Seasonal ferry service to Bear Island delayed until May

SWANSBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — The seasonal ferry service to Bear Island at Hammock Beach State Park was set to resume in early April but will instead be delayed until May to allow repair of dock facilities on the island and mainland, according to North Carolina State Parks.

North Carolina State Parks said an engineer’s inspection revealed temporary measures are necessary to shore up dock facilities and ensure visitor safety.

“We’re in a salt water environment, which is very harsh,” Sarah Kendrick, park superintendent, said. “The dock here at the visitor’s center is about 17 years old. The docks over at the maintenance area are about 30 or 40 years old.”

Permanent repairs will be undertaken later in the year and normal operation of the dock complex is expected in 2018.

“We’ll be here for the whole month of April, and even though we aren’t running the ferry, we’ll offer some extra programming,” Kendrick said. “So we’ll have some nature hikes and fun activities at the visitor’s center.”

An engineer’s report concluded that a number of pilings supporting the docks’ piers have deteriorated due to the extreme coastal conditions. The affected facilities include the mainland ferry dock, one of two docks on the island and one maintenance dock. The kayak/canoe launch dock is unaffected.

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