Shell Island is known for its beautiful beaches and picture perfect sunsets, but the community surrounding it is now worried about the public’s access to those beaches.
DEP officials presented final plans to redesign the park’s entrance, designate a wilderness preserve and add new landscaping and public restrooms, during a public state park advisory board meeting Thursday morning.
However, the group called Friends of Shell Island, which was created to protect access to the island, isn’t buying what the board is selling. Group member Stephanie Sommerset says the new regulations are not fair.
“They are saying they can regulate into the water, but they haven’t justified a need for it,” said Sommerset. “This could eventually take away our access to the Island.”
Park Advisory member, Julie Wraithmell, says the new regulations will, in part, help protect shore birds. She and other members tried to calm people’s fears and assure them that their access to the island will not be limited.
“The plan is very moderate, and it doesn’t restrict access, and it does not extend the park’s authority,” said Wraithmell.
The plan will now be finalized and sent to the Acquisition and Restoration Council, which serves as the body that approves all land management plans by the governor and cabinet.