Town Resumes Sale Of Freeman Park Daily Passes; Erosion Continues

The Town of Carolina Beach has resumed the sale of daily passes for vehicles to enter Freeman Park on the North End of Pleasure Island following Hurricane Dorian. Restrictions on camping and prohibition of vehicle access to certain areas of the park will continue due to high tide conditions and erosion. The Town of Carolina Beach has resumed the sale of daily passes for vehicles to enter Freeman Park on the North End of Pleasure Island following Hurricane Dorian. Restrictions on camping and prohibition of vehicle access to certain areas of the park will continue due to high tide conditions and erosion.

Town Resumes Sale Of Freeman Park Daily Passes; Erosion Continues Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 17 September 2019 00:25

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Throughout the summer season the Town of Carolina Beach has restricted four-wheel drive vehicle access and camping within Freeman Park due to safety concerns and crowding. A portion of the beach has experienced erosion making it unsafe for vehicles to drive in a large portion of the park.

According to Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin, "Effective Friday, September 13, 2019, Town officials resumed the sale of daily access passes into Freeman Park for weekend visitors. Daily access passes will now be available for sale Monday-Sunday. Unfortunately, the effects of tides and erosion still exist, and the northern areas of Freeman Park remain closed to all vehicular traffic. Intermittent closures could still be possible based on limited beach area and level of patron use. Public safety staff will perform assessments daily to determine when additional sections of the park can safely be opened, or if additional closures are required."

Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive in Carolina Beach has been a popular destination for four wheel drive enthusiasts for many years. The Town of Carolina Beach manages the area as a park and charges for vehicle access and camping permits. The cost for the 2019 annual vehicle permit is $200 per vehicle. Daily passes are $40. Daily holiday passes are $60. Camping is permitted for a charge of $30 per night and reservations are required.

Freeman Park is largely outside of the Town's jurisdiction. The Town owns the first 1,000 feet beyond of the end of Canal Drive. After that, parcels are privately owned. Private properties west of the front of the dune line are considered private  while any portion of a property located east of the front of the dune line is open to public use under State Law as a public-trust area. That includes the dry sand beach east to the high water mark. The wet sand beach belongs to the State of North Carolina. The Town has authority to manage the public-trust beach as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago. There is a fee charged for vehicle access to drive on the beach front within the park. The Town doesn't charge people a fee to walk into the park. They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access. The Town has the authority under State Law to “regulate, restrict and prohibit” vehicles driving on the dry sand beach within the public-trust area.

The Town still has restrictions in place for the park.

Camping is limited to designated spaces south of the closure area.  Campers with reservations are urged to call 1-866-330-7275 to verify continued availability.

Vehicles are not allowed past marked closures. Anyone driving past a designated closure will be issued a citation. Visitors of the park may still walk past closure points.

Vehicles cannot operate or park in the wet sand areas.


If the sand is wet from waves washing ashore, it's against the law to drive on or park in those areas. 

 Lifeguards will only patrol areas of Freeman Park where vehicles are allowed.

The Town anticipates intermittent closures will occur due to limited beach area and the number of people using the park. 

If increased tidal surges occur, access to the park  will be restricted.

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