The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission celebrated the opening of the Hampstead Boating Access Area in Pender County Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by state and county officials.
The Commission had long been searching for a site in the Hampstead area, which is popular with both anglers and recreational boaters, said Mark Hamlett, design services chief with the Commission’s Division of Engineering Services. Coastal land is both expensive and scarce, and the closest Commission-managed ramps are in Wrightsville, which is 17 miles away, and the busiest ramp in the state, and Surf City, which is 5 miles away.
“We are certain this site will be popular, and have wanted a boating access in this area for a long time,” Hamlett said. “This is a great example of how partnerships and cooperation can make a project happen.”
The 6.6-acre Hampstead site provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway. It has three launch lanes, along with floating and fixed docks. The gravel lot has about 70 parking spaces, including those for trailered and single vehicles. Pender County purchased the property with a $2.8 million grant from the North Carolina Waterfront Access and Marine Industry (WAMI) fund.
The site was built using the WAMI grant, money from sales of the Coastal Recreational Fishing License and motorboat registration receipts. The Commission also received a $500 grant from the N.C. Public Access Foundation toward construction of the site.