WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The group that fought against plans for a megaport in Southport is planning for what's next in its efforts to protect and preserve the lower Cape Fear River.
Leaders of Save the Cape recently opened a new office on Howe Street in Southport.
The group worked to stop plans for an international container port in Southport.
The project is now off the table but Toby Bronstein and Mike Rice, Save the Cape's founders, said it won't be officially dead until the land there is no longer owned by the state ports authority.
That's why Save the Cape plans to lobby Brunswick County commissioners to get the 600 acres planned for the port rezoned, a move that would prevent heavy industry from coming to the area.
Then, Bronstein said they want to see 200 acres become designated as what is called a "National Seashore" by the National Park Service so the area can be better protected and preserved.
"We wanted to go beyond stopping the port and to a place where the unique treasures of this area would be preserved conserved and protected for generations to come," Bronstein said. "A 1957 and 1968 National Parks study recommended that this area be declared a national monument. Back then in ‘57 and ‘68, they saw and recognized the uniqueness of this area - so we are just picking up the ball 45 years later."
Bronstein said they have several ideas of what can be done with the 400 other acres that can't be designated as national park land.
Given that the movie Save Haven filmed in Southport earlier this year, she suggested making the land back lots for film studios or building a vocational school there for high school grads to learn trades.
Bronstein said they plan to meet with commissioners early next year to begin efforts to preserve the land.
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