Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier Re-Opens in Lewes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier Re-Opens in Lewes

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The re-opening was announced at a press conference Wednesday morning (Source: WBOC) The re-opening was announced at a press conference Wednesday morning (Source: WBOC)
Students from the Millsboro Middle School were among the first to fish off of the pier (Source: WBOC) Students from the Millsboro Middle School were among the first to fish off of the pier (Source: WBOC)

LEWES, Del. - The well-known Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier opened back up on Wednesday morning after being closed for multiple years, due to needed repairs. The re-opening, which was announced by lawmakers at the state park, was well-received by anglers, who have been awaiting this day for close to two years. 

The pier, which is 1,300-feet-long, was initially created in the 1940s as a mining wharf. The 149 pilings that support the pier have now been repaired or replaced, and there has also been extensive decking repairs. 

The project was partially paid for through a federal grant of $350,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funding was also contributed from Community Transportation Funds of Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Rep. Timothy Dukes, Rep. Steve Smyk, and Sen. Ernie Lopez.

To celebrate the opening, students from the Millsboro Middle School were invited to be the first to fish.

"It's a great experience," said 14-year-old Will Kenney. "To see that our state is working to get better things for our parks and our local lands. So that... the local people that really enjoy fishing can help to enjoy our state as a whole." 

The opening comes just days before Memorial Day Weekend, when hundreds are expected to flock to the pier. Rich King from Delaware State Fishing said that this is a prime site for anglers. 

"You can catch stripe bass," he said. "Blue fish, croaker, kingfish, spot, puffers, skates, dog fish, weak fish when they're around. That's like a unicorn these days. Just everything. You can catch just about every type of fish that comes through Delaware off of this pier."

The pier's return has an economic angle as well, according to Gov. Jack Markell. He said the pier is expected to bring in approximately $700,000 per year in revenue. 

"There's a real return on tourism investment," he said. "If you think about all the people. People have choices about where they go. And this Atlantic Coast is amazing. You can go everywhere from Florida up to Maine. So we want to get more than our fair share in Delaware. We do. But we have to keep investing in the tourist economy." 

In addition to the pier, park officials also unveiled six new camping cabins on Wednesday. Last year, those cabins brought in about 1,500 people to the park. This year, the state is expecting that to increase to approximately 2,000 people.

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