Out and About in Delaware's State Parks
|by Stephen Schilly|
|No Escape! Have you ever wanted to "escape"...to get away from the craziness associated with everyday life? I know I often feel that way. When pressure and stress get to me I like to head to the nearest park to escape from it all. I actually had that experience a few weeks ago while on a short "working" vacation in Florida. My partner, Bob, and I had gone down to continue efforts to make over what will be our retirement house in Boynton Beach. Now, I am not a person to shy away from hard work. If there is a job to be done, I am normally more than happy to jump right in. But remodeling and decorating a home are nothing short of excruciating for me! Bob, on the other hand, couldn't be happier. He savors every aspect of the experience. Running from one designer store to the next only serves to stoke his creative fires. Every minute detail is explored to ensure the final "look" is perfect. Tile, carpet, drapes, furniture, door hardware...nothing is given to chance. We've been to the nearby Lowes and Home Depot so frequently that I'm beginning to think of their staff as "family." The final straw for me was when Bob decided to start doing the actual installations. He couldn't wait to see everything in its proper place. While I have often made it clear that I find a trip to the dentist's chair more appealing than decorating, I knew it wouldn't be long before I was dragged into the process. Right from the start, nothing was going in with any ease. Wrong hardware, wrong tools...nothing was going right! My frustration only got worse when Bob insisted on using a laser level to ensure everything was hung at precisely the right height. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get the darn thing to stick properly to the wall. My obvious and admittedly vocal frustration only served to get Bob upset. He finally realized I was going to be no help in the process and banished me from the house. I have many talents but decorating is not one of them! I thankfully took off for the nearby county park to "chill out" on the peaceful beach. When I returned home a couple hours later, I found Bob had nearly finished the project and had done a typically beautiful job. He was tired but happy. I was ecstatic. That was all several weeks ago. We will soon be returning to Florida for a final trip this summer. Yesterday, Bob informed me he's decided the "look" achieved in the house isn't quite right. We're going to have to relocate many of the major pieces of artwork, replace blinds and raise curtain rods. In other words...we are starting over again! There is no escaping this...HELP!!!
(Rockford Tower in Wilmington State Park)
Park Explorations: Wilmington State Parks In the on-going series exploring Delaware State Parks, our next stop is Wilmington State Parks. This unique site is actually a cluster of smaller, interconnected parks and facilities located in the City of Wilmington including the Brandywine Zoo, Baynard Stadium, Brandywine Park, H. Fletcher Brown Park, Rockford Park, and Alapocas Woods natural area. Most of these sites were originally city owned parks previously managed by New Castle County. In 1998, operational responsibility was transferred to the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation which combined the sites under one administrative team to create what is now known as "Wilmington State Parks." While that makes this unit one of Delaware's "newest" State Parks, some of the smaller sites actually qualify among the oldest parks in Delawareincluding the Brandywine Zoo that is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2005! Located a short distance from the scenic Brandywine River, the12-acre site features animals native to the Americas and the temperate areas of Asia including Siberian tigers, river otters, monkeys, llamas and Andean Condors. It is a wonderful place for the whole family to spend a relaxing day! Nearby, Brandywine Park offers paved trails and picnic areas adjacent to the river. Beautiful gardens including the historic Jasper Crane Rose Garden invite visitors to escape from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding urban area. The park features numerous monuments including the Josephine Fountain, Todd Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and the African American Medal Of Honor Memorial. Up the hill from the river is Baynard Stadium. This well known athletic facility serves as a gathering site for many important local sporting events. No visit to Wilmington State Parks is complete without a stop at Rockford Park. The centerpiece of this beloved park is arguably the most well known landmark in the citythe 100 year old Rockford Tower. Situated amid the rolling hills of the piedmont, the majestic stone water tower offers unparalleled views of the nearby urban skyline. The tower is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 1 through October 31. The surrounding grounds offer large open spaces, beautiful woods and numerous athletic fields making it a great location to hike, bike, jog, fly kites, or play ball or tennis. All this in a setting just minutes from the heart of Delaware's largest city! For information on Wilmington State Parks, its programs and fees, call the office at 302-577-7020.
Be Alert! Whenever you participate in outdoor activities, it is always prudent to take reasonable precautions to ensure your personal health and safety. While there are any number of potentially harmful plants and creatures, two of the most common in Delaware are poison ivy and ticks. The following is information from signs the Division has created and posted giving helpful hints on how you can avoid problems from these nuisance species.
Contact with poison ivy may cause severe skin inflammation, itching, and water blisters. Found throughout the state, you may see the plant in shrub or vine forms. Although there are many variations to poison ivy leaves, all have three leaflets. By staying on trails you should be able to avoid contact. While poison ivy may be harmful to most people, it does have benefits. The plant's berries are enjoyed as winter food by many types of wildlife.
Ticks have been found throughout Delaware. Some ticks may carry diseases including Lyme disease. When outdoors, use the following precautions:
Walk to the center of trails. Wear light colored clothing to increase the visibility of the tick. Tuck pants into socks. Wear long sleeve shirts. Use tick repellents on clothing and repellent collars on pets. Thoroughly check people and pets for ticks. Remove a tick by grasping close to the skin with tweezers and pulling steadily and gently until it releases its hold. In most cases, ticks must feed for hours before transmitting disease. If, following a tick bite, you develop a rash or ring shaped red spot or any flu-like symptoms, contact your physician.
For more information on park programs, contact the Seaside Nature Center at 302-645-6852 or visit www.destateparks.com
Stephen Schilly is Park Operations Administrator for the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation. He may be reached at email@example.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 12 August 26, 2005