WRC Initiates Parking Regulations at Congested Ramps

Several WRC Boating Access Area parking lots are being filled beyond capacity and special regulations have been posted and are being enforced. Users of these areas should pay close attention to any special regulations, which may be posted at the entrance.

Several N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) Boat Ramps are regularly being filled to and beyond capacities and the WRC is seeking ways to help the alleviate some of the congestion while still providing access for boaters.

In a press release dated June 1, the WRC is urging boaters to pay close attention to regulations posted at their public access boat ramps.  One of the most notable regulations is that several ramps do not allow parking for vehicles without trailers and many have minimal, but designated, parking for vehicles without trailers.  Tickets and towing are the penalties for ignoring these regulations.

WRC Facilities and Operations Chief, Erik Christofferson said, “We have had several meetings this week, both here in our offices and on site at several of the ramps to examine this problem and try to come to the best solution for all.  However, we must keep in mind that these are boating access areas and the priority is for boaters.  Our boat ramps are bearing the burden of increased demand for public water access.  Our goal is to maximize opportunities for boaters.”

One of the ways the WRC has chosen to insure access and parking for boaters is to limit use of the ramp areas by vehicles without trailers.  However, realizing that there are some situations where a boater will not arrive towing a trailer, they are seeking to have a small number of single vehicle parking places at each ramp.

Over the Memorial Day Weekend several vehicles were ticketed and towed at some of the coastal ramps for parking in incorrectly marked areas and the owners were upset upon their return.  The ramp areas with the largest parking problems include: Oak Island (Fish Factory Road), Carolina Beach (Snow’s Cut), Morehead City (Hwy 70 at Carteret County Visitors Center), Ocean Isle, (under the Ocean Isle Bridge), Wrightsville Beach (beside the Wrightsville Beach Bridge) and one inland ramp at Wake County-Falls Lake (Upper Barton’s Creek).

Christofferson said there were signs at these areas noting the parking restrictions, but WRC had received complaints the current signs were too small to be easily noticed.  He said they were in the process of replacing them with larger signs that would be difficult to pass without noticing.

Christofferson said there are currently a limited number of single vehicle spaces at the Carolina Beach, Ocean Isle and Wrightsville Beach ramps.  He said plans are underway to reconfigure the parking area at the Oak Island ramp to include 5 to 10 single vehicle spaces.

The WRC is constantly seeking new locations for ramps and has joined with the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) to build several ramps beside and underneath bridges on the bridge right-of-ways.  One that is currently being debated is a ramp underneath the B. Cameron Langston Bridge between Cape Carteret and Emerald Isle. The WRC is prepared to construct the ramp, but is being delayed by the town of Cape Carteret over traffic concerns.

Perhaps the town should examine a little more closely what will cause more traffic issues—the large Lowe’s Home Improvement Center currently under construction and the proposed Super Wal-Mart with their large parking lots and huge volume of customers or 72 vehicles launching boats and returning hours later.  This ramp would certainly help ease the pressure on the often overloaded WRC ramp a few miles west on Hwy 24 in Cedar Point and may also help with a few boats that drive the approximately 18 miles east to the Morehead City ramp on Hwy 70.

The issue at hand is water access and the WRC ramps are boating access areas that were financed with funding from boat registrations.  In an effort to preserve and maximize their usage for boaters, the WRC has found the need to implement the restricted parking regulations at several ramps.  If boating continues to grow and access areas do not, there may be more ramps with similar regulations.

It is recommended that ramp users be aware of these regulations and check the signage at all WRC ramps they use.  Parking in the appropriate areas is crucial for the best usage of the ramp, with tickets and towing as potential penalties for not complying with these regulations.  It would certainly ruin anyone’s day to return from a boating outing or fishing trip and have an expensive ticket or find their vehicle has been towed.  The regulations are posted at the ramps.  Please pay attention and follow them.

More information, including locations, on the WRC boating access areas is available at www.ncwildlife.org.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1172 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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