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Three County Parks? Definitely, Each Has Distinct Attractions 5.31.2006

By Nick Colin

COURT HOUSE – “You’re talking about ‘the park,’ right?” asked Christina Davidson, 23, of Stone Harbor.
Ask a county resident to meet you at “the park” and they will most likely show up at the one with the zoo, in Court House on Route 9.
The 200-acre county park central gets all the recognition, but there are two other county operated parks, each with something a little different to offer.
The north end of the county has the Richard Cameron Wildlife Sanctuary and park in Palermo.
“It’s more for passive recreation, like taking in the environment and relaxing,” explained county Park Director Dominic Rosselli.
The 40 to 50-acre park, originally donated to the county by the Cameron family to use as a public park in 1991, is sandwiched in between residential homes.
It primarily consists of ponds, a small animal display, and trails that can lead to hidden treasure.
According to the Web site, treasure can be found using a Global Positioning System and the rules state that one can take some treasure if they leave some behind.
County park south, located in Del Haven, stretches over 1,000 acres with most of the space consisting of undeveloped woods and marshes.
Originally a tidal marsh ecosystem, that “provided a habitat for diverse plants and animal life,” the marsh changed to a fresh water system after the Delaware Bay connection was closed in the 1920s for mosquito control.
Human impact has reduced the health of the ecosystem in the park, according to the site, which is home to many endangered or threatened species and plant life.
Wandering around the park, one might come across a barred owl, red-shouldered hawk, peregrine falcon, or a bald eagle, among others.
“It’s more of a community park these days,” explained Rosselli.
The park also has the Apatukwe nature trail, developed by a local Eagle Scout.
Then there is County Park central, stretching about 180 acres, which is the park most locals and vacationers are aware of and the one most use.
According to Rosselli, about a half a million people visit the central park every year.
“I’d say the reason that the park in Court House is the most popular is because of the zoo,” he said.
Park central includes a zoo, complete with a reptile museum and various animals, such as monkeys, birds, alligators, camels, and much more.
The central park also has a gazebo, available for weddings, various nature trails, a playground, and picnic area.
Some locals are aware of the other parks, but seldom attend them.
“I go to the park (central) with my sister usually, but I’ve never been to the one in Palermo before,” said Elaina Davidson, 15, of Stone Harbor.
Rosselli, of Villas, has run of the county’s parks since 2003 and worked in the system since 1977.
He began working at the central park as a laborer.
Contact Colin at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 35 or ncolin@cmcherald.com

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