Delaware campground gets long-overdue upgrades

    Elected leaders & key stakeholders celebrate the official reopening of Lums Pond State Park campground (DNREC photo)

    Elected leaders & key stakeholders celebrate the official reopening of Lums Pond State Park campground (DNREC photo)

    The renovations and new amenities at Lums Pond State Park campground are expected to attract new campers and generate more money for the state.

    “We had to get creative to make this project happen, to find a funding source that hadn’t been used for this purpose before. Some of the improvements we see today were identified as far back as the 1970s, but were never funded until now,” said Ray Bivens, director of Delaware State Parks, during Thursday’s official reopening ceremony in Bear.

    The $5.6 million renovation closed the campground all winter, paid for with both federal and matching state funds. 

    Major improvements to the expanded, 70-site RV campgrounds include three-point hookups that provide water, sewer and 50-amp electrical service to the campsites and paving of all of the sites. Other improvements include a brand new, heated bathhouse and five new walk-in tent sites.

    “There is already a tremendous amount of excitement about the improvements from the camping community. We know that adding utilities and other amenities could draw thousands of new visitors to the park. In fact, the campground is completely booked for the upcoming weekend,” Bivens added. 

    Delaware State Parks served a record number of campers and cabin guests in 2015, with a 19 percent increase over 2014. Parks officials expect the improvements at Lums Pond State Park will help boost those numbers even higher in 2016.

    “This is great news for campers and the strategic location, close to I-95 and Route 40, makes it a great stop for travelers headed to the beaches and other vacation destinations,” said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del. “The success of this campground is good for tourism, for our economy and for the enjoyment of the people of this state. This project is an investment that will bring more visitors to the state and support the many jobs and businesses in the area.”

    The campground improvements are projected to generate more than $300,000 for state parks in 2017. That’s more than double the current revenue, all of which helps support state parks’ 65-percent self-funded business model and enables the division to pay off its loan.

    As the only state park campground in New Castle County, it is expected to become a major attraction with amenities that include an extensive trail system and the Go Ape high adventure zipline course. 

    “Lums Pond State Park is a must-see for visitors in and outside of Delaware,” said DNREC Deputy Secretary Kara Coats. “The improvements to the campground showcase the park as a major Delaware camping destination. The investment made by federal, state and local partnerships will enable hundreds of additional families to enjoy the camping options that this marvelous park offers.”

    “By utilizing a federal assistance program like this one, the state has improved one of its most popular recreational attractions that will prove to be not only a wonderful upgrade for those who visit, but an economic driver for the state as well,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. 

    “Our family loves Delaware’s great state parks, and we’re lucky to have such a great park system in the First State,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Del. “When asked about the quality of life where they live, people invariably mention the quality and character of parks, and this investment into Lums Pond State Park’s new amenities will draw campers and outdoor enthusiasts to this location and will entice past campers to return.”

    “Summer’s in full swing,” said Congressman John Carney, D-Del. “We’re expecting a record number of campers visiting Delaware State Parks this year, including at the newly renovated campground at Lums Pond. We have some of the most beautiful and fun campgrounds in the area, and I’m glad Delawareans will get to enjoy camping at Lums Pond once again. Our parks are an important part of the state’s tourism economy, and great places for Delawareans and visitors to enjoy.”

    “Tourism is a major economic driver for our state, and knowing that camping numbers are at record highs means that this is a smart investment for our state,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, whose district borders the park. “By making these upgrades, we are making Lums Pond more inviting and more attractive for new visitors and encouraging new campers to stay here.”

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