Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge to Rebuild Historic Pier
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County, North Carolina, today announced plans to rebuild the Bell Island Pier.
“The pier was renovated in 2003 after Hurricane Floyd severely damaged it,” said Bruce Freske, refuge manager. Unfortunately, it was only open to the public for a few months before Hurricane Isabel struck, causing closure of the pier.” Later storms and timber theft compounded the damage.
A total of $150,000 has been set aside to renovate the pier, which is believed adequate to cover all repair costs. Until the extent of repairs is determined and a work schedule is set, the Service cannot say when work on the pier will be complete and public access restored.
“We’ve received many requests from the public to repair the Bell Island Pier,” Freske said. “The pier is very popular with fishermen and bird watchers so I’m pleased that people will soon be able to enjoy the pier as well as drives on the Bell Island Road.”
Located on the north side of Pamlico Sound, the 1,000 foot pier will provide saltwater fishing opportunities for flounder, trout, croaker, spot, red drum, bluefish, and blue crabs. The next closest pier is over an hour’s drive away on the Outer Banks.
Bell Island pier has a long and rich history in Hyde County. The original pier was constructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Throughout its long history the pier has provided many individuals and families with enjoyable fishing and wildlife viewing experiences. The Bell Island Unit provides the only land access to the refuge and may be reached from U.S. Highway 264. The rest of the refuge is accessible only by boat. About 50,000 people visit Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge annually.
The 16,411-acre Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1932. Its coastal marshes and forested wetlands provide habitat for wildlife, such as the American alligator, the bald eagle, and migratory waterfowl.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.