State Gets Poor Grade on Water Access

Wilmington, NC – The North Carolina Beach Inlet and Waterway Association says while public access to beaches is improving, access to coastal waters is becoming a serious issue.

In its first report card for the North Carolina coast, the association handed out a D grade for public access to coastal waters.

Harry Simmons is the group's executive director and mayor of the southeastern coastal town of Caswell Beach.

He says the skyrocketing cost of coastal property is prompting the sale of fishing piers, boat ramps and marinas to private developers. And says while he would normally like to see market forces handle the issue, at this point the government needs to step in.

I suspect the onus is on government of some sort, whether it be county or state or town. But it's an issue that I don't think the marketplace is going to handle on its own.

The North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association gave the coast an overall grade of C with public access receiving the highest grade of an A and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway a D.