Program for Local Governments
"Public purposes would be served by
providing increased access to ocean beaches, public parking facilities or other related
public uses." -- Coastal Area Management Act
The Division of Coastal Management awards about $1 million a year in
matching grants to local governments for projects to improve pedestrian access to the
state's beaches and waterways. Funding for the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access
Program comes from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
Local governments may use access grants to construct low-cost public access facilities,
including parking areas, restrooms, dune crossovers and piers. Projects range in size from
small, local access areas to regional access sites with amenities such as large parking
lots, bathrooms and picnic shelters. Towns and counties also may use the grants to replace
aging access facilities. In addition, local governments can use the funds to help acquire
land for access sites or to revitalize urban waterfronts.
The N.C. General Assembly established the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access
Program in 1981 by amending CAMA to provide the matching grants to local governments for
oceanfront beach access areas. In 1983, the legislature expanded the program to include
estuarine beaches and waterways.
coastal population has increased, traditional accessways have been developed for private
use, leading to a greater demand for additional public access sites. While most of the
early projects were located along the oceanfront, more and more are now designed to
improve access to estuarine shorelines, coastal rivers and urban waterfronts.
More than 280 access sites have been constructed since the program began. Local
governments are responsible for construction, operation and long-term maintenance of their
Looking for a CAMA access site? Look for the blue and orange sign. For more information
about access site locations or for information about public access grants and your
community, call the Division of Coastal Management.