Boardwalk and observation deck open
This afternoon, Governor John Carney, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester and a host of other dignitaries and residents participated in a ribbon cutting in Slaughter Beach for the completion of the boardwalk and observation deck at the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve on the Delaware Bayshore Byway.
Governor John Carney remarked, "This scenic overlook is another wonderful amenity for our state and further enhances the experience visitors will have when visiting the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve and the Delaware Bayshore Byway."
In 1988, the Marvel family, of Milford, donated the 109-acre Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve to the Delaware Nature Society. The preserve is home to several wildlife species. The boardwalk and observation deck will enhance the environmental education programs hosted by the Delaware Nature Society.
"The Slaughter Beach Overlook creates an opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy nature and learn the important role it plays in our daily lives," said State Representative Bryan Shupe. "This unique resource enhances awareness of the ecosystems that are at play in our beautiful waterways and will strengthen preservation efforts in Southern Delaware."
The boardwalk and observation deck provide access to the Marvel Saltwater Preserve. The project was made possible by a partnership between DelDOT, DNREC, Delaware Nature Society, and the Town of Slaughter Beach with funding for design, engineering, and construction from multiple sources.
"Slaughter Beach is a jewel and a wonderful example of Delaware's natural beauty," said State Senator Dave Wilson. "Many thanks to all those involved, especially the Marvel family, who have done so much for our area for many years."
The Town of Slaughter Beach Mayor Harry Ward said, "The town is appreciative of all of the support from our state and federal partners along with the private partners who have contributed to this educational and entertainment opportunity for our community and the surrounding area. This boardwalk represents a core set of beliefs by this community which is to live in harmony in our area, respect our surroundings and to educate our community on the importance of the natural habitat this marsh represents. Through the efforts of many, we now have a great opportunity as well as the ability to highlight and educate our community on this unique and important environment."
The initial design and engineering funding were provided through a grant from DNREC's Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program, with additional funding from DNREC's Delaware Bayshore Initiative.
"With this new boardwalk in place, visitors will be able to experience the saltmarsh surrounding Slaughter Beach from a vantage point never before offered at the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve," said DNREC's Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. "Students visiting this unique outdoor classroom will have the opportunity for hands-on learning about our dynamic coastal marsh systems, the plants and animals they support, and the coastal Bayshore communities like this one that depend on them."
Funding for the project construction was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration via DelDOT's Transportation Alternatives Program which requires matching funds from a sponsor. With a long-term land lease between the Delaware Nature Society and the town in place, Slaughter Beach is serving as the match sponsor, with a second grant from DNREC's Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program.
"DelDOT is pleased to play a role in the creation of this beautiful overlook. It will encourage even more people to take advantage of the Delaware Bayshore Byway," said DelDOT's Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski. "The six byways that DelDOT administers throughout Delaware attract visitors from throughout the region and enable our fellow Delawareans to explore and enjoy the history and landscapes all around us."
Former State Senator Gary Simpson and former State Representative Harvey Kenton provided additional state funds from the Community Transportation Fund Program.
"I am so proud and excited that I was able to play a part in the Slaughter Beach Scenic Overlook project," said Former State Representative Harvey Kenton. "Having been a very close friend of the Marvel family makes this even more special for me. My family and I look forward to visiting the scenic overlook site often."
"This project shows that good things happen when people work together to bring a dream to reality. I am happy to have played a small part in that process, knowing that it will provide a real life educational adventure to thousands of school children throughout the state and region," said Former State Senator Gary Simpson.
The Delaware Nature Society also assisted and supported Slaughter Beach's fundraising efforts by procuring additional funds from the Delaware Ornithological Society, Milford Lions Club, and the Dogfish Head Brewery.