Things that will never happen but should: Banning smoking on North Carolina beaches.

Carolina Beach to ban smoking?

Carolina Beach in North Carolina implementing a smoking ban. In case anyone’s forgotten, this is North Carolina, where the only thing more heralded than tobacco is pulled pork. Michael Jordan is in there somewhere too.

I’ve been to this beach. It is known for crap waves, keg-in-tent camping, four-wheeling and rebel flags, only two of which I tend to eschew. In this era of new sagebrush rebellions and the Tar Heel State’s presence on the swing-state list, there is little chance this measure will pass. A local states his position thusly:

Don Mcata of Canal Drive said he moved here a year and a half ago and he chose Carolina Beach over other coastal towns because of the unique character of the Town. He said America was founded on tobacco cash crops and North Carolina historically depended on it as a major cash crop throughout history. 

He said, “I’m getting a little tired of being told from year to year what my town or state can tell me what to do or what not to do as a tax paying adult. I’ve never been in trouble with the law and my daughter is in Afghanistan right now with the Marines.”

He asked, “What’s next?” and “Where does it stop.”

He said, “Many of our ordinances are not being enforced. There are still dogs” running on the beach when the Town prohibits it.”

Yes on smoking, no on dogs. Huh.






Environmental issues may arise over Bonner Bridge impact on Pea Island

Oregon Inlet's Bonner Bridge

Don't Pea on the Parade

After far too many years of what most will deem political grand standing, the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet in the Outer Banks has been approved for replacement. The impressive span connects Hatteras Island and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and serves as the primary gateway to the heart of the barrier island chain that outlines North Carolina.

Environmental groups have started to speak up in opposition to the proposed replacement plan because of its potential impact to the refuge during construction, which calls for a parallel bridge to be built while the original remains in use. The second bridge would best serve the region as a bypass around the refuge, opponents say. Well, sure. It just costs $1 billion instead of $300 million. So there’s that.

I can understand the doubt some groups have that the mirroring bridge will remain within the current right of way but Pea Island already benefits from very little tourist visitation outside those cruising by on Highway 12, as it’s access points are already naturally limited. Most tourists blow right by the sign in a beeline for their rental home down 12 into Rodanthe. Same with the surfers. In other words, it’s not like the new bridge is going to turn Pea Island into Disney Land. Additionally, to what extent would the alternative solution allow access to Pea Island for those who do choose to visit it?

I remain mixed on that portion of the debate. I think more needs to come to light before any real stand can be taken. Let’s get some plans in the books first.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail has first round trip bagger

Scot Ward on Clingman's Dome. Photo from The News & Observer, courtesy of Eddie Ward

Scot Ward completed the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina. Twice.

The trail runs from the Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, that little place in the Outer Banks famous for some sort of first flight or something.

Mr. Ward documented his travels in detail in his just published book, “The Thru-Hiker’s Manual for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail of North Carolina.” You can buy the book and learn more about Scot and this seriously awesome accomplishment at his Web site,

You can learn more about the trail and how to support it either through donations or trail building days at its official Web site, located here.

And, to get out on the Falls Lake section of the trail, which is in North Raleigh, there’s a trail run scheduled in April.