Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Breaks Ground on James Farm Preserve Improvements

Ocean View, DE
 — On November 16, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays broke ground to implement the James Farm Ecological Preserve Master Plan, a community-developed initiative designed to protect the Preserve’s diverse collection of ecosystems, while safely accommodating and educating a growing number of visitors. 
“In 1992, the Preserve was donated to Sussex County by the late Mary Lighthipe, (a descendant of the James family) in memory of her son, Harold,” explains Bob Collins, the Center’s Program Manager. “She specified that the property be kept natural and used for educational purposes. This Master Plan will ensure her vision remains a reality for generations to come.”

In 2014, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, which manages the Preserve for Sussex County, created a Master Plan that accommodates the growing needs of the Preserve, while protecting its natural resources and enhancing the educational opportunities that are offered there. Overall upgrades to the site will include restrooms and parking, a safe entry and exit area to Cedar Neck road, storage facilities for equipment and educational programs, trail improvements, interpretive signage, and provisions for special events.

November’s groundbreaking marks the very beginning of the plan’s implementation. These Phase One improvements include a new parking area that can hold 27 cars and safely accommodate the buses that bring local students for the Center’s environmental educational programs each fall and spring.  A new event lawn completes Phase One: an improvement that will allow for the Center to hold community-friendly events like concerts and the annual native plant sale.

View of the entrance area to be improved. Photo provided by Vickie York Realty.

The James Farm Master Plan covers the next 20 years of management to preserve its special natural lands and lights the way for future generations to safely enjoy this ecological treasure. The Center is now working to raise funds for the second phase of the Plan that includes repair and realignment of the trail system, construction new educational facilities, and improvements to storage areas for the Center’s projects to restore the Inland Bays.  For information about the James Farm Master Plan and how you can get involved, visit
Phase One of the Master Plan is being generously funded by Outdoor, Recreation, Parks and Trails (ORPT) Program Grants from the Land & Water Conservation Trust Fund, the Sussex County Council, Community Transportation Funds of Senator Gerald Hocker and Representative Ron Gray, a Sussex County Councilmatic Grant from Councilperson George Cole, State of Delaware Grant in Aid, Bunting and Murray Construction Corporation, and by numerous private donations from the Center’s many supporters. The Center would like to extend a huge “thank you” to these financial supporters, Sussex County Council, and to those community members who visit and support the Center and the James Farm Ecological Preserve.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays–the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them. 


The James Farm Master Plan includes site planning concepts to accommodate increased visitation while protecting natural resources and enhancing the educational opportunities at the Preserve.
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