Millions of visitors frequent Delaware state parks in Southeastern Sussex every summer, but visitors primarily flock to the Delaware Seashore State Park satellites along the coast (Fenwick Island, Indian River Inlet).
However, there’s another nearby Delaware Seashore facility that receives considerably less attention — the Holt’s Landing State Park, north of Millville.
Holt’s Landing sits on more than 200 acres of land, approximately four miles west of the Indian River Inlet (on the Indian River Bay). Delaware opened a fishing pier there a few years ago (2001), open from 8 a.m. until sunset, but state Rep. Gerald Hocker (38th District) is working toward some additional improvements at that location.
He met at Holt’s Landing with Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary John Hughes on April 14.
“We’re hoping we can offer a revised boat ramp,” Hocker said. “We have a boat ramp now, but it needs a lot of work.”
Dredging would help, he said, as it’s difficult to launch from Holt’s Landing at low tide.
According to Hocker, the bottom is sandy, and the dredge spoils could be used to pump up the beach area that once existed near the pier.
Holt’s Landing isn’t a swimmers’ beach — there’s a picnic pavilion and a hiking trail, but the main draw if for boating, crabbing, clamming and fishing.
The state doesn’t charge for the use of the boat ramp (other than requiring the usual park pass for admittance), and that’s unusual — especially for out-of-towners.
At most other parks (Assawoman Recreation Area, Massey’s Landing), out-of-state boat trailers need to have a ramp certificate as well.
Hocker said they were getting some costs together for a possible side-by-side ramp (dock down the middle). “Secretary Hughes thinks it’s doable, and that’s what we’ve been talking about,” he said. “He wants to see it.”
According to Hocker, DNREC had been looking for a suitable location for another ramp up and down the Indian River Bay for many years now, but hadn’t found a better spot.
“There are a few places on the other side of the river, but nothing on this side, other than right here,” he said. “As it turned out, we all decided this would be the most economical place to do it.”
He is also pushing for expanded hours at Holt’s Landing. As Hocker pointed out, many anglers and duck hunters like to get out on the water before dawn. If the state is willing, he said he’d like to keep the boat ramps open 24 hours a day.