Editorial: New Rules And Restrictions At Freeman Park

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 12 November 2014 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted four to one at their November 10th, meeting to implement new rules and place restrictions on camping. (See report on page 1-A).
Most people agree changes are required to address issues such as littering, but other than that the area is far more controlled and in far better condition environmentally speaking than it was before the Town took over the area and started calling it a "park."
I remember reporting on the issues in the early 2000's and taking photos of areas were people would use the bathroom in the sand dunes. No law enforcement patrols unless it was on a holiday weekend when the Sheriff's Department would come down to write some tickets. No trashcans. No toilets. No sand fencing to protect the dunes.
Fast-forward to the present and all of those items have been addressed. There are over 200 trashcans out there and trailers with toilets on them. There's police, lifeguards and trash pickup. Sand fencing to protect the dunes that have grown in size since the Town began managing the area.
Some on Council have made statements about a need to be better environmental stewards of the area. Well, you should have been years ago in order to make an educated comparison. The Town achieved that and has been improving upon it ever since. And yes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came down years ago and said if sea turtles get harassed they would take action and potentially work to close the area to vehicles. The Town adopted a management plan that included a sea turtle monitoring and relocation program. That program didn't exist prior to the Town becoming environmental stewards of the Freeman Park area.
On the topic of new camping restrictions, I can't imagine a family will want to make reservations to camp right next to the dunes and gaze across several lanes of four-wheel drive traffic and a line of people with pop up tents and vehicles parked along the water's edge.
Then have to leave their tent and valuables to walk 50' or 100' feet to the oceanside of the park to actually enjoy the beach amid several rows of vehicles of non-campers.
So the people that pay more get to sit in the nose bleed section at the concert? That's a heck of a way to treat people that are going drop as much as $150 on a season pass and $10 to camp to help offset the cost to taxpayers for expensive future  beach nourishment projects. Increase the number of campsites and put them closer to what they can to enjoy: the ocean.

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