The new boardwalk and observation deck at the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve on the Delaware Bayshore Byway near Slaughter Beach has been opened. Governor John Carney, along with state and local officials held a ribbon cutting Friday afternoon. The new facility will give visitors a chance to experience the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve like never before – and it offers a unique outdoor classroom for hands-on learning about the dynamic coastal marsh systems, the plants and animals they support and the communities – like Slaughter Beach – that depend on them.
The accessible Boardwalk and Observation Deck provides access to the Marvel Saltwater Preserve. This project was made possible by a partnership between DelDOT, DNREC, Delaware Nature Society, and Town of Slaughter Beach with funding for design, engineering, and construction from multiple sources.
The initial design and engineering funding were provided through a grant from DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program with additional funding from DNREC’s Delaware Bayshore Initiative.
Funding for the project construction was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration via DelDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) which requires matching funds from a sponsor. With a long-term land lease between the Delaware Nature Society and the town in place, Slaughter Beach is serving as the match sponsor with a second grant from DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program.
Former State Senator Gary Simpson and former State Representative Harvey Kenton provided additional state funds from the Community Transportation Fund Program.
The Delaware Nature Society also assisted and supported Slaughter Beach’s fundraising efforts by procuring additional funds from the Delaware Ornithological Society, Milford Lions Club, and the Dogfish Head Brewery.
In 1988, the Marvel family of Milford donated the 109-acre Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve to the Delaware Nature Society. The preserve is home to several wildlife species. The Boardwalk and Observation deck will enhance the environmental education programs hosted by the Delaware Nature Society.