State Parks annual passes, surf-fishing permits on sale Dec. 16

DOVER — The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced Thursday that the sale of 2021 Delaware State Parks annual passes and surf-fishing permits will begin Wednesday.

This year, DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation instituted several upgrades that it hopes will allow for more efficient fulfillment of passes and permits.

Annual passes
Annual passes for 2021 purchased at state park offices will now be printed on-site. Those who purchase annual passes online will now receive a temporary 30-day printable receipt to place in their vehicle’s windshield for entry into state parks, while waiting for their pass to arrive in the mail.

Annual passes are a convenient way to access the parks for the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30. A Delaware resident annual pass costs $35, and Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $18. A $65 lifetime pass also is available for Delawareans 65 and older.

Reduced rates are also offered to Delawareans who receive public assistance or who are active-duty military or veterans. Active-duty military personnel with an out-of-state license plate can purchase an annual pass at the in-state rate.

Surf-fishing permits
Starting for 2021, surf-fishing permit decals will now be printed with the license plate number of the permit holder’s vehicle. This change will allow for more efficient enforcement of surf-fishing regulations, including checks conducted by DNREC police.

The purchase of a surf-fishing permit allows individuals to drive onto the beach for fishing. First-time permit holders must also obtain a surf-fishing plate on which to affix their surf-fishing permit decal. In addition to entry onto Delaware State Parks drive-on beaches, the decal enables the vehicle to gain entrance into the other state parks without paying the daily entrance fee.

Surf-fishing permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are capped at 17,000 annually to manage a limited resource, protect against overcrowding of parks beaches and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Delaware’s award-winning state parks system.

The surf-fishing permit fee for Delaware residents is $90, while out-of-state residents pay $180. Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $80.

Corporate and group pass program
In addition, the division offers a corporate and group pass program to businesses, nonprofits and other groups for discounted annual passes for their employees.

Revenue generated from park entrance fees is used to manage 17 state parks, more than 26,000 acres of state parklands and the Brandywine Zoo. Delaware’s state parks are primarily self-funded, with 65% of revenue to operate and maintain the parks generated by park users. The revenue is used for trail maintenance, environmental and recreational programs, visitor amenities, guarded beaches, management of campgrounds, cabins and more.

For more information or to purchase an annual pass or surf-fishing permit starting Wednesday, visit a state park office or destateparks.com/know/passestagsfees.