Grant helps N.C. preserve public access

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North Carolina officials recently made their first purchase from the state’s Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund, a $20 million fund approved last year by the state’s general assembly.

State legislators approved the WAMI fund as a way to pay for acquiring waterfront properties or developing facilities to provide, or improve, waterfront access for the public.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has purchased property adjacent to its Sunset Harbor Boating Access Area to ensure the public has adequate parking at the site for years to come.

The purchase will also enable the commission to focus its resources on much-needed renovations to the existing boat ramp on the Intracoastal Waterway. The WAMI funds will also provide funding to develop a small public fishing pier, according to deputy director Gordon Myers.

“This $915,000 grant, made possible through the leadership of the general assembly, is allowing us to protect waterfront land and preserve it for public use,” Myers said in a statement.

“In addition, thanks to this collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, which administers the fund, we’ll be able to make significant improvements, expand the uses of this property and ensure continued access to our state’s public waters,” he added.

Boaters using the Sunset Harbor Boating Access Area had previously parked on property leased to a private fishing club. However, when the property owner decided to sell it, the commission worried that a private buyer would forbid public parking, and purchased the property with WAMI funding to make it part of the commission’s free Boating Access Area.

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