By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH – Freeman Park on the north end of Pleasure Island will reopen March 27th, at 8:00am for four wheel drive vehicle access and overnight camping.
The park has been closed during a project to pump sand on to the beach in Carolina Beach. Large pipes were placed along the beach in the park to facilitate pumping sand from the Carolina Beach Inlet area.
Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive in Carolina Beach has been a popular destination for four wheel drive enthusiasts for many years.
The Town of Carolina Beach manages the area as a park and charges for vehicle access and camping permits. The cost for the 2019 annual vehicle permit is $200 per vehicle. Daily passes are $40. Daily holiday passes are $60.
Camping is permitted for a charge of $30 per night and reservations are required.
Freeman Park is largely outside of the Town’s jurisdiction. The Town owns the first 1,000 feet beyond of the end of Canal Drive. After that, parcels are privately owned. Private properties west of the front of the dune line are considered private while any portion of a property located east of the front of the dune line is open to public use under State Law as a public-trust area. That includes the dry sand beach east to the high water mark. The wet sand beach belongs to the State of North Carolina.
The Town has authority to manage the public-trust beach as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago. There is a fee charged for vehicle access to drive on the beach front within the park.
The Town doesn’t charge people a fee to walk into the park. They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access. The Town has the authority under State Law to “regulate, restrict and prohibit” vehicles driving on the dry sand beach within the public-trust area.
To purchase an annual pass for vehicle access or make a reservation for camping, visit www.carolinabeach.org