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Delaware spends $2.6 mil to expand state park

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Delaware Public Media
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The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) recently added 32 acres to White Clay Creek State Park in Newark.

It purchased the land from a private landowner with about $2.6 million from the Delaware Open Space Program (OSP).

State Parks Director Ray Bivens says it’s the largest addition to the park since 2003.

“It’s certainly land that was highly developable,” said Bivens. “The landowner had passed up on larger offers than the state was able to make which we greatly appreciate. They wanted to [sic] have it be part of the park.”      

The state has spent nearly $62 million to add more than 2,200 acres to White Clay Creek State Park since 1988 when OSP was started.

The latest addition is heavily wooded and extends the park’s footprint along Route 896 near Krantz Hill Farm.

“It kind of creates our southern border at the park right now. That’s the main reason,” said Bivens. “We knew that if it was ever developed we’d never have that opportunity again.”   

Bivens says the new area will soon be evaluated for invasive species. 

The move to buy the land came shortly before DNREC announced its new park superintendent, Laura Lee. Lee began working for State Parks in 1991 and was previously superintendent of Auburn Valley State Park.

“Anytime we can add a piece of adjacent land that’s very important to the natural resource, because habitat fragmentation is a chronic problem in many areas,” she said.        

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