Delaware seeing increase in use of state of campgrounds

A family tent campsite at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes includes paved pads with water and electric available for RVs. A limited number of paved sites are pull-through. (Submitted photos/DNREC)

DOVER — According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, statistics show camping is gaining in popularity at the state’s five park campgrounds. So far in 2017, officials said, 5,658 visitors have camped for 2,391 nights in the campground parks and Indian River Marina Cottages, an increase of 7 percent in camping nights over 2016.

In addition, reservations in 2017 have been booked up to a year in advance.

“Camping in our state parks is an experience you won’t forget,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

“Campers and visitors alike can enjoy our waterpark, canoeing, ziplining, horseback riding, our beautiful trails, and so much more. Our improved campgrounds also play a large role, especially for RVers. Delaware’s state parks offer the best in camping — no wonder it is more popular than ever.”

The increase in camping reservations, especially at Lums Pond and Cape Henlopen state parks, DNREC said was beneficial because more than $6 million has been spent to upgrade the campgrounds to accommodate the needs of modern campers and address long standing infrastructure issues.

Campgrounds at the inland parks still have openings for camping this summer season, while at the beach parks, campgrounds are filling fast with 65 percent of the campsites already booked through Labor Day weekend, DNREC said. Officials believe that is a sign that Delaware State Parks could see a record year of campers.

At Lums Pond in Bear, where DNREC said three-point hook-ups were added in 2016, camping nights were up 400 percent this spring, in comparison to the past five years of camping stays for the same period. As the only campground in New Castle County and located just off the U.S. 95 and the U.S. 40 corridor, Lums Pond has become a popular campground for RVers, DNREC said. The s sites feature new 50-amp electric service, water and sewer hook-ups.

Lums Pond State Park campground in Bear, renovated in 2016, has sites with paved pads and three-point hookups for RVs as well as tent sites and pondside yurt tents.

After nearly eight months of construction, Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes showcased its campground improvements, DNREC said, including back-in, pull-through, and walk-in campsites; a new camp store; sites with 50 or 100 amp electric service and water hook-ups; a new playground; laundry area; and a paved one-way road system.

Killens Pond and Trap Pond state parks’ campgrounds also were renovated over the winter. Electric was upgraded to 50-amp service in several loops and restrooms were renovated. At Trap Pond’s campground in Laurel, DNREC said a multi-year re-forestation effort is underway.

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