Sand project limits Freeman Park access, camping until May

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Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach. Photo by Caroline Curran.
Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach. File photo.

Due to a coastal storm damage reduction project scheduled for Carolina Beach, access to Freeman Park will be limited starting Monday, Feb. 29.

According to the town, piping for the maintenance project, also known as beach nourishment, has been laid down on parts of the beach in the park. Workers from the Army Corps of Engineers and the contractor hired to do the work, Marinex, will be pumping sand from the inlet down to the maintenance area near the fishing pier until May.

The park, which charges an admission fee to enter, is popular with both visitors and locals, and vehicles are allowed on the sand. During the beach nourishment, access will not be allowed in areas north of Zone 10.

“We will have the area blocked off all the way from the dunes to the water,” said Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer.

Camping is also allowed in the park starting in April of each year. According to the town, beach access and ocean views at campsites 1 through 63 will be obstructed, and other sites will be completely off limits.

“We looked at the calendar, and only four people reserved campsites up in that area [north of Zone 10] in April,” said Cramer. “They have been accommodated in other parts of the park.”

After a late start and delays due to weather, workers are scrambling to finish the coastal storm damage reduction project before the environmental window closes on April 30 for the sea turtle nesting season. Carolina Beach and neighboring Kure Beach are nourished every three years. Work started in Kure Beach in January, and workers there are nearly done pumping 655,000 cubic yards of sand from the ocean to their shores. Carolina Beach is set to get 890,000 cubic yards of sand.

The town will reopen all of Freeman Park once all the equipment is moved out of the area, which they anticipate to be in early May.