Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin was joined May 17 by state Sen. Bryan Richardson, Reps. Daniel Short and Timothy Dukes and DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife staff to celebrate the completion of the newly-reconstructed Phillips Landing Boating and Fishing Access Area and the Woodland Wharf Boat Dock and Kayak Launch near Laurel.

“These projects at Phillips Landing and Woodland Wharf provide new and enhanced access to the Nanticoke River and its tributaries for experiencing the recreational spectrum of boating, fishing, bird and wildlife-watching, canoeing, and kayaking along this beautiful National Historic Water Trail,” said Garvin. “We are proud to highlight these new amenities today and look forward to seeing them used and enjoyed for many years to come.”

At Phillips Landing, the old two-lane boat ramp has been replaced with a new three-lane ramp, with two floating docks and wing walls to allow safer and easier launching of boats, plus a new canoe/kayak launch. A repaved parking area, stone path for shoreline fishing, portable toilet enclosure, and solar lighting complete the project. The $1.09 million project was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration program, partnered with matching state funds from fishing license sales.

The new Woodland Wharf facility, located near the historic Woodland Ferry on the Nanticoke River on property purchased by the state in 2012, features a boat dock with a canoe/kayak launch, plus new steel bulkheads. A new six-space parking area and shoreline fishing access with a bench and bike rake complete the project. The $349,439 project was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant Program and state Bond Bill funds. The Woodland Wharf property was purchased with funds from the state Open Space Program and the National Parks Service; a combination of funds from the National Parks Service, Chesapeake Conservancy and Delaware funded planning for the site.

"Public access and land conservation are two major goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Projects like Woodland Wharf and Phillips Landing fuel outdoor recreation, sustainable economic development and public support for environmental conservation," said Joel Dunn, president and chief executive officer of Chesapeake Conservancy. "We were pleased to contribute private funding from the Welfare Foundation to the Woodland Wharf project supporting the important work on the Nanticoke River, a major tributary to the Chesapeake."

New boating and fishing access areas are managed by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Also at the event, Garvin read Gov. John Carney’s proclamation designating May 18-24 as National Safe Boating Week in Delaware, and DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police promoted safe boating practices including wearing life jackets. Local members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary were recognized for their volunteer work teaching Delaware boating safety classes.

Garvin and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Chief Drew Aydelotte also honored David Ritter, of Millsboro, with a Life Saving Award for his actions April 5 when he rescued two anglers from the water after their fishing boat capsized in Indian River.

For more on the Phillips Landing Boating and Fishing Access Area, the Woodland Wharf Boat Dock and Kayak Launch or other boating and fishing access areas, call 739-9914.