On Monday, July 30 Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper and Senator Chris Coons joined Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Secretary Collin O’Mara and Slaughter Beach Mayor Amy J. Reed Parker for the official ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Lacy E. Nichols Jr. Cedar Creek Boating Access Area in Slaughter Beach east of Milford.
The new facility is a key project in the recently announced Delaware Bayshore Initiative, which promotes conservation and restoration of natural resources, enhances recreational opportunities and encourages low-impact ecotourism to support the local economy along Delaware’s coastline.
The new $3.2 million facility, which offers boaters access to Cedar Creek, Mispillion Harbor and the Delaware Bay, includes eight 16-foot wide concrete launch lanes, five full-floatation boarding docks and one full-floatation courtesy dock connected to a 30-foot timber walkway.
Funding to replace the old facility consisted of 75 percent Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Funds allocated to DNREC by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 25 percent State of Delaware matching funds from recreational fishing license fees. The Federal Aid funds come from excise taxes on fishing equipment and a portion of the federal motor fuels tax.
“This project put Delawareans to work, building a new facility that now provides anglers and boaters with improved access to the Delaware Bay,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Because of people working together on this project, so many more people will enjoy the waterways of the Delaware Bayshore.”
The new boat ramp is named for Lacy E. “Nick” Nichols of Dover, who worked for the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife for 23 years. As the Division’s construction manager, Nichols oversaw many key maintenance and construction projects at Division properties throughout the state, including popular fishing piers at Woodland Beach and Cape Henlopen. Nichols has also helped facilitate many facility upgrades such as the DuPont Nature Center at Slaughter Beach. Overseeing the replacement of the Cedar Creek boat ramp was Nichols’ most recent project, and one of the largest, prior to his retirement this past April.
“It is humbling to be recognized in this way by my peers and people that have I have worked with,” commented Nichols when asked about the dedication of the new boat ramp. “The ramp will enhance recreational opportunities for not just fishing but also waterfowling. This will create a boom to the entire area.”
The old Cedar Creek ramp facility was outdated, with the 6-lane portion built in the early 1970s and the original 2-lane launch area even older. The facility also was too small to handle the amount of use it received as one of the busiest boat launch locations in the state. Construction on the new facility began in late November of 2011.
“This new access area will enable the local residents to have a convenient place to access all of our resources,” stated Amy Reed Parker, Mayor of Slaughter Beach. “This will also become very important for our commercial fisherman as it allows them easier access to our waterways. It is a plus for the entire region.”