Laws & Policies

Superintendent's Compendium

The Superintendent's Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under Title 36 CFR. It serves as a public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park's Brandywine Valley Unit and the New Castle Sheriff's House locations.

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its programs and activities at any time. Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to the park through the mail.

The Compendium is in effect as of December 12, 2016 and will remain effective until revised by the superintendent.
2020 Superintendent's Compendium


Aircraft & Drones

Operating or using aircrafts on any land or water within the boundary of the park is prohibited.

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Alcohol Use/Possessions

The consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or the possession of a bottle, can, or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, has been opened, whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed is strictly prohibited with in the boundaries of the park.

It is illegal to be in the park when under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. The possession of alcoholic beverages by a minor (less than 21 years old) is prohibited.

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The use of any off-highway vehicle (OHV), all-terrain vehicles (ATV), utility vehicles, or other motorized conveyance manufactures for recreational non-highway, off-road, or all-terrain travel regardless of registration status is prohibited off-road within the park boundaries.
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Bicycles & e-Bikes

Park roads. The use of a bicycle (non-motorized and e-bikes) is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public.

E-bikes. The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.).

All bicycle and e-bike rider on any park road, parking area, administrative road, trail, or portion thereof must:

  • Leave no trace - pack it in, pack it out.

  • Control your bicycle!

  • Do not disturb or scare birds or animals.

  • Be considerate of other trail users. All bicyclists and e-bike rider must yield to other trail users in the following manner:

    • A bicyclist and e-bike rider must yield to an equestrian

    • A bicyclist and e-bike rider must yield to a pedestrian; and

    • A bicyclist and e-bike rider traveling downhill must yield to a bicyclist or e-bike rider traveling uphill.

  • Yielding the right of way requires slowing down to a safe speed, being prepared to stop, establishing communication and passing safely. Failure to yield is prohibited.

Riding a bicycle and/or e-bike abreast of another rider is allowed on the following routes:

  • Brandywine Creek Trail

  • Any gravel or dirt roads

As a former or current motor vehicle routes, these trails are the only trails within the park that are wide enough to safely ride abreast.
(h)(5) Delaware and Pennsylvania State helmet laws apply to all bicyclists within the park on trails within those respective states.


Carry In, Carry Out

There are no trash cans located within the boundaries of the park. We follow a "carry in, carry out" policy. This means that you are responsible to take any trash/litter you bring in, or create while in the park with you when you leave. Failing to take your trash with you is prohibited and may result in a fine.
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The lighting or maintaining of fires is prohibited within the park boundaries, except in contained grills, portable stoves, and portable barbecues at the Smith Bridge Picnic Area.
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Fishing is permitted in accordance with Delaware State Law. Fishing is prohibited in the park within 100ft of any swimmer.
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Hiking and Pedestrian Use

Hiking and pedestrian use is restricted to the trails and walkways designated and identified on the Beaver Valley Trail Map. Leaving the trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway is prohibited. Public use or entry into any enclosed horse pasture, or crossing agricultural fields is prohibited.
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Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on the designated trails and grass strips along the side of the road frontage throughout the boundaries of the park. However, there is no parking available for horse trailers within the park.


Hunting and trapping is prohibited within park boundaries.
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Parking is only available at a first come, first serve basis in the designated lots. Parking anywhere outside of the designated lots, or designated parking spaces is prohibited.

The northern end of Smith Bridge Parking lot is designated for unloading and loading watercrafts. Parking in this designated area longer then 15 minuets is prohibited, and may result being towed at the owners expense or fined.
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Pets must be leashed (six feet or less) or otherwise physically restrained at all times. Leaving your pet unattended or tied to an object is prohibited. You are responsible to pick up after your pet, failing to do so is prohibited and may result in a fine.
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Picnicking is permitted at the Smith Bridge Picnic Area and available on a first come, first served basis. Picnicking is prohibited on any land leased to a 3rd party, unless expressively identified as a picnic area. Gas generators are prohibited within park boundaries. There are no trash cans available at the picnic area or anywhere else within park boundaries. Visitors are required to follow a carry in, carry out policy meaning you are responsible to take any litter or trash with you when you leave, failure to do so is prohibited and may result in a fine.
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Resource Protection

Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing an archeological, cultural resource, monument, or statue is prohibited. All trail users are prohibited from going off the designated trial path.

The collecting of natural materials such as, edible species of fruits, nuts, mushrooms and berries by hand for daily consumption which does not exceed one pint, per person, per day is permitted. The collection of all other natural materials including but not limited to: fire wood, mica, and other minerals is strictly prohibited within the park boundaries.
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Things That Require a Permit

Permits are required for activities such as scientific research and collecting, commercial photography/filming, commercial tours and activities, etc. Please see the Superintendent's Compendium for a complete list of activities and events that require a permit.

Last updated: April 6, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

New Castle Court House Museum
Attn: First State NHP
211 Delaware Street

New Castle, DE 19720


(302) 544-6363
This phone number is not staffed. You can leave a message on the park's main phone number (302-544-6363) and we will return your call as soon as possible. If you are visiting one of the seven sites, and need specific information, please refer to the "Places to Go" page for phone numbers and addresses of each site.

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