In general, open space acreage and opportunities for passive recreation within the watershed are adequate, according to the guidelines of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). However, public opinion does not support the finding of adequacy, and there is a regional imbalance in the location of active and passive recreational lands in favor of the dense population centers. In addition, park and trail maintenance is inconsistent, and numerous conflicts have been identified between parkland uses and the preservation of natural qualities and resources.
Roles and Responsibilities
Some 10% of the watershed's total acreage is preserved as open space and parkland. In Delaware; the majority of these protected lands are managed by DNREC, New Castle County and the City of Newark. In Pennsylvania, the protected open space is managed by DCNR and a few townships. The 1,800-acre White Clay Creek Preserve is managed jointly by the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Goals and Key Actions
Open Space and Recreation - Goals
- Protect "wild and primitive areas within the watershed.
- Achieve compatibility among park uses.
- Link open lands throughout the watershed to increase open space and recreation opportunities and to protect riparian areas to improve water quality.
- Distribute visitation among parks.
Open Space and Recreation - Key Actions
- Implement an open-space land-acquisition, management and recreation plan that a) forges collaboration among Pennsylvania and Delaware counties and municipalities, b) addresses conflicts in use regulations, c) maps potential greenway linkages and d) balances active and passive recreational uses with conservation of natural areas and resources.
- Identify and map undeveloped ("wild and primitive) spaces.
- Identify and map existing protected lands (public and private) to locate "gaps between links.
- Publish a comprehensive park/activity guide to direct visitors to the activity centers and uses accommodated in each watershed park.
Trails and Roads - Goals
- Provide an integrated system of trails that avoids sensitive natural and cultural resources and connects publicly owned lands in the watershed.
- Provide a system of non-motorized trails within the watershed that meets the needs of such user groups.
- Promote safety for recreational users of park roads.
- Encourage trail users to stay on trail routes
Trails and Roads - Key Actions
- Inventory all existing trails noting route, length, condition and appropriate uses.
- Assign appropriate uses to all trails.
- Realign old trails to avoid sensitive habitats.
- Mark trail routes with "blazes or signage.
- Determine the number of new trails needed to accommodate all user groups, including horseback and mountain-bike riders, by assessing overall need, site compatibility and economic conditions.
- Work with DOT on "Share-the-Road signs for cyclists.
- Publish a comprehensive trail/recreational-road guide for the watershed.
Hunting and Fishing - Goals
- Control the deer population in and around the watershed.
- Resolve conflicts in hunting regulations between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
- Increase watershed land area open to deer hunting.
- Improve stream quality to support trout population.
- Relieve fishing-season traffic and parking problems.
Hunting and Fishing - Key Actions
- Work with landowners to add acreage to watershed hunting areas.
- Coordinate state hunting seasons and permitted weaponry.
- Design and implement a signage program delineating hunting and fishing areas and warning recreationists of the presence of hunters.
- Aggressively enforce sediment-control requirements for new development.
- Coordinate state park and transportation officials to manage traffic during trout season.