Parks Better: Working Together for Responsible Recreation

This summer, we’re launching a campaign to help all of our park visitors engage in responsible recreation. Parks Better has a simple goal: to educate and engage Delaware State Park visitors in actions that care for their parks and their fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Over the past few years, visitation to Delaware State Parks has skyrocketed. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we think about and use outdoor spaces. During lockdowns and social distancing, people retreated to the great outdoors in large numbers because it was a safe, fun place to connect with others and with nature. Folks who had never considered themselves “outdoorsy” before fell in love with parks. We’re so grateful – state parks are for everyone, and exposing people to everything they have to offer is a big part of our mission. But with this migration outdoors, we’ve learned that we have some educating to do to ensure everyone has a positive experience. Follow along with Parks Better as we share helpful information for responsible recreation. Over the next few months, we’ll tackle three major points: pets in parks, trash & litter, and trail etiquette.

These natural lands are preserved and protected for the people to enjoy – we need your help to steward these places so they can be loved for years to come.

A black, curly haired dog stands in the foreground with mouth open and tongue out. Behind the dog is the Marshall Mansion at Auburn Valley State Park, out of focus.
Parks are better with your furry best friend in tow.

Be a Doggy Doo-Gooder: Pets in Parks

Recently, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of incidents with pets in our parks, including an unbelievable increase in the amount of littered pet waste bags. In June, we’ll tackle some common misconceptions and help you navigate the great outdoors with your fluffy best friend in tow.

Two people gather trash on an empty beach in the winter. A man in a blue coat, right, holds a trash bag while a woman in a black coat, left, bends to pick up litter from the dunes. The Atlantic Ocean is calm with small waves in the background.
Take only memories, leave only footprints – litter puts a damper on park adventures.

Respect, Protect, Collect: Trash & Litter

Carry-in, carry-out is a tenet of many parks across the globe and is a best practice to keep natural spaces clean, safe and protected. During this campaign, we’ll explain why and provide handy tips to help keep parks clean!

A paved hiking trail ascends a slight hill from the bottom middle to center of the image, disappearing around a turn. On both sides of the trail are tall trees in red, yellow, orange, green and brown as fall foliage hits its peak in Alapocas Run State Park.
Hiking, biking and horses, oh my! Trails are used by many people for many purposes, and we can all respect each other’s good time.

Don’t Be a Trail Hog: Trail Etiquette

Delaware State Parks has more than 130 miles of trails throughout the state, including many multi-use trails that are used for various activities. With so many different activities happening in the same space, it’s easy for problems to arise. We’ll walk you through the basics of trail use and standard practices that keep trails equitable, accessible, and safe for all.

Follow along as we learn more together this season! Explore more in the meantime with park rules and regulations on Carry In, Carry Out, Pets in Parks, and more.

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