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Park Boat Ramps Made Public in Budget

SWANSBORO – Despite public opposition to motorboat launching facilities at Hammocks Beach State Park, language inserted into the state budget requires an existing boat ramp at the park to be made available for the public’s use.

Rep. Pat McElraft

Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, wrote the provision into the budget bill, the Tideland News reported. McElraft said she had been approached by a “loosely organized” group interested in establishing a boat ramp at the state park. McElraft said she found it odd that the park would have a launch used for maintenance, state agencies, emergency services and Bear Island campers but not open to taxpayers.

According to the budget language, any park that has an existing boat ramp suitable for launch of motorized watercraft “shall ensure the ramp is accessible to the public during the park’s regular operating hours.”

Sarah Kendrick, park superintendent, was instructed to put a plan in place to allow public use of the ramp. The ramp is in an area with about 15 parking spaces with most used for storing Marine Fisheries and Fish and Wildlife Resource Commission boat trailers and boats on trailers, leaving five parking spaces available for public use. A $6 launch fee went into effect July 1.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.