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

Town Marsh across from downtown Beaufort; Carrot Island to the east

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On his 1733 "New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina," Edward Moseley noted CARROT ISLAND as "Carrot I." John Shackelford's 1734 Last Will & Testament included, "I bequest my estate to my son James and his heirs forever also Island called Carrot." The island may have been named for the shape of the marsh land at the time. 

The 1854 map below recorded "Carrot Island Channel" fronting the downtown waterfront; the channel flowed by the southern portion of Carrot Island Marshes and Horse Island to the North River Channel. 

Before the channel and Taylor's Creek were dredged, Taylor's Creek was a stream between the eastern half of Beaufort and the Carrot Island Marshes (see 1888 map).


A windmill was located on Town Marsh in 1862.   
U.S. Coast Survey of Beaufort Harbor

In 1893 the citizens of Beaufort asked the federal government to build a breakwater on TOWN MARSH to protect the channel along the town's waterfront. The request was denied, but in the early 1900s the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began dredging the mouth of Taylor's Creek, using Town Marsh, Bird Island Shoal and Carrot Island as dredge material deposition areas. The Corps of Engineers continued to utilize the islands as deposition sites for local dredging projects and maintain rights for this purpose today. 

Before the dredging, these islands were essentially all tidal marsh with some elevated hammock land. By the 1930s the islands had been built up by dredge material deposition to the point that they provided some protection from high winds, flooding and storm waves. In 1944, a navy aircraft from Cherry Point crashed on Town Marsh; unfortunately, the pilot did not survive.
1944 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey
Today - TOWN MARSH, the island across Taylor's Creek from the town docks and downtown waterfront, parallels the Beaufort waterfront and extends to incorporate about one third (or the western end) of the original Carrot Island. 

Today - CARROT ISLAND is located across from the eastern half of the Beaufort/Taylor's Creek waterfront. The water between the islands, Deep Creek, is located about half way down Front Street, near Carrot Island Lane.

The 2625-acre Rachel Carson Reserve site consists of several small islands--Carrot Island, Town Marsh, Bird Shoal, Horse Island and Middle Marshes--and extensive salt marshes and intertidial/subtital flats. The reserve contains 67.6 miles of estuarine shoreline, including both sediment bank and marsh.