- Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:55
- Written by Super User
The Town of Carolina Beach used their mechanical beach rake to clean the beach near the Boardwalk and within Freeman Park last week following the Labor Day holiday weekend. They received permission earlier this year. from the State of North Carolina and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the rake more frequently.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach utilized their mechanical beach rake and tractor to clean the beach following the Labor Day holiday weekend.
This is the first time the Town has been able to clean the beach following a major holiday weekend.
On Thursday September 5th, the Town cleaned an area near the downtown Boardwalk and within Freeman Park at the northern end of the Island.
The Town of Carolina received positive news earlier this year from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They can now use their mechanical beach rake on a more frequent schedule to clean the beach of litter and debris. For the area between Harper Avenue south to Hamlet Avenue (along the boardwalk) the Town can use the rake after major holiday weekends (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day) and the Town's beach music festival. Raking could occur for two consecutive days if needed. For Freeman Park, raking is permitted during the sea turtle nesting season (May 1 to November 15) each year and limited to one day a month, plus two consecutive days after each major holiday (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day) as needed.
The Town Council voted to purchase the beach rake in September of 2004. The plan was to use a four-wheel drive John Deere 5520 tractor to pull the rake to smooth the sand on the beachfront each morning while picking up trash and other debris such as cigarette buts. The tractor was purchased from Wilmington Lawn & Leisure at a cost of $27,167.00. The Barber HD600 Surf Rake was purchased from the manufacturer (Barber) at a cost of $39,740.00 by "piggy backing" on bids to Myrtle Beach, SC, and Hampton, VA.
Following the purchases, the Town was informed by he North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources they would not permit regular operation of the beach rake and tractor due to the possibility of harming sea turtle nests and shore birds. The Town hoped to sell the rake to Myrtle Beach, SC for $39,740.00 - the same amount it paid for the equipment, but Myrtle Beach turned down the offer.
In 2006 the Town met with representatives from NC Fish and Wildlife and still the Town was only allowed to use the rake twice a year outside of turtle nesting season from November to April. Turtle nesting takes place during the late spring, summer and early fall months. The Town had a state permit to use the rake twice a year which was due to expire in December 2014.
Due to increasing numbers of visitors resulting in trash on the beach, particularly in Freeman Park on the North End of the Island, the Town requested to use the rake once a week in Freeman Park and in an area of the beach in the downtown district.
Freeman Park permits four-wheel drive access to the beachfront for a daily or annual fee. Camping is permitted in certain areas. In 2012 over 8,000 annual passes and 18,500 daily passes were sold with a monthly average of 2,200 vehicles entering the park. For the July 4th weekend, over 3,500 vehicles used the park. The Town picks up trashcans but using the beach rake would allow capturing of smaller items like cigarette butts, bottle caps, etc.