SWANSBORO — A master plan for the nearly 300-acre mainland portion of Hammocks Beach State Park was released Tuesday by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
Although some area residents had supported adding to the park a motorized boat launch, the approved plan calls for additional non-motorized boat access only.
In 2015, the division began to acquire the 290-acre of Hammocks Beach mainland “to enhance protection of water quality, sub-aquatic vegetation and scenic assets on the creek and to provide additional mainland recreational opportunities,” according to the press release. The park totals 1,611 acres that includes Bear Island, Huggins Island and Jones Island.
Proposed near- and long-term action items for the site include camping, a day use area, hiking trails, picnic area, wildlife observation, a fishing pier and upgrades to the visitor center that would include education and historical interpretation opportunities. The master plan was developed by staff and stakeholders, including Friends of Hammocks Beach and Bear Island, North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, conservation groups, Onslow County staff, area businesses and neighborhood associations.
“This plan incorporates the complex needs of multiple stakeholders in a way that will serve the community and visitors well,” said N.C. State Parks Director Mike Murphy in a statement. “It offers a great balance for the future of the park: ample opportunities for recreation, new spaces to bring people together, and protection of important natural communities.”
Concepts for the property were and incorporated into the long-term plan, which will guide future development of the park as funding becomes available.
Based upon the North Carolina State Parks System’s core missions of providing conservation, recreation, and education, the plan details the future conservation and use of Hammocks Beach State Park lands. It also includes mechanisms to address the protection of soils, natural communities, and floodplains within the park.