Work on boat ramp, parking lot to improve safety at recreational area

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s renovations to the boat ramp and parking lot at the Cahooque Creek Recreation Area are nearing completion.

The fishing pier is set for renovations later this year at the recreation site that is part of the Croatan National Forest off N.C. 101 outside Havelock.

The renovations are in response to a local public survey issued two years ago by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. It aims to improve safety, correspond with the American with Disabilities Acts standards and increase recreational opportunities.

“There were complaints specifically about when the wind would blow,” Sara Sherman, the Wildlife Resources Commission engineer, said of the boat ramp. “Users were having difficulty launching with the float not keeping up and not being easy to launch on.”

Jeff Kincaid, the Croatan National Forest recreation program manager, said the renovations would include a new ramp, deck, and an expanded fishing area. This was in response to the pier’s wood dislocating from the infrastructure and possible damage dealt to boats, vehicles and trailers.

“Safety is the number one issue, and second is to improve the quality of recreation as much as possible,” said Kincaid. “More people can get on the dock fishing. There’s better access to the ramps, so people can get in there and out of there safely.”

Sherman said the funding for the project came from a Sport Fish Restoration Program grant, along with various licensing fees such as fishing licenses and motor boat registrations.

Kincaid said the public can help preserve the renovations by being mindful of treatment to the facility.

“If everyone has the mindset of taking care of the resources that we have, they will go a long way for future enjoyment,” said Kincaid. “I’m excited about the renovations, and a lot of community interests and the community is pretty excited to get it back open and fixed up.”

Sherman said the renovations fulfill the purpose of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Agency Strategic Plan, which is to develop and administer programs directed to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.

Work on the boat ramp and parking lot is expected to be completed in April, when the area will reopen. Sherman said the fishing pier renovation would begin after Sept. 30.

The site is located just a couple of miles outside Havelock off N.C. 101 and Cahooque Creek Road. The location is where Hancock Creek and Cahooque Creek come together, eventually flowing into the Neuse River. The spot offers fishing, boating, kayaking and bird-watching.

There are picnic facilities at the site, but camping is not permitted.

For more information on the site, call the Croatan National Forest at 638-5628, go online to its website at www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48466 or visit the N.C. Wildlife Commission online at www.ncwildlife.org.