FENWICK ISLANDDel.- Delaware Beach Access Coalition President Charles Turnbaugh and fellow citizens say walking on state park beaches is nearly impossible.
“We now serve as a vehicle to bring attention to the misuse of the three beachfront parks and how they can be better used for all of Delaware and how the swimming areas in the park should be developed,” Turnbaugh said.
Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen president Clark Evans says that’s not true. He says surf anglers have no problem sharing the beach with pedestrians and thinks the request is personal.
“We advocate for beach access as an organization,” Evans said. “We see this request as he asks the taxpayers of the State of Delaware to privatize the beach in front of his house for his personal use and his tenants.
There are signs that indicate the point where vehicles are not supposed to cross in the bathing areas. But the Delaware Beach Access Coalition says some of those signs have been removed from some of the beaches, resulting in swimming and fishing areas being crossed.
Turnbaugh says safety is his coalition’s concern due to drivers speeding on the beach and fishing lines left with sharp hooks unattended.
Evans says such incidents are rare and surf fishing is a safe tradition in Sussex County.
20th District Sen. Gerald Hocker said the current usage is based on a verbal agreement made decades ago.
“An agreement made with the Delaware Surf Fishermen and Delaware State Parks to give up part of their fishing area for Fenwick Island State Park and at that time they were told they would never come back and would try to take any extra fishing space from them which the fishermen were very worried about,” Hocker said.
The coalition says it will continue to release its information to the public and state government over the next two months, while Sen. Hocker says he is not breaking his adherence to the verbal agreement.