SWANSBORO — The North Carolina Coastal Federation has asked planners to limit development of a 300-acre addition to Hammocks Beach State Park or risk destroying its lure for visitors and the property’s natural and archaeological importance.
In a comment letter submitted last week to Sage Design, the firm hired to make plans for the area, Todd Miller, the executive director of the federation, and Sam Bland, a former superintendent of the park and now a coastal specialist for the federation, urged caution on changing the natural state of the park. The property includes critical forest habitat for plants and wildlife and functions as an important watershed for the area, according to the letter.
“Any development of the mainland property should not in any way compromise the integrity of these great natural resources and the allure of Hammocks Beach State Park. Unwise development of the property negates the purpose of purchasing the property for preservation,” Miller and Bland stated in the letter.
Among the ideas that have been presented for the park are a boat ramp and parking lot. The federation said such developments could lead to increased stormwater runoff, filling of wetlands and disturbance of primary nursing areas.
The federation also recommended developers take into account a village site for Algonquian Native Americans in the area that also includes burial grounds.
The federation said habitat restoration, including living shoreline and oyster reef projects, should continue at the park and that developers should consider only “low-impact” additions, such as hiking trails, primitive camp sites, picnic areas and educational activities, that are accessible via existing roads.