March 26, 2021
Since 1951, Delaware State Parks have grown to include seventeen parks, five campgrounds, 150+ miles of trails, historic sites, a zoo, and much more. To celebrate our 70th anniversary, we want to hear your stories of the meaningful experiences you have had in Delaware State Parks. Enjoy this story from Nick Morris who shares his summer surfing experiences and time working with Delaware State Parks!
“In the summer of 1964, I started surfing on the North Side of Indian River Inlet. At that time we had to park in the grassy medium between the highways and walk across and down the embankment to get to the beach. This was a real nightmare on weekends and holidays because of all the cars and especially since we were carrying a 10-foot surfboard that weighed 25 lbs and you are only 5 ft 5 inches.
Then time marched on and a parking lot was developed (gravel) and we pulled in to surf in the summer of ’65 and were greeted by a person who wanted a $3.00 entry fee. Well, teenagers carry a wallet rarely have money since mom and dad provided so I did not have $3.00 to enter. The surf was good so I begged and pleaded with the fee attendant and the nice lady there must have had kids of her own and understood and paid my fee for me and I surfed that day. Little did I know that I had dropped my wallet outside of the trailer where we paid the fee.
I left that day and did not realize it till I returned home in Harrington Delaware to place the money that mom gave me to go back and pay the nice lady that my wallet was missing. I called the park office to see if the wallet had been found and was told it had and all I had to do was come back, describe the contents, and could receive my wallet back.
The next day I returned to Indian River and went to the trailer and the same lady was working and I was able to retrieve my wallet. I gave her back the $3.00 and while she said it wasn’t necessary, I insisted and she took it. You can rest assured that the act of kindness she showed made a memory that lasted a lifetime. Now at 70 years of age and still surfing the North Side of Indian River Inlet, every time I pass the fee booth I think of that day.
As a note from that day, when they started issuing passes I have had a park sticker every year and just recently got my 2021 pass. I have seen the old coast guard tower dismantled, walked on the gravel lot, seen the old bridge demolished, the new one erected, the new parking lot, the new northside campground (which use to be the overflow from the south campground), and of course the new fee booths, but one thing has not changed and that is the friendliness of the people who work in the parks. Yes, things have changed since 1965, but the same acts of kindness, courtesy, and friendliness still exist today as they did then maybe even at a higher level.
I grew up wanting someday to be a part of this organization in any capacity that I could get as a seasonal employee. My dreams came true in the 1980s and I became a Seasonal Park Ranger at Holts Landing State Park and Fenwick Island State Park. In this job, I met the public, informed them about the parks, and welcomed them into the park family. I received a letter of recognition from the Late Bob Jones who was head of parks during those years for outstanding performance in aiding a swimmer who had suffered a neck injury in an unguarded area on the drive-on-beach that I happen to be patrolling at that time in Fenwick Island. Yes, the parks have given me much, and have introduced me to people that have made many influences in my life, from the Administrative levels in Dover, through the staffs of the different parks in lower Delaware. Thanks for giving me the chance to be part of the great family from those who have come and gone to those present today in the Delaware State Park system.”
Thank you Nick for your story!
To celebrate our 70th anniversary, we want to hear your stories of the meaningful experiences you have had in Delaware State Parks. To learn more and to submit your story, click here.