New Delaware beach boardwalk is a platform for eco-tourists

Some young kids take a turn on the mounted binoculars near an osprey nest along the new Slaughter Beach boardwalk. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Some young kids take a turn on the mounted binoculars near an osprey nest along the new Slaughter Beach boardwalk. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

There are no amusement rides or Grotto’s Pizza on this Delaware boardwalk. And, unlike the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk about 20 miles to the south, a big fight for a parking space is unlikely at the new Slaughter Beach boardwalk.

This Y-shaped boardwalk stretching out for about 350 feet will help visitors including school groups learn more about the importance of the marsh that sits on the backside of Slaughter Beach on the Delaware Bay.

This sleepy town with the creepy-sounding name sits along the state’s Bayside Byway, a 100-mile stretch of land that few visitors to Delaware ever see. It’s a quiet, but scenic location that Gov. John Carney said more people should experience.

Gov. John Carney walks with DelDOT deputy secretary Nicole Majeski along the new boardwalk in Slaughter Beach, Delaware. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

“We’re opening up that byway for our visitors to see and experience Delaware in a way they haven’t seen before,” Carney said at Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “What a cool thing to do when you’re coming to Delaware … to go out on this boardwalk to get the educational experience, and the environmental and ecosystem experience that you will. It’s going to be a cool thing.”

Secretary Shawn Garvin of the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said the boardwalk will offer visitors a close look at wildlife.

“Get out and see the fiddler crabs and the blue crabs and the grass shrimp and the egrets, and the incredible osprey nest that we have out here,” Garvin said. “The more we can get people in touch with nature, the more that they can see it first hand, the better off we are as a community.”

Some school children try to catch small fish with a dip net along the new Slaughter Beach boardwalk. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

The byway program launched in 2015 as part of then-Gov. Jack Markell’s broader Bayshore Initiative. The initiative’s dual mission is to conserve the state’s land along the Delaware Bay while encouraging low-impact recreation and tourism activities.

The byway is entirely within the Atlantic Flyway, a thoroughfare for hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds that stop to feed on their journey north in the spring, and for the return trip south in the winter.

The Delaware Nature Society will make use of the boardwalk to help children learn more about the marshland and the wildlife that inhabits it.

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