Delaware’s open spaces and natural places are areas of forests, waterways, parks, greenways, wetlands, and otherwise undeveloped lands. These open spaces support all of the living things that inhabit them, including the economy and people of Delaware.
Charged with protecting and conserving Delaware’s natural resources, DNREC has taken the lead in preserving a network of open spaces and natural places that support and protect our precious natural resources while also allowing for Delaware’s continued economic growth and development.
The process for acquiring open space lands and conservation easements was codified in 1990 with the passage of the Delaware Land Protection Act. The Land Preservation Office in DNREC implements this law by identifying areas of high ecological value and protects these areas by working with landowners who would like to protect their property from development and preserve it in perpetuity. Since the law was passed in 1990, over 37,000 acres of the Delaware landscape has been protected from development.
Natural open space lands contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to Delaware’s economy each year through hunting, fishing, wildlife watching and tourism. The diversity of plants, animals and habitats found on these lands also provide invaluable services like cleaning our air, filtering our water, and maintaining the fertility of our soil. Yet, thousands of acres of open space are lost to development each year, along with the economic values and environmental services that they provide.
DNREC is leading numerous strategic initiatives that support and enhance the maintenance of open space networks. While these programs have different names and roles, they all fall under the state’s strategies to direct resources and programs to most efficiently and effectively address growth and preservation.
For more information:
DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Land Preservation Office, (302) 739-9235
State Resource Areas
Land Preservation and Trails
Land Protection Act and Proposed Amendments
Open Space Council Meeting Minutes and Attachments