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Surrounded by the city of Dover at the headwaters of the St. Jones River, Silver Lake is a beautiful place to take a break from fast paced urban life. The area's wildlife and rich history of the "First State's" capital city along with the cultural opportunities combine to make Silver Lake a destination to please everyone.
Delaware does not have any natural freshwater lakes. Silver Lake in Kent County is an impoundment of the St. Jones River, created by the Silver Lake-Dover Dam. Built in 1900, the dam and resultant lake are owned by the City of Dover. Silver Lake covers about 167 acres with a maximum depth of nine feet and an average depth of four feet. It is a great place to swim, boat, and fish. Silver Lake is the only Delaware reservoir where visitors can water ski.
Silver Lake hosts healthy populations of black crappie, bluegill, bullhead, and pickerel. Anglers can also find pumpkinseed, white perch, and large mouth bass. The 182-acre Silver Lake Park and Recreation Area offers a swimming beach, playground, picnic pavilion, boat ramp, and plenty of trails for hiking and biking.
Dover is Delaware's state capital and in addition to all the amenities of a city its size, it has a very rich history. Delaware is called the nation's "First State," and Dover is home to the 1st State Heritage Park. Established in 2004 it is a "park without boundaries," that links historical and cultural sites. Dover is also the home of the Dover Air Force Base and Delaware State University. Every year over 200,000 visitors come to the city to watch NASCAR races at the Dover Speedway.
Visitors who prefer more wildlife will find several refuges and wildlife areas within a few miles of Silver Lake. Little Creek Wildlife Refuge is over 4,500 acres of land and water for waterfowl, crabbing and fishing. The Ted Harvey Wildlife Area is especially known for its duck and waterfowl hunting. The Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is almost 16,000 acres, 4/5's of which are tidal salt marsh. On the Delaware Bay, the Refuge is part of the Atlantic Flyway, the route used by migratory birds when they travel from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Refuge was established in 1937 for migratory and wintering waterfowl, and it draws over 100,000 visitors a year. The Refuge includes the Alee House. Built in 1753 by Abraham Alee, it is an early brick farm house. The remarkably well preserved house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are two lighthouses in the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The Bombay Hook Lighthouse was built in 1829. The Port Mahon Lighthouse was built in the late 1800's, but it was destroyed by fire. The Refuge also has a twelve mile round trip auto tour that is a great way to explore the area.
With recreation opportunities ranging from NASCAR racing to bird watching, a trip to Silver Lake has something to please everyone. Dover, capital city of the "First State" has any amenities or accommodations a visitor could want, With Silver Lake in the middle, it is a great Delaware getaway.
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