Visitors to Masonboro Island Reserve encouraged to act responsibly during upcoming July Fourth holiday

Morehead City

The N.C. Division of Coastal Management and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office are urging the public to act responsibly during the upcoming July Fourth holiday at the Masonboro Island Reserve, a research reserve and dedicated state nature preserve.

For the 2019 holiday, the state coastal agency and the sheriff’s office are working together to provide for public safety and to increase public awareness of responsible visitor behavior on the island. The agencies would like to remind visitors not to attempt the dangerous swim across Masonboro Inlet.

“Visitor safety is our first priority during the July Fourth holiday at Masonboro Island,” said Braxton Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. “Our partnership with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office during past events has helped to prevent illegal activities and ensure visitor safety. I’m confident that this year will be the same.”

In past years, unofficial Fourth of July parties on the island have resulted in a growing number of arrests for underage drinking and fighting, along with boating violations, accidents and injuries. An increased law enforcement presence in recent years, along with public outreach prior to the holiday, has helped significantly decrease potentially dangerous behavior on the holiday. 

The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve Program protects natural areas for education, research and compatible recreation. Since its creation in 1989, the program has preserved more than 44,000 acres of unique coastal environments at 10 sites along the coast. 

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