Delaware’s newest state park is growing by more than twenty percent.
Auburn Valley State Park in Yorklyn has acquired two contiguous 43-acre parcels of land. The park, which opened last fall, will now total more than 450 acres.
DNREC officials say the parcels were available for development before the state acquired them.
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin says with the density of development in New Castle County, Auburn Valley and White Clay Creek are some of the only northern parks that still have potential to grow.
“The one thing that we find particularly in New Castle County is we’re starting to run out of places in which we can preserve and purchase open space,” he said. “So our ability to find parcels particularly of this size putting them together is certainly kind of a gem. ”
Garvin notes preservation of the two parcels in Yorklyn is particularly important because they contain a stream that flows into the Red Clay Creek. “It helps to protect both water quality and the ecology because you’re not developing the property so you’re protecting that natural resource,” he said.
“We can see ourselves planning, expanding the forest buffers around the water resources that are there,” said Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens.
Officials also note preserving these parcels provides a wildlife migration corridor on public and private lands that extends into Pennsylvania.
Bivens says one goal for Auburn Valley is to have a trail that connects to parkland that reaches into Pennsylvania. The new acquisition gets Auburn Valley State Park closer to the state line.
The purchase was funded partially through the state Open Space Program, a donation from The Nature Conservancy and a grant through Mt. Cuba