The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that a number of improvements have been made to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in recent weeks, which includes the recent reopening of the New Inlet Parking Lot.
The popular parking area and kayak launch, which is located on the soundside of N.C. Highway 12 just south of the Bonner Bridge, was sporadically closed for a few years due to bridge construction projects. Now that the Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island is complete, and the area is cleared of construction equipment and vehicles, the parking area has reopened for kayakers, birdwatchers, and everyday visitors.
At the Pea Island Visitors Center, which was battered by ocean overwash during a series of spring nor’easters, a barrier has been installed along the driveway near the ramp to the Visitors Center. This will help to divert any overwash that occurs if the ocean once again breaches the dunes along N.C. Highway 12. This project was completed by Assistant Refuge Manager Art Beyer and Resident Volunteer George Harrison, and the team, along with Resident Volunteer Peggy Harrison, also tackled the application of a weatherproofing solution to the outside of the Visitors Center.
Additional improvements at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge include new benches constructed by resident volunteers Bob and Liz Haber on North Pond Trail, as well as new signs installed at the Visitors Center crosswalk and at other beach locations, in a partnership with the National Park Service, to help visitors understand rip currents.