Masonboro Island is a state controlled wildlife preserve. It is also a popular recreation spot that is open to boaters – for now. Thursday night, residents voiced their concerns about possible restrictions on the use of the island that might put a damper on recreation.
A meeting at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science, held by the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, allowed residents to talk about possible solutions to the trash problem. Many residents are concerned that responsible visitors will pay the price for those who aren’t. Currently, the state has no plans to close the island, but some fear it may come to that.
“We’re regular visitors to Masonboro Island, and we’re very disturbed about putting additional regulations on our use and access,” said New Hanover County resident Jack Kilbourne.
Others say if it will protect the island, it’s a small price to pay. “The birds that nest there, the animals that nest there, the various other animals that live there or pass through, they don’t have an option,” said Robert Smith of New Hanover County. “We have options. We don’t have to go to Masonboro, we can go to some other island, we can go to some other beach.”
Solutions discussed in the meeting include raising awareness among the college population, and possibly banning alcohol all together.
Hope Sutton of NC Coastal Reserve said, “There’s not one specific decision that this meeting is centered around, so there’s no specific outcome that’s going to come out of this meeting.”
Other possible solutions include requiring permits and upping law enforcement. All options are being considered.
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