As part of its ongoing mission to increase visitation, boost the economy and make travelers’ trips more convenient, the Delaware Tourism Office launched the Delaware Outdoor Trail on Tuesday, unveiling a lineup of dozens of activities at back-to-nature locations in all three counties.
Launched on Earth Day at the St. Jones Reserve Coastal Training Center near Dover, the trail was designed in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Department of Transportation to suit travelers’ personal preferences in outdoor escape. It features four primary types of adventures, each comprising a variety of clearly marked trails at various locations, including:
· Walking/Hiking/Running activities
· Biking activities
· Wildlife Viewing
· Water activities
Some locations include more than one type of activity – at Brandywine Creek State Park, for example, participants can enjoy all four types of adventures at separate Outdoor Trail locations within the park.
“A mindset of environmental stewardship is crucial to our nation’s future, and fortunately more Americans today are embracing that responsibility as individuals,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a notable conservation proponent. “The Delaware Tourism Trail will help raise that environmental consciousness even further, and spread the word of all the natural beauty Delaware has.”
Modeled after the Tourism Office’s four other successful trails — Culinary, Wine & Ale, Geocaching and History — this initiative aims to increase out-of-state visitation, encourage physical activity and raise awareness of Delaware’s natural beauty. Each of the visitor-friendly trails offers travelers a methodical, convenient and fun way to explore top attractions, while also potentially winning a prize as participants check off trail “passports” that can be downloaded from VisitDelaware.com/Outdoor.
“Delaware’s natural beauty is an important part of the state’s appeal to tourists, and the Outdoor Trail leverages that appeal, making it easy for visitors to find and enjoy what we offer,” said Linda Parkowski, Delaware’s Tourism Director. “The trail will help spread awareness of what we in Delaware already know – the state is full of diverse natural beauty, from the dunes of Cape Henlopen to the rolling hills of New Castle County.”
To assist travelers who explore the Outdoor Trail’s various locales, the starting points (and in some cases, waypoints) of each activity have been marked with official trail signs. At the bottom of each sign, participants will find a “code” for that activity that can be used to complete their Outdoor Trail Passports and win a prize: an official Delaware Tourism backpack. To qualify, participants must complete five activities in each county.
“The new Delaware Outdoor Trail adds to the more than 500 miles of hiking, biking, equestrian and water trails we can enjoy throughout the state,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Through these new and better types of trails and attractions, we can appeal to even more Delawareans: to more nature lovers, hunters, anglers, bird watchers, bicyclists and hikers. Trails like this one enable us to engage a broader community of trail users.”
The possibilities for adventure are on the trail abundant, from Southern Delaware’s peaceful bays and beaches to the rolling hills of New Castle County. Included in the trail are such scenic Delaware sites as:
· Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, one of the world’s foremost stopping points for migrating shorebirds. Here, visitors can view wildlife, hike or run trails, bike through the wetlands, or canoe.
· Trap Pond State Park, where visitors can kayak around the nation’s northernmost stand of bald cypress trees.
· Cape Henlopen State Park, a seaside paradise of dunes, beaches and Atlantic Ocean vistas that has some of the most scenic biking and hiking trails in the state.
· Lums Pond State Park, where hiking, boating, fishing and wildlife-watching opportunities abound.
“Any time we can make our state a more appealing destination for travelers, it’s good for us all,” said Cabinet Secretary Alan Levin of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “This new trail will certainly appeal to the many out-of-state vacationers who want to break a bit of a sweat during their travels, and to the many whose interest in seeing natural attractions is growing.”
The experiences visitors can enjoy are limitless: Paddling a kayak silently across Indian River Bay into the setting sun. Spending an afternoon at Ashland Nature Center, awaiting the appearance of a soaring bird of prey on Hawk Watch Hill. Taking a moment to escape from the civilized world’s chaos and soak in the peaceful silence at a wildlife refuge, watching shorebirds on their timeless coastal journeys.
As part of their Outdoor Trail adventure, visitors are encouraged to use the resources at VisitDelaware.com to plan a more immersive trip to Delaware – exploring the grand du Pont family mansions and estates, stopping by one of the breweries on the Delaware Wine & Ale Trail for a quick pint, or just reading a good book with their toes in the sand.
VisitDelaware.com’s databases are also designed to help travelers find the best lodging options and discover some of the many festivals and special events that occur year-round in Delaware. Visitors also can explore the website’s database of transportation options, including Frontier Airlines (at Wilmington-Philadelphia Airport), statewide DART bus routes, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry’s regular trips across the Delaware Bay to New Jersey (both the ferry and buses are bicycle-friendly).
While they’re here, visitors can also use VisitDelaware.com to take advantage of the state’s tax-free shopping, especially the brand-name bargains at the Tanger Outlets near Rehoboth Beach, the boutiques of Delaware’s beach towns and small towns, and the upscale shops of Christiana Mall.
On the Web
Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Delaware Tourism Office
(302) 672-6813 (o)
(302 300-7274 (c)