Boardwalk and Trail

The goal of pedestrian access to Eagles Island can be realized through development of boardwalks, trails, and shelters in the 79-acre parcel currently owned by the New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation District, located directly across Highway 74 from the USS North Carolina Battleship Museum. This recommendation connects to the paddle trail system described in Project One, and provides the first pedestrian public access to Eagles Island Nature Park’s recreational facilities. Construction of a small- to mid-sized parking lot in the existing disturbed areas and higher ground within the highway right-of-way can provide easy public access while minimizing visual and ecological disturbance in the marsh. The right-of-way can also accommodate an access road to a kayak launch and rental facility with access to Alligator Creek and the property’s human-made pond. Observation decks located at either end of the pond provide expansive views across the island and opportunities for site interpretation, wildlife viewing and photography. While boardwalks are required for access to the marsh and pond, a natural-surface trail constructed on the higher ground of dredge spoils lets visitors experience the forested conditions along the water’s edge.

Upgrades to the intersection of Highway 74 and USS North Carolina Road are necessary to facilitate safe vehicular access and pedestrian travel between the nature park and the Battleship Museum. Discussions with Battleship stakeholders and NCDOT should include: i) installation of traffic lights (including left-turn signals) at the intersection; ii) turn-lane improvements; iii) pedestrian crosswalk; iv) visibility enhancement; and v) sidewalk or off-road pedestrian path along USS North Carolina Road. These enhancements will greatly improve safety at a challenging intersection.