Your comments are wanted on a face lift for Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

The world-renowned Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. [photo courtesy OIFC]

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is nearing the end of its first year under new management, but its aging buildings and infrastructure is long overdue for a face lift. And the public has been invited to offer their input.

The marina at the southern tip of Bodie Island is owned by the National Park Service as a concession of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and is operated by a private company under a 20-year lease that began last December.

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center include a 60-slip marina, seven buildings, approximately 7.4 acres of upland and submerged land, parking lots, and fuel system for vessels and vehicles. The marina is adjacent to the National Park Service public boat ramp and U.S. Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet.

Service already provided by Oregon Inlet Marinas include slip rentals for charter fishing boats, headboats and tour boats; booking services for charter fishing and other boats; retail sales; and food & beverage sales.

The contract also authorizes the operators to provide non-motorized watercraft rentals, such as kayaks and canoes; special events, like fishing tournaments; and even a children’s play area.

But the marina has not been substantially improved or updated in decades. That is about to change.

“The National Park Service and our lessee, Oregon Inlet Marinas, LLC, seek to replace the existing, deteriorating structures with modern, sustainable buildings that are adapted to sea level rise and storm surge, as well as make additional improvements to the premises,” the Park Service announced Wednesday.

The main marina building was built between 1963 and 1964, and all the buildings at the marina are in poor condition and vulnerable to storm surge and sea level rise.

Also noted are the location of the marine fuel docks, which causes traffic congestion and safety hazards, and the existing improved parking areas are inadequate to meet customer, visitor and employee needs.

The changes being considered include replacing buildings with sustainable, energy-efficient, and elevated structures, replace the existing marine fuel pumps with in-slip fueling and a transient fuel dock, and formalize overflow parking area which currently uses the grassy areas between the marina and N.C. 12.

Under the estimated project timeline, project planning and environmental compliance is getting underway. Construction would begin sometime next fall, with completion estimated around early 2022.

Now the public will have a chance to weigh-in on the proposal, and offer suggestions about other issues that the Park Service and Oregon Inlet Marinas should consider.

Comments can be submitted electronically at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/oregon_inlet_fishingcenter by January 10, 2020.

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