes reporting those who abuse these valuable resources,” Legates added. “And, those who are caught will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section works to achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580 or 800-523-3336.
Vol. 44, No. 76