Forest Service officials are proposing to standardize the hours of operation at several recreation sites in the Croatan National Forest. Under the proposal, several day use areas and entrance roads would be open to the public from sunrise to sunset. The affected sites include Black Swamp OHV area, Cedar Point recreation area and Tideland Trail, Fisher’s Landing, Flanner’s Beach recreation area, Pine Cliff equestrian trails parking lot and recreation area, and Siddie Fields.
“The amount of phone calls that we received from the public of where they can be and when they can be in those areas, we had to give a different answer to all of those places,” said Jeff Kinkaid, the recreation program manager with the Croatan National Forest. “It just didn’t make sense as to why some places close at 6 p.m. and some places close at 8 p.m. and some places close at 10 p.m.”
The reason for standardizing the hours of operation is to reduce confusion for visitors and make the recreation areas safer.
“[At Fisher’s Landing] there was a ton of dumping going on, people dropping off house trash, and then other sort of illicit activity going on in the area. And we’re hoping that with this change, that people like that who do things in the dark don’t have that opportunity now,” said Kinkaid.
Written comments on the proposal can be submitted to Jeff Kincaid at Jeffery.Kincaid@usda.gov or sent to the Croatan District Ranger’s Office 141 E. Fisher Ave., New Bern, NC 28560 by October 31st.
Many of the recreation areas in the Croatan National Forest remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence. Before repairs can begin, the Service is waiting to receive funds from the national disaster relief bill signed in June by President Donald Trump. According to Kinkaid, it could take up to two years for the sites to reopen.