Dover base, Parks and Recreation sign pact

Lt. Col. Donald Tasker III, 436th Force Support Squadron commander, signs a memorandum of understanding as Ray Bivens, Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation state parks director, watches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne)

Lt. Col. Donald Tasker III, 436th Force Support Squadron commander, signs a memorandum of understanding as Ray Bivens, Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation state parks director, watches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne)

DOVER — Members of the 436th Force Support Squadron based at Dover Air Force Based recently met with a representative from the Delaware Parks and Recreation Office to sign a memorandum of understanding.

The latest pact of the First State Community Partnership officially recognized the long-standing relationship between the two agencies, and established intent to continue building the foundation for greater teamwork.

Previously known as the Public-Public; Public-Private Partnership initiative, the First State Community Partnership expanded the existing base-community collaboration early this year by providing signed participation agreements between the Air Force and community entities.

Lt. Col. Donald Tasker III, 436th FSS commander, said these signed agreements formalize relationships between the Air Force and community partners in a way that benefits all parties involved. Formal agreements provide an infrastructure for sharing information and needs in both directions; sometimes the military can meet the needs of the community, and often the opposite is true.

For Delaware Parks and Recreation the partnership truly is a two-way street.

“We have been working with Dover AFB for years now,” said Ray Bivens, Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation state parks director. “The outdoor recreation office sells annual state park passes for half the price to active duty members, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to give back.
The military has done so much for us in Delaware, it would be wrong not to try to give back.”

Mr. Bivens cited several instances where the military has supported the state parks.

• Of Delaware’s 16 state parks, three are previous military installations iconic for their use during influential wars of the past including the Civil War and World War II.

• When the state park staff had difficulty doing its job because they lacked vehicles that could drive on the sandy Delaware beaches, the Air Force again stepped up. Mr. Bivens praised the members of the installation who were influential in providing the machinery they needed.

The partnership continues today, and both parties continue to look toward the future.

“Our team values our relationship with Delaware Parks and Recreation and looks forward to expanding partnerships to make our community stronger and deliver even more programs and services to our Airmen and their families,” Lt. Col. Tasker said. “By jointly programming recreation opportunities with Delaware State Parks, we introduce our community to all the great stuff there is to see in the community we are part of. Delaware is a beautiful place to get out and see and enjoy a fit and healthy lifestyle.”

Delaware’s state parks cover more than 300,000 acres and include facilities such as full-service campsites, cabins and golf courses. They also offer attractions many would not assume a state park to provide such as the state’s largest water park and a zip line.

For more information about Delaware State Parks or annual passes, visit the outdoor recreation office or call (302) 677-3959.

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