Photos and Information about Piver's Island, the Rachel Carson Reserve, Shackelford Banks and Fort Macon

Rachel Carson Reserve

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Did you know “Town Marsh,” “Bird Shoal” and that portion of Taylor’s Creek are included on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Beaufort’s Historic District? “The inclusion of this large area of water is needed to protect the waterfront and harbor view of the town.”

As an estuary, the Rachel Carson Reserve is a highly productive and important natural habitat. The Reserve is home to wild horses, marine, animal and plant wildlife, as well as serving as a nesting area for large variety of shore birds, and stop for migratory birds.

The Rachel Carson Reserve is open to the public for fishing, boating, sailing and kayaking—Town Marsh, Carrot Island and Bird Shoal receiving the most use because of their easy access by boat. 
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Town Marsh 
Town Marsh, the dredge-spoil island directly across from 
downtown Beaufort, has a marked self-guided trail.

Bird Shoal
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Carrot Island Boardwalk 
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Photo courtesy Sam Bland
The Carrot Island Boardwalk (directly across Taylor's Creek from the boat ramp on Lennoxville Road—east end of Front Street) is a great way to learn about the estuarine environment and what plants and animals are found at the reserve. Interpretive signs provide a self-guided tour. The platform at the end of the boardwalk is a great place for birding and a view of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. 

Horse Island and Middle Marshes
Great egrets at Middle Marsh rookery
Middle Marshes - Photo courtesy William Martin
Horse Island and Middle Marshes are quite vulnerable to effects of use.
·    Visitors should consider accessing nature trails and sandy beach area to minimize impact on marsh and other vegetative communities.
·    Small groups may use selected areas on a limited basic for interpretive purposes if permission is received from the NCNERR.
·    Research projects must also receive permission.

Areas of the Reserve are heavily utilized as a destination by individuals with private boats. These activities lead to a substantial litter problem—when visiting the reserve, please take your litter with you when you leave.

If necessary to include your dog on a visit to the Reserve, please keep it on a leash at all times. Unleashed dogs tend to chase colonial nesting birds, disrupting feeding, breeding and nesting. Some unleashed dogs also chase horses and disturb other visitors; a few dogs have been kicked by horses (one dog died as a result).
 


Areas off limits to visitors:
·    Horses' watering holes
·    Shorebirds nesting sites
·    Marked Research sites

The North Carolina Coastal Reserve (NCCR) and National Estuarine Research Reserve System--NCNERR--is a network of ten protected sites established for long-term research, education and stewardship. The NCNERR office in Beaufort is located on Piver's Island. Necessary research and monitoring by the NCNERR provides the knowledge needed to maintain the Rachel Carson Reserve not only to preserve the habitats as a whole but to have the reserve there for future generations to enjoy the vistas and waters surrounding Beaufort’s "front yard." 


IMPORTANT REMINDERS
·    Please keep your dog on a leash at all times.
·    When visiting the Reserve, please take your litter with you.
·    For your own safety, please keep your distance from the wild horses; use telephoto lens. 
Photo courtesy William Martin
Rachel Carson Reserve—An Overview