Cape Lookout National Seashore officials have selected a new location in Beaufort, North Carolina, to base a ferry service serving Shackleford Banks and the Cape Lookout area of the national seashore.
However, the new service won't be operating until 2014 as the seashore still has to solicit bids for a concessionaire to run the ferry.
Superintendent Pat Kenney last week announced that the Park Service has selected the Beaufort Front Street site as the departure location for the passenger ferry service from the Beaufort and Morehead City area to the Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout areas of the national seashore.
The Beaufort site was identified as the preferred alternative in the Passenger Ferry Departure Site Environmental Assessment and Assessment of Effect that was released for public comment on March 1, 2011.
The Beaufort Front Street ferry departure site and facilities will be provided under a partnership agreement with the Town of Beaufort. Located at the new Beaufort Town Hall (the former Post Office Building) and Grayden Paul Park, this site will provide park visitors with a single departure gateway experience that integrates directional signage to the ferry, drop-off zones, parking, accessible visitor facilities and vessels, and consistent information about the park.
The ferry service will be provided by a business operator authorized under a long-term contract with the NPS, which will help ensure consistent visitor access to the seashore, and will bring the management of ferry service into conformity with the NPS Concessions Management Act of 1998.
"We are very pleased and grateful to be able to partner with the Town of Beaufort," said Superintendent Kenney." The NPS ferry gateway will integrate well with the Beaufort waterfront, and with the town's help, visitors will be able to expect superlative experiences as they visit the national seashore."
It is anticipated that a request for proposals for the ferry service contract will be released in the spring of 2013, and that the ferry service will operate under contract in 2014.