The Cape Fear Chapter has the attention of the local press with their Save Beach Access 33 campaign. Now they are hoping to broker a deal with the adjacent land owners to re-open this access to Wrightsville Beach that the public has been using for over 40 years.
“Save Beach Access 33” - campaign gaining ground
by Crystal Walton
Thursday, March 22, 2007
More than 900 signatures collected for online petition (http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/beachaccess_33)
The Cape Fear chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is gaining ground on a campaign they have dubbed “Save Beach Access 33”.
Beach Access No. 33 was closed in October, after it was determined to be private property, owned by the Murchison family. The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen then voted 3-2 to abandon any of the town's easement rights or future claim to the real estate last November.
Since then, a grassroots effort by Surfriders has been undertaken and a Web site, www.access33.org, has been launched. The Web site includes an online petition, which has garnered more than 900 signatures. “We plan on keeping the site up until Beach Access 33 is reopened,” said Sean Ahlum, co-chair of the chapter. “We have signatures from all over the world.”
Access No. 33 is between the Blockade Runner Beach Resort on the north and the historic Gornto/Murchison cottage to the south. Ahlum said the group is attempting to work with both owners of the Blockade Runner and the Murchison family to ensure access on that part of the beach. “There are some options out there,” he said, citing tax benefits for land donation.
The Murchisons have maintained that they gave the town adequate notice of the change, after they learned of it during a property conveyance. The Murchison family will now be paying taxes on the property. Town manager Bob Simpson said the town is out of the issue at this point.
The closest beach accesses are three-tenths of a mile in both directions, at Taylor Street, near the Carolina Yacht Club, to the south, and at Arrindale Street to the north. The town voted earlier this year to add a new lifeguard stand in front of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, even though public beach access has been diminished for three-tenths of a mile with the closing of Beach Access No. 33.