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Del Bay Retriever Club
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C & D Canal Grounds



C&D CANAL:  Summit Retriever and Sporting Dog Training Areas


Among the resources the Del Bay Retriever Club offers its members are the Summit Retriever and Sporting Dog Areas located in the Wildlife Area of the C&D Canal.  Approximately 3 miles in length and 1 mile in width, the SRTA and the SPDA have been said by many to be the finest public retriever and sporting dog training areas on the East Coast.


Since the 1960's, Del Bay has been active in the Canal area and formally assumed stewardship in partnership with the State of Delaware/U.S. Corps of Engineers in the mid-1990's.  This cooperative relationship has been beneficial to the general public as well as the dog training community. 


Del Bay performs many tasks within the canal area:


            1.  We hold an annual clean-up day the second week in July to remove

                  trash and litter.  While the State of Delaware provides dump truck and

                  loader, Del Bay provides the labor.  At a recent clean-up, forty-some

                  Del Bay members removed 4 tons of trash … roof shingles, bathroom

                  fixtures, cans, glass, etc. and a discarded boat.


            2.  We groom the area for dog training through daily litter pickup and twice

                  yearly mowings.  Each mowing consists of approximately 40 hours of

                  cutting and the cost is born entirely by the Del Bay Club through

                  membership funds, picnic (training) trials, hunt tests, and field trials.

                  Del Bay spends approximately $3000 a year in mowing.


            3.  We enhance the dog training areas through special projects.  Last year

                  (2004) Del Bay embarked on three special projects:  (a)  controlling the

                  invasive Purple Loosestripe plant through a beetle release project in

                  cooperation with the University of Delaware with costs shared by Del

                  Bay, the University of Delaware, the National Fish and Wildlife

                  Foundation and the Water Resource Foundation;  (b)  maintaining the

                  roads in the dog training areas with cooperative construction of the State

                  of Delaware National Guard; and (c ) the construction of mounds for

                  handing and casting.


            4.  We assist in law enforcement through reporting unlawful behaviors such

                  as illegal gun behavior, "turfing" fields, use of unlicensed vehicles, and so

                  forth.  It is not uncommon to discover abandoned stolen vehicles that

                  have been torched.  Del Bay's daily presence contributes to the

                  discouragement of unlawful and environmentally destructive behavior.


Development of the C&D Canal dog training areas was accomplished under the early leadership of Del Bay members.  Among those who played an important role was Jesse Mitchell who worked closely with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and whose

guidance led to the construction of the technical pond now named "Mitchell Pond".

Other Del Bay members whose names are now lost in history contributed significantly to the creation of the dog training areas.  Current and future Del Bay Club members and the general dog training public are indebted to the foresight.