News Release

Partial Closure of Smith Bridge Parking Lot

Large boulders block off a section of the parking lot.


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News Release Date: November 29, 2021

Beginning November 29, 2021, First State National Historical Park will be restricting access to the Smith Bridge Parking Lot by closing the right side of the lot to allow for the landscape to recover and maintenance. The left side of the trailhead parking lot will remain open to provide access to the Brandywine Creek Trail that will allow visitors to hike towards Brandywine Creek State Park and other areas of the park. This partial closer will remain in effect until the hazard tree work scheduled for the Spring of 2022 is complete. 

Over the years the Smith Bridge Picnic Area, accessible from the Smith Bridge Parking Lot, has seen an increase in visitation leading to repetitive trampling of native plants. Native plants help reduce erosion by locking the soil into place and by filtering runoff rainwater. When plants are repeatedly tramples it limits the amount of sunlight, they can capture, causing them to die. Without the plants the soil begins to erode. In the photos below, you can see some of the irreversible erosion damage that has been caused from the lack of vegetation. It is our hope that this space can recover, and the plants will begin to come back by limiting the access to the area. 

Image shows little to no vegetation with a deep cut into the bank caused from erosion.
In the photo you can see that there is little to no vegetation to hold the soil in place. If not corrected, this path could continue to deepen.

NPS Photo

The photo shows a man mad path leading to the water.
In the photo you can see stones placed within the eroded path. While the stones will help stable the social path, they were most likely taken from the stream which can impact the flow of the water and reduce habitats for macroinvertebrates and small fish.

NPS Photo

Last updated: February 24, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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

New Castle , DE 19720


If you need to speak to a park ranger call our ranger station at (302-478-2769) and someone will return your call as soon as possible. For a more immediate response, please email the park at

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