Bertie welcomes boat ramp

Published 11:22 am Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WINDSOR – At the monthly meeting of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners here Monday, Commissioners Rick Harrell and John Trent jointly announced during comments that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is in the process of acquiring land for a new boating access area and pier to be built on Weeping Mary Road near Lewiston.

The proposed site is a tract of land, approximately 3.5 acres on the Roanoke River near the Bertie-HalifaxCounty line.

It will also be the first public boating access area on the Bertie side of the Roanoke.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about and working on for over a year,” said Harrell in a telephone interview. “We sent a letter requesting it to the NCWRC because the public has expressed a need for one.

“I think it’s wonderful that this will serve not only the hunters and fishermen, but also the kayakers and nature lovers,” Harrell added. “It opens up a whole new world for local sportsmen.”

Because the area is in his district, Trent gave credit to Lewiston resident Candy Lee who worked with both he and the NCWRC on finding a site.

“Mrs. Lee and I have been meeting on this for some time,” Trent said.  “We told Raleigh you’ve done it for Halifax and for Martin (counties), now we’d like to see one come to Bertie.

“We considered sites off Blackjack Road near Kelford as well as the public game lands around Griffins QT Road near the Perdue plant,” he added.

Trent also wanted to make it clear that currently there is a purchase agreement in place; but no one has closed on the property as yet.

“We’ve had a lot of activity on this,” confirmed Christian Waters, Fishing Program Manager for the Inland Fisheries Division of the NCWRC. “Local anglers have been working with us on this one for two years.”

Waters said the facility will have a double boat ramp access area and a T-shaped fishing pier running parallel to the shore. It will also be universally accessible for those who may be physically challenged.

“You’ll be able to walk from the parking lot right up to the pier,” Waters said.

The parking area can accommodate 25 boat trailers as well as vehicle parking for the fishing pier.

“We have the design in place,” said Waters. “But there is still some survey work to be done.”

The purchase was approved by the NCWRC Board of Directors’ Office of State Property back on August 29, according to Waters. Once approved, the Fisheries Division was then able to move forward.

The land sale, being made by a Bertie resident, should be completed in about four months; after which the North Carolina Council of State will meet, give its expected approval, and construction will begin.

“Because there are a lot of wetlands on the river it was difficult to find the right area,” said Waters, who added the final site was the fourth or fifth that the state considered. “Some sites we looked at were just not developable, and this was the first site we saw that had promise.

“We were looking for an area where you could fish from the river bank as well as from the pier, and one that was also large enough to accommodate boat access,” he reasoned.

Bertie County Manager Scott Sauer said there will be a lot of potential for expansion in the area once the site is completed.

“It will create an opportunity for a camp ground,” Sauer said. “It also will create a significant economic opportunity for Lewiston.”