Officials celebrate completion of Manns Harbor Access Area

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
3-B-section-Nor'eastern-News-Manns-Harbor-picSpecial to Nor’eastern News

DARE COUNTY – State and local officials gathered at the foot of the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge in Dare County Friday, Feb. 13, to celebrate the completion of the final phase of the Manns Harbor Boating Access Area project.

This multi-use facility provides both commercial and recreational access to Croatan Sound, as well as green space suitable for picnicking, wildlife viewing and launching canoes and kayaks. The final phase of the project, construction of commercial storage and docking facilities, was completed in September, and reflects many layers of collaboration between state and local agencies

“The resounding and unique success of this project is a tribute to the dedication of private citizens, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and local and state governments working together with common purpose to ensure that all North Carolinians can access and enjoy our public trust waters,” said Gordon Myers, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s executive director.


The commercial portion of the boating access area consists of 300 feet of renovated bulkhead and shoreline docks, a new loading platform dock and a large gravel parking and storage area.

The first phase of the project, construction of recreational boating access, was completed in December 2012. It included three new boat ramps, two new floating docks, 300 feet of renovated bulkhead and shoreline docks and a gravel parking lot with 49 vehicle/trailer spaces and seven single car spaces.

“The Manns Harbor project was a great opportunity to marry the needs of both the recreational and commercial communities, and I am proud to see it completed,” said Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “The improved access for recreational fishermen and the critical access supplied for the commercial industry will, hopefully, return Manns Harbor to its historical place as a vibrant, fishing community.”

The entire project resulted from a grass-roots effort by Dare County residents to purchase and restore an old marina that was once highly used as a working waterfront.

“Dare County is thrilled with the transformation of the Manns Harbor Marina into a first class facility that will provide much needed access and serve the needs of our commercial and recreational fishermen,” said Robert L. “Bob” Woodard, Sr, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. 

The state purchased the 13.45-acre tract, off U.S. 64, in April 2009 with a $4 million grant from the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund, administered by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, and $335,000 from a Public Access Grant, administered by the Division of Coastal Management. The Division of Marine Fisheries provided another $40,000 from the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund and a $20,000 Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grant for improvements on the site.

The Wildlife Commission contributed $1.3 million, with $360,000 coming from the Sport Fish Restoration Program and the remaining balance from wildlife receipts. The entire facility complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.