CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
New parking restrictions in place for vehicles
at Delaware State Parks’ surf-fishing beaches
Only single-file parking allowed on state surf-fishing beaches
DOVER (May 12, 2015) – Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens announced today that recreational surf-fishing management changes that include parking restrictions are in effect immediately for all state surf-fishing beaches. Vehicles bearing surf-fishing permits (meaning their occupants must be actively engaged in recreational surf fishing) will now be required to park in single-file, with a ban on vehicle stacking that enables better enforcement of the actively-engaged rule and also addresses safety concerns for beachgoers and park staff.
Director Bivens cited Delaware code and DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation regulations that authorize his office to limit or close public use areas – authority that applies to both land and water – when such action is necessary for proper management and stewardship of the resource, in this case the state’s surf-fishing beaches.
Bivens noted that surf-fishing vehicle permits issued by DNREC rose 30 percent over the last five years – from 11,380 in 2011 to a projected 15,000 permits for the current year. “Over the past several years, the Division of Parks & Recreation has seen a steady increase in the demand for surf-fishing vehicle permits,” he said. “With the increase in permits issued have come a higher number of park visitors not following the rules associated with recreational surf fishing. This change will allow for stronger enforcement of the actively-engaged surf-fishing rule and also make our beaches safer for park visitors.”
Various user groups, the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen chief among them, have voiced growing concern that the enforcement of surf-fishing vehicle permit regulations must be paramount to any other activities on the state’s surf-fishing beaches. “Our board membership fully supports this policy change,” said Bruce West, president of the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen, “and we applaud DNREC, Director Bivens and Parks Enforcement staff for listening to the concerns of the sport-fishing community. We also know that this problem did not happen overnight and will not be fixed overnight, either.”
Acknowledging the surf fishermen’s concern and also citing a safety issue as vehicles congregate and stack, Chief Wayne Kline of Delaware State Parks Enforcement said that rectifying the parking problem on the beaches is a priority. “While Delaware State Park beaches are a great place to engage in fishing and other recreational activities, parking two-, three- and four-deep on the surf-fishing beaches presents Parks’ enforcement staff with a number of challenges,” Chief Kline said.
The decision to limit surf-fishing permit-bearing vehicles to single-row parking comes after careful analysis by DNREC and the Division of Parks & Recreation. Surf-fishing-permitted vehicles are now required to park within designated surf-fishing vehicle beaches in single-file from the toe of the dune to the high tide line. Chief Kline said the new restriction will be strictly enforced, and that vehicles parked on the beaches must also be in compliance with other Delaware State Parks’ surf-fishing regulations – reiterating that vehicle occupants must be actively engaged in surf fishing.
Director Bivens’ restrictions also stipulate that vehicle parking will be accommodated “on a first-come, first-served basis and space may not be reserved for others who may be coming later in any given day. We thank the surf-fishing public and our park visitors for observing these restrictions and helping protect our precious beaches within Delaware State Parks.”
Vol. 45, No. 143