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Posted by Rick Civelli | 07.08.2010 | WB Surf Camp News

Masonboro Island – An Amazing Natural Reserve In Our Backyard

Masonboro Island SurfingMasonboro Island – an 8 mile long, 5,000 acre undeveloped preserve off the coast of Wilmington NC, Wrightsville Beach, and Pleasure Island – is a recreational retreat for residents and visitors as well as a habitat for coastal wildlife including black skimmers, least terns, Wilson’s plovers, brown pelicans, loggerhead turtles, green sea turtles, and sea beach amaranth.  The water around Masonboro Island sustains marine life including spot, mullet, flounder, pompano, bluefish, menhaden, and mackerel.  Boaters, kayakers, paddlers, and surfers love to escape to Masonboro Island to avoid crowded beaches on the mainland and explore, camp, hike, play, and just relax.

Surf Camp in Masonboro Island, NCSurf Camp has brought camp participants to explore and clean up Masonboro Island for years and a tour here is part of some of our select local camp curriculums as well as our Sea Turtle Camp curriculum.  We spend time surfing, birding, searching for sea turtle nests, examining tidal pools, and learning about the different aspects of the island.  The island is made up of salt marshes, mud flats, oceanfront beach, dunes, upland shrub thickets, maritime forests, and dredge material islands.   It’s amazing to have such a rich natural preserve so close to home.

Because of the number of visitors to Masonboro Island each season and because there are no trash pickups or state services to the island, Surf Camp makes a point to educate our campers about what activities are allowed on the island and how to minimize our impact when we visit.  Surf Camp founder, Rick Civelli, sat on the board of directors for the Society of Masonboro Island until it was dissolved several years ago. This group raised money to purchase the private land on the island and ensure that it remain public property, accessible now and for future generations.  We truly value the all that the island has to offer.

Unfortunately, Masonboro Island has often been subject to abuse from summer holiday partiers who leave vast amounts of trash to be picked up later by volunteers and the N.C Coastal Reserve, a part of the state’s Division of Coastal Management.  The 4th of July weekend of 2010, however, saw an increase in police presence and volunteers during the partying to help make sure visitors left with their trash and remained safe during their visit.

We hope visitors to Masonboro Island will always remember to be respectful to the island, the wildlife, and the resources right here in our backyard.  As land continues to be developed all around us, Masonboro Island becomes a more and more important connection to our coastal environment and our natural world.