History of Beach Access vs Environmental at Ft Fisher Questians [Archive] - PierandSurf.com | Pier and Surf Fishing Forum

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03-04-2008, 05:31 PM
Although I have never fished the OBX, as I have stayed closer to home and fished Ft. Fisher and the northern SC coast. I had plans to do so this summer and fall. As to why I have been following close the fight going on at the OBX is I cared for you guys but also was afraid this would set a precedent and they would set their beady little eyes on Ft Fisher next.

So my questions go out to guys like Firespyder and Finger Mullet about what is the history of this fight at the Ft in the past and what do you guys see coming down in the future.

From what I have seen there is a planned management at the Ft with access limited to one road in and roped off access to the dunes and bird rookeries and that for several years started charging a set fee for access.

The other big difference I see is that the Fort is a NC State Park and Wildlife preserve as opposed to a National Preserve.

03-04-2008, 05:59 PM
Firespyder will know more than me but when I started visiting Fort Fisher it was open 24 hours per day and it was free. No ropes except the ones to block the nesting birds. There were very few areas blocked, maybe a 100 yard stretch of sand between the surf and sound. You could drive down the river side at low tide in 2wd. You could pretty much drive where ever you wanted. They did limit night driving during the times the turtles came in to lay eggs. Other than that it was 24/7.

Then a major hurricane struck. Flatened the place literaly. No dunes, no grass no nothing. The ocean washed over into the sound. They closed it for repair. They had to build back the dunes and fix where the water washed away the beach making it impassable. I don't remember the Hurricane but it was probably Fran. After Fran they started checking coolers. No alcohol.
Things started to crack down.

Wasn't long after that they closed it at night. The people raised so much hell they open it in September-November for night fishing. They also imposed a fee.

Now the state is making a killing on the daily/yearly fees. I doubt it will ever close. Ryan will know much more than me. Let's see what he has to say.

I plan on not fishing Ft Fisher this year. I will buy a permit for the North End (Freeman Park) and try to put up with all the partying. I caught many more fish on the North End this past year and fished it less than half as much. I have not caught much since the inlet filled in at Fort Fisher.


Ryan Y
03-04-2008, 09:36 PM
Not fishing Fort Fisher will mean you wont be their for Crokerfest. Man Im Sorry.

Yea, Fort Fisher was open twenty-four-seven up until Hurrican Bonnie or Floyd. (when those five sturck in three years its hard to rememeber)

It closed the inlet and really tore up Fort Fisher. around 2003 or 04 the state implememented an impact study. here http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/visit/fofi/fofistudy_305.doc.pdf
and here

Basically the options were to close it permantly or implemement a management plan. (hell Yea, we've aleady been through this stuff)
The state chose to use a mangement plan.

Their was a website called friendsof the south end.com that helped get the news out but because we have no organizations down here like OBPA and the NCBBA the backing came from local individuals and businesses. (I must say that I've been involved with several Beach Sweeps down this way and any time I've asked the NCBBA to provide stickers, applications, and garbage bags, they have done so without any hesitation whatsoever, and thanks to them.)

I got to say the management plan has cleaned up the beach. The NC park service will place a twenty five foot fence around a bird nest as well and allow you to drive all around it.

Basically, if they closed the four miles of Fort Fisher to ORV they estimated that the tax base of that area would lose almost two million bones,
200 jobs, over 11 million in sales (over 1.2 million in hotel sales alone). Basically a loss of over over 11 million dollars for closing four miles of beach.

One thing I found intresting was that in one trip, the average vehicle that drove to Fort Fisher to fish was almost four hundred dollars. (of 120 vehicles surveyed.) Couple that with 30,000 vehicles (roughly) yearly....12 million bones....

Ryan Y
03-04-2008, 09:44 PM
I should have noted as well, that there was an impact study done for the North End of Wrightsville before moving the inlet a few ago because of.........................................................................................................................PLUVERS!

The most recent counting over the last summer that I am aware of indicated no significant change in the bird numbers since they closed a big amount of the South end of Wrightsville Beach to pedestrian traffic.

03-04-2008, 09:46 PM
Thanks Firespyder for the great reply and now I understand how my access to the Fort was guaranteed by those people before me who worked hard for that right.

Makes me wonder why something like that can't be worked out for OBX,,,sigh

03-04-2008, 10:12 PM
I might add one thing here about the turtles.

I was camping at Hunting Island State Park (between Charleston SC and Savanna) several years ago and this place was a mecca for green back and leather head turtles for nesting.

Years prior to my visit they implemented a ban on all flashlights or other illumination in order to not scare the turtles away from the beach during nesting season. They also created a citizens group to patrol the beach in the mornings to see if any new turtles had nested.

I am most fortunate to say that on that visit, I was making a morning stroll down the beach and I was the first to see the tell tale tracks in the sand of a female loggerhead making her way into the dunes to lay her hatch and then like a ghost, make her trek seaward again never to be seen by her ancient instincts to preserve the species.

I contacted the State Park Rangers, they showed up and I was able to help them dig up over 100 ping pong sized leatherly eggs for transport to a more secure location. I must say that was an experience of a lifetime

I contacted the State Park latter that fall and they reported that the nest that I helped secure, did in fact hatch and the hatchings made there way to the ocean.

Just goes to show, that wildlife can be protected as long as you have a concerned populace and a State or Federal Agency working in tandem to secure the rights for everyone.

Just a tale of my experiences that might help at OBX

03-04-2008, 11:21 PM

I said I was not going to buy a pass. I will still pay $10.00 and partake in the yearly Croakerfest.
I may still breakdown and buy the pass but I did catch more fish on the North End. I was planning on getting down to Ocracoke and Hatteras more this year but depending on the way things go down, I may be buying both North End and FF passes and fish SENC.

I remember when it was open 24/7. It was kinda trashy. It is in much better shape now than it was in years past. The only thing I hate is the inlet filled in. I think they called it corncake??
I drug a bunch of flounder out of that inlet.

And I miss fishing at night. I always caught fish at night at FF all Summer long. Shark, croaker, drum, sea mullet, trout etc...

It is almost time to start setting up dates for the Festivus at the Fort. Or we can plan a trip to Ocracoke in April/May.


for access
03-05-2008, 11:04 AM
I have done one before. Irene Nolan did a good one in the breeze (I think it was her). Don't know if she has it on her Island Free Press or not.