RALEIGH, N.C. – As land use along North Carolina's coastline continues to change rapidly, boaters are concerned about losing access to public, coastal waters.

It's a concern that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission shares and wants to address through a recently launched survey to assess boating access needs in coastal waters. The survey, which ends on Dec. 15, comprises five components:

* An online survey accessible at www.ncwildlife.org
* 3,500 mailers to boaters
* 20 survey boxes located at kiosk stands throughout eastern North Carolina
* 600 questionnaires to be completed via telephone interviews
* Intercept interviews to be conducted at 15 boat launch sites over the next three weekends

Data from the survey will help the Commission identify the best locations for future boating access areas.

North Carolina Sportsman urges all fishermen and boaters to participate in the survey.  The on-line survey only requires a couple of minutes and assures your ideas and concerns regarding coastal boating access will be heard.

"The Commission recognizes that the rapid rate of change along North Carolina's coastal shorelines has created a situation that requires immediate action and adaptation," said Gordon Myers, a deputy director for the Commission. "Our goal is to identify new partnerships and funding opportunities and use them wisely to address the needs of boaters."

"The loss of access that boaters are experiencing is a statewide problem that is currently most acute along our coastal shorelines," Myers said. "However, access issues must ultimately be addressed on a statewide level in a manner that ensures equitable opportunities to all waters within the public trust."

Through its boating access area program, the Commission's Division of Engineering Services currently manages 202 boating access areas that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The program has helped open boating and fishing access to many of North Carolina's fresh and salt waters and has made improvement to hundreds of existing access sites.

To take the online survey or for more information on boating access areas in North Carolina, visit the Commission's Web site, www.ncwildlife.org, or call the Division of Engineering Services, (919) 707-0150.