MASONBORO ISLAND R eserve s
At 8.4 miles long and 5,653 acres of land and marsh,
Masonboro Island Reserve is the longest undeveloped
preserve land in the state. Marsh and tidal flats comprise
87 percent of the area, the rest is beach uplands and dredge
material islands. It is a barrier island and contains numerous
habitats from soft bottoms to shrub thicket and sand dunes.
It is an important nursery area for mullet, menhaden, spot,
summer flounder and bluefish. MIR is located between
Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach and can only be
reached by watercraft. Primitive camping is allowed for a
maximum of two nights.
NC COASTAL RESERVE
ZEKE’S ISLAND R eserve s
Zeke’s is only 22 miles south of Wilmington and accessible at
the Fort Fisher Recreation Area, or by boat. Atlantic loggerhead
and green sea turtles have been found nesting on the beach; both
are federally protected threatened species. The intertidal flats are
an important shorebird habitat. Species spotted there include
black-bellied plovers, dunlin, short-billed dowitchers, white ibis,
great blue herons, black ducks, pintails and mallards.
BALD HEAD WOODS Reserve s
Located chiefly on Bald Head Island, a boat or the ferry is the best access (or a 17-mile bike ride
or walk from Kure Beach at low tide). No cars are allowed on Bald Head. The 191-acre reserve
includes Bald Head, Middle and Bluff Islands, which are three forested dune ridges separated by
An old tree canopy of pine, laurel and live oak contributes to the rich plant life in the maritime
forest. Thick undergrowth consists of catbrier, yaupon, wild olive and American holly. Shade-toler-ant
plants like ebony spleenwort and cabbage palmetto are plentiful. Dune bluecurls, a mint rare in
North Carolina, can be found along reserve trails.
BIRD ISLAND Reserve s
The famous “Kindred Spirit” mailbox featured in a Nicholas
Sparks book is situated near sand dunes in Bird Island Reserve.
BIR adjoins to Sunset Beach in Brunswick County near the South
Carolina border. It can be accessed by foot. BIR consists of 1,480
acres of land and estuary. It is noted for the nesting of loggerhead sea
turtles and a dune plant called seabeach amaranth; both are listed as
threatened species. Camping is not permitted. The red fox popula-tion
has been notably increasing.
32 june 2022
NC COASTAL RESERVE