1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described
The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as 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. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.
B. CONSISTENCY OF THIS COMPENDIUM WITH APPLICABLE FEDERAL LAW AND REQUIREMENTS
The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
C. DEVELOPMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT’S COMPENDIUM
As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:
D. APPLICABILITY OF THE COMPENDIUM
The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.
E. ENFORCEMENT OF COMPENDIUM REQUIREMENTS
NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.
F. PENALTIES FOR NOT ADHERING TO THE COMPENDIUM REQUIREMENTS
A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.
G. COMMENTS ON THE COMPENDIUM
The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.
1. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT’S COMPENDIUM
The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document and remains in effect until revised.
2. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.
Copies of the Compendium are available at Park Headquarters located at 211 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720 and online at: www.nps.gov/frst/learn/management/superintendent-s-compendium.htm
H. SUPERINTENDENT’S COMPENDIUM
In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of First State National Historical Park. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1,Parts 1-7.
36 CFR §1.5 – VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS, CLOSURES, AND AREA DESIGNATIONS FOR SPECIFIC USES OR ACTIVITIES
(a)(1) The following visiting hours, public use limits, and closures are established:
Open sunrise to sunset.
Justification: The park is considered a Day Use Area. With the exception of Brandywine Valley residents, guests of those residents, and traffic on through roads, the park will be closed before sunrise and after sunset.
Closed to public access.
Justification: The building is under construction for rehabilitation and is considered unsafe.
Unscheduled closures which do not appear in the annual Superintendent’s Compendium, are enacted under the authority of the Superintendent or their designee. Public notice of such closures will be through the use of signage at area access points, press releases, and information posted on the park website or social media pages.
Justification: The park may at times need to enact unscheduled closures of the park, or restrict access to areas of the park, for public safety and the protection of park resources.
All rivers, creeks, and streams within First State National Historical Park are closed to the use of any type of vessel, except that non-motorized vessels may use the following waterways under the conditions noted below:
All sections of the Brandywine Creek within park boundaries.The following conditions must be met:
Possession of a glass container within 50 feet of any riverbank, on the water, in a vessel, or at Smith Bridge Picnic Area and parking lot is prohibited.
Justification: This restriction is necessary for the protection of visitors who frequent these areas with bare feet.
Fishing is prohibited within 100 feet of any swimmer.
Justification: To reduce the hazard to swimmers by sharp hooks and lures cast by people fishing.
The Brandywine Creek and its tributaries are designated as Swimming and Wading Areas. All other bodies of water within the park, including ponds, are closed to swimming and wading.
Justification: The Brandywine Creek and its tributaries are considered appropriate for swimming and wading, where possible. Other bodies of water, which include ponds on leased property, are closed to swimming and wading as they are located within areas with agricultural and residential leases and may conflict with those designated uses.
Access points to the Brandywine Creek and trails proximate to the Brandywine Creek are closed to all public use when the creek reaches 8 feet or higher as measured at Chadd's Ford, PA/ NWS USGS. 8 feet is the Action Stage; the stage which, when reached by a rising stream, represents the level where the NPS and partners needs to take mitigating actions.
When the Brandywine Creek reaches a height of 8 feet or above, shoreline vegetation becomes submerged or partially submerged creating hazards that can catch people entrapping them. Currents increase and become unpredictable and turbidity due to run off reduces visibility in the creek to zero. Debris is swept into the creek from adjacent lands as they become flooded creating hazards to people and increases in the hydrograph and other potential hazards to public health from agricultural and other surface runoff. Swift water rescue operations in these conditions become extremely dangerous for emergency responders. Trail surfaces become unstable leading to potential slips, trips, or falls and also degrade the integrity of trail resources.
Justification: The Superintendent has determined that these closures are necessary for public health and safety.
All areas of the park are closed to Unmanned Aircraft.
Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and water administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of First State National Historical Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the Superintendent. The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
Justification: This public use limit is necessary to maintain public health and safety at First State National Historical Park and to protect park resources and values until the NPS can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the NPS are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.When proposed park uses and the protection of park resources and values come into conflict, the protection of resources and values must be predominant.
The public use of ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes is prohibited.
All roads, lands, and waters within the park are closed to the operation of all-terrain 3- and 4- wheel cycles, off-road utility vehicles (UTV), and similar vehicles as defined by Delaware State Code Title 21 regardless of registration status.
Under NPS management policies, (188.8.131.52), on-duty NPS employees or partners may use OHVs or UTVs on a case by case basis as part of their official work duties when the use of a UTV with specific advantages is essential to promoting efficiency for a project, promoting employee safety, and supporting parkwide sustainability goals. Under this allowance, staff will predominately use administrative roads within First State National Historical Park that are closed to the public and avoid public roads within First State National Historical Park whenever possible. Lessees with approval as part of their lease agreement may also use ATVs and UTVs.
Justification: The recreational and general use of off-highway vehicles such as OHVs, ATVs UTVs, and other motorized conveyances manufactured for recreational non-highway, off-road, or all-terrain travel poses a significant risk to park resources and conflicts with other park visitors and wildlife. These risks and conflicts cannot be appropriately mitigated or be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts. The use of such vehicles is, therefore, not consistent with the protection of the park. Use by on-duty First State National Historical Park employees will be limited to instances when other alternatives to an OHV/UTV are not available and the use of the OHV/UTV is essential to the project’s efficiency or employee safety such as hauling large amounts of heavy materials over rough terrain.
Parking is limited to NPS designated parking lots.
Justification: These closures are in effect to protect the cultural and natural resources of the park and to provide for public safety along the narrow roads throughout the park.
a)(2) The following areas are designated for a specific use or activity and/or the following conditions or restrictions are imposed on a specific use or activity:
Picnicking is not permitted on land leased to third parties.
Justification: Several leases exist within the park that allow for residential and agricultural use, these areas are maintained as part of the cultural landscape of the park; however, picnicking on these sites may result in violations of resident privacy or inhibit agricultural operations.
Horseback riding may only be done on the designated trails and grassy strips along the road frontage in the Brandywine Valley. See the Brandywine Valley on Appendix A. The Superintendent may require a special use permit for trail activities involving multiple horses on the same trail.
Justification: Restricting horseback riding to designated trails ensures visitor safety and protects the natural resources of the park.
Any parking space designated as a Loading/Unloading space is limited to 15-minute parking.
Justification: Smith Bridge Parking Lot is frequently over capacity during summer weekends. In the past, visitors would often drop-off in an unsafe manner on the side of the road, which resulted in traffic jams and pedestrians in active roadways. In order to ensure that visitors have safe access to Smith Bridge Picnic area, Loading/Unloading only spaces will be designated by park staff during traditionally busy times.The time limit will ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to safely load and unload at Smith Bridge Parking Lot.
Engines must be shut down when not underway.
Justification: The idling of bus engines adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air and diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the peace and tranquility of the park. Due to the nature of the service provided by shuttle busses, they are excluded from this requirement.
When the COVID-19 Community Level is LOW or MEDIUM in the county or all the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are not required to wear masks.
When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in the county or all the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.
When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in one or more, but not all, of the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, the superintendent will determine whether individuals are required to wear masks. The requirement, if any, will apply to all facilities within the park.
Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.
Regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals may wear masks if they choose to do so. Where a state, local, tribal, or territorial government where the park is located imposes more protective mask-wearing requirements than those indicated by the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals must follow those more protective requirements within the park. More protective state, local, tribal, or territorial mask-wearing requirements are hereby adopted as federal requirements in all units of the National Park System located within that state, locality, area subject to a federally recognized Indian tribe’s regulatory jurisdiction, or territory, regardless of a particular park’s jurisdictional status.
Additionally, all individuals must wear masks in or on public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs/facilities, to the extent required by current orders or directives issued by the CDC, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or other federal agencies with jurisdiction over those conveyances or areas. As of March 4, 2022, CDC and TSA orders or directives require all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor areas of all forms of public transportation conveyances, including busses, trains, and boats/ferries, and in the indoor premises of transportation hubs/facilities. Individuals are not required to wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs/facilities.
36 CFR §1.6 – ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE A PERMIT
(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required:
36 CFR §2.1 – PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or possession and consumption restrictions:
Edible species of fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and berries may be gathered by hand for daily personal consumption in amounts not to exceed one pint, per person, per day. Collection for commercial purposes is prohibited.
36 CFR §2.2 – WILDLIFE PROTECTION
(d) The following conditions and procedures for transporting lawfully taken wildlife through the park area are in place:
Transporting or tracking wildlife through First State National Historical Park is limited to:
Justification: Public hunting is prohibited under §2.2(a)(1). To ensure no confusion between wildlife illegally hunted within the park and wildlife legally hunted elsewhere, the transport of wildlife thorough the park is limited to vehicles not stopped within park boundaries, but instead strictly passing through the park.
(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:
All areas within the park are closed to viewing wildlife with any type of artificial light.
36 CFR §2.11 – PICNICKING
Conditions for Picnicking:
Justification: Soapy runoff, human waste, and gray water disposal directly on the ground is inconsistent with maintaining a natural park environment. Gray water is a waste product that may contain chemicals or other pollutants that may harm the sensitive ecosystem and disrupt natural processes. Showers with catch basins are still challenged to dispose of runoff without impacting the natural environment. Gas generators cause a public disturbance and inhibit visitors from enjoying the natural park setting.
36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES
(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is prohibited, except in the following areas and/or receptacles, under the conditions noted:
Justification: The use of fires in the park is regulated to protect structures, natural resources, and the public.
Justification: Because of the problems associated with disposal of hot coals from charcoal grills, the Superintendent has established these restrictions for public health and safety and the protection of natural resources.
36 CFR §2.15 – PETS
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
Owners or persons having custody or control of any animal(s) will immediately remove and dispose of excrement voided by an animal(s) under their control. Excrement will be properly disposed of in trash containers.
(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:
Justification: The park’s cultural landscape consists of bucolic farms and settings.These restrictions prevent damage those protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values.
36 CFR §2.35 – ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
(a)(3)(i)The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:
All park buildings and grounds that are not under a lease.
Justification: The park is closed to alcohol consumption because such activity is inappropriate considering the other uses of the park and the purpose for which the park was established and is maintained.
36 CFR §2.51 – DEMONSTRATIONS
(c)(1) The following location is available on a first-come, first-served basis for First Amendment activities that do not require a Special Use Permit:
The grassy area at the north end of the Ramsey Parking Lot (approx. 289 Ramsey Road, directly across from the entrance to Ramsey Farm), within the area bound by Ramsey Run to the north and west, and large rocks placed along Ramsey Road to the south and east.
(c)(2) The designated area map may be obtained at:
Brandywine Valley Ranger Station 400 Ramsey Road, Wilmington DE 19803
36 CFR §2.62 – MEMORIALIZATION
(b) The scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit and according to the following conditions established by the Superintendent:
Justification: The conditions outlined above reduce the chances of creating offensive conditions by the scattering of human ashes. The activity does not result in a negative resource impact when conducted in this manner.
36 CFR §4.10 – TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES
(c)(1) Operating a motor vehicle not equipped with pneumatic tires is prohibited, except that a track-laying motor vehicle or a motor vehicle equipped with a similar traction device may be operated on one of the following routes designated for these vehicles:
On dirt roads and, on a more limited basis, park trails and only for administrative and agricultural use
Justification: The park has approximately 300 acres of agricultural use, which may necessitate tracked vehicles at times. Similarly, those vehicles may be required for administrative projects, including trail maintenance. Any other use is prohibited, as the vehicles generally may cause damage to the resource.
36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES
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.).
(f) Closures and other use restrictions
All bicycle and e-bike riders on any park road or parking area must:
Justification: This provision is enacted for the safety of visitors and to lessen potential visitor impacts on the cultural and natural resources of the park.
Delaware and Pennsylvania State helmet laws apply to all bicyclists within the park within those respective states.
Last updated: February 17, 2023