Celebrate the 45th birthday of the Mountains to Sea Trail

Three family-friendly hikes are planned in Pender County

BURGAW- The Mountains to Sea Trail, which stretches 1,175 miles from Clingman’s Dome to Jockeys Ridge, is 45 years young in September and Pender County partners are joining in the birthday celebration.

“The trail travels the length of Pender County, through two trail towns, Burgaw and Surf City, as well as Moores Creek National Battlefield,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director.

To celebrate the birthday of this beautiful trail, Burgaw Parks and Recreation, Surf City Parks and Recreation, Moores Creek National Battlefield, and Pender County Tourism are hosting family-friendly hikes.

“The hikes range from 1-to-2-mile hikes,” said Proctor.

The MST Birthday Hikes kick off in Pender County with the Surf City Bridge Hike. Hikers will meet in Soundside Park at 9 a.m. on Sept. 8 to cross the Surf City Bridge. The hike will be led by a volunteer from the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail. The hike will feature a “Kodak moment” at the peak of the bridge for a beautiful view of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. Herrings Outdoor Sports has donated an Ice Mule Cooler, valued at $80, which will be raffled off to a lucky winner.

On Sept. 9, the Town of Burgaw will host a birthday hike along the beautiful Osgood Canal Greenway. Hikes will meet at Hankins Park for a 9 a.m. step-off. And what’s a birthday celebration without cake? Cupcakes will be given away by Pender County Tourism staff.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Moores Creek National Battlefield will host a 1.5 mile walk-and-talk that will be dog-friendly. This will entail a walk of the History Trail, Tar Heel Trail, Woodpecker Trail, and Black River Road, all in the park. This is not a guided tour, but rather an informal walk with Jason Howell. Hikers will meet at the park’s Visitor Center by 9 a.m. The planned timeframe is approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour and visitors can walk the loop as many times as they would like.

“All hikes are free to participate,” said Proctor. “We just ask that all hikers register with the tourism office so we can plan appropriately.”

To register, call 910-259-1278.

Where do you want to go? RideMICRO

Pender County residents and visitors have an additional travel option. It’s called RideMICRO. And it is perfect for a resident who needs to get to a doctor’s appointment, college classes, or shopping. It’s perfect for tourists who aren’t certain where they are going, or don’t have a rental car large enough for the multi-generational vacation.

“RideMICRO is a WAVE Transit service,” said Brianna D’Itri, the Mobility Manager at the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority. “RideMICRO functions like an UBER or a taxi, only cheaper.”

Called “MICRO” for short, the service area includes Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties.

“This allows us more connectivity,” said D’Itri.

While MICRO is public transit, it isn’t your grandparents’ city bus or shuttle bus. MICRO uses smaller vans and a Suburban to get riders from point A to point B.

“MICRO is divided into zones,” said D’Itri. “Pender County is Zone 2.”

Riders can book transportation to and from Pender County daily or just for special occasions.

“Some of our riders going to dialysis, or just grocery shopping or to work or school,” said D’Itri, adding that the youngest daily rider is a 14-year-old who attends college classes.

D’itri said passengers use MICRO for a ride to and from the airport, which saves on parking fees and taxi fares. Riders who are shopping downtown or who want a trip to the beach where parking fees apply can save parking fees as well.

“It’s very convenient,” said D’Itri. “There are three ways to book a ride: download the RideMICRO app on your smartphone, complete an online form at our website, or call us toll-free.”

A ride anywhere in the service area is just $2 per person per trip. Riders can pay online with a debit card or pay cash. Children under the age of 4 years old ride free.

RideMICRO also offers wheelchair accessibility. D’Itri recommended that riders concerned about accessibility can call the toll-free number and a service representative will answer concerns.

MICRO is a pilot program, and the WAVE Authority is pleased to have this year to evaluate the needs and wants of their riders. They see expansion and additional service areas in the future.

“Our goal is to service residents’ and visitors’ needs,” said D’Itri.

The RideMICRO app is available on Apple and Android smartphones. The website address to explore the service is https://www.wavetransit.com/ridemicro/ or call for information at the toll-free number 1-844-764-1223.


Pursuant to NCGS 143-318.12: The Pender County Board of Commissioners hereby provides public notice of a Special Meeting of the Board as follows:

Time:              Thursday, August 25, 2022, at 4 p.m.

Place:             BOCC Meeting Room

805 S. Walker Street

Burgaw, NC 28425

Purpose:        The Board will meet to consider the following items:

  • Discussion of legal issues regarding contracts

No other discussion or action will take place.

Please note this is a closed session meeting ITEM 3 Attorney Client.

Posted and distributed this the 23rd of August 2022.


N.C. Forest Service Pender County Ranger, District 8 personnel assume command of Juniper Road Two Fire

HAMPSTEAD – The incident management team that has been engaged in suppression efforts of the Juniper Road Two Fire will begin demobilizing Monday, Aug. 22. The Pender County ranger, with support from N.C. Forest Service District 8 personnel, will assume command of the fire.

Infrared drone flights will be conducted as needed to determine if any hot spots remain. Pender County personnel, along with NCFS aviation assets, will continue daily patrol of the fire area until it has been declared cold. The Juniper Road Two Fire remains 1,226 acres in size and is 90% contained.

The incident management team was comprised of N.C. Forest Service employees from various locations throughout the state who worked in conjunction with Pender County Emergency Management and other state agencies to minimize the fire’s impact on the community.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect for the Juniper Road Two Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.

For information updates, visit https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/sit_report.htm.


N.C. Forest Service demobilizes certain resources with the Juniper Road Two Fire now 79% contained

HAMPSTEAD – N.C. Forest Service has transitioned from a Type 2 incident management team to a Type 3 team with the Juniper Road Two Fire now 79% contained. Some personnel has been demobilized, but adequate resources remain on the scene to fight the fire. Expected rainfall on Friday, Aug. 19, and through the weekend will help crews work in the moisture to extinguish remaining hot spots that have been detected by infrared drones. The Juniper Road Two Fire remains 1,226 acres in size.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect for the Juniper Road Two Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.

For information updates, visit https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/sit_report.htm.

Juniper Road Two Fire in Pender County now 77% contained

HAMPSTEAD – With the Juniper Road Two Fire now 77% contained, the N.C. Forest Service is preparing for the demobilization of some resources. Operations personnel and a more condensed incident management team remain on the scene. The fire is 1,226 acres in size and will continue to be closely monitored by personnel as mop-up operations continue.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect for the Juniper Road Two Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.

For information updates, visit https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/sit_report.htm.

2021 Visitor Impact for Pender County sets another record year

Visitor Spending Increases to $165.29 million

BURGAW — Domestic and international visitors to and within Pender County spent $165.29 million in 2021, an increase of 6 percent from 2020. Pender County Tourism experienced a visitor spending growth rate of 25.4 percent.

The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We are extremely pleased to see another record year in visitor spending,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director. “In 2020 Pender County was one of only 14 counties statewide to see an increase in visitor spending. To see another significant increase only demonstrates how important the tourism industry is to Pender County’s economy.”

According to the data released today, the tourism industry directly employs more than 924 in Pender County. The total payroll generated in Pender County’s tourism industry was $37.1 million.

The state tax revenue generated in Pender County totaled $6 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Approximately $8.9 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and tourism-related businesses. The local taxes generated by tourism in Pender County is significant because it equates to a savings of $243.32 per resident in Pender County.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2021,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association.

Statewide, visitor spending in 2021 rebounded by 44.9 percent to reach $28.9 billion. Following the devastating pandemic-related losses of 2020, the total fell just short of the record $29.22 spent in 2019. Direct tourism employment increased 10.5 percent to 197,500.

“These findings are something that everyone in North Carolina can celebrate,” said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell. “They’re a testament to the resilience of our businesses and our residents, and to the enduring appeal of destinations that include everything a traveler might want. The economic well-being of the state and all its communities rises with the pleasures travelers find in the natural beauty of our public spaces, our culinary traditions and innovation, our remarkable towns, and our spirited cities. North Carolina can claim it all.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • Total spending by domestic and international visitors in North Carolina reached $28.9 billion in 2021.That sum represents a 44.9 percent increase over 2020 expenditures. The figure falls 1 percent below the record $29.22 billion spent in 2019.
  • Domestic travelers spent a record $28.6 billion in 2021. Spending was up 45.2 percent from $19.7 billion in 2020.
  • International travelers spent $337 million in 2021, up 25.6 percent from the previous year.
  • Visitors to North Carolina generated $3.9 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in 2021. The total represents a 29 percent increase from 2020.
  • State tax receipts from visitor spending rose 34 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2021.
  • Local tax receipts grew 26 percent to $1.1 billion.
  • Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased 10.5 percent to 197,500.
  • Direct tourism payroll increased 18.9 percent to $7.7 billion.
  • Visitors spent more than $79 million per day in North Carolina. That spending added $6.4 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.3 million in state taxes and $3.1 million in local taxes).
  • Each North Carolina household saved $580 on average in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state. Savings per capita averaged $222.
  • North Carolina hosted nearly 45 million visitors in 2021.

Pender County Commissioner Jacqueline Newton Completes the 100 Counties Prepared Emergency Preparedness Training for County Commissioners

Mike Sprayberry, Brock Long Among Presenters at Inaugural Training

Cabarrus County, N.C. – Pender County Commissioner Jackie Newton completed the 100 Counties Prepared Emergency Preparedness Training for County Commissioners at the NC Association of County Commissioners’ (NCACC) 115th Annual Conference in Cabarrus County on Aug. 11.

Commissioner Newton attended the inaugural training for this Emergency Services Training for Commissioners which was developed by and the vision of Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams 100 Counties Prepared initiative during his past year as President of the NCACC who saw the need for further training of elected officials in their responsibilities and duties during times of emergency.. “County governments perform a number of important functions, but the stakes are higher during an emergency,” said NCACC Past President Frank Williams.

Commissioner Newton said the state of Pender County’s Emergency Services Management team is strong.

“As a County Commissioner, I have seen first-hand how necessary it is in a time of disaster to have relationships in place with key stakeholders to effect an immediate and productive response to a disaster event,” Newton said. “Pender County is fortunate to be led by our EMS Director Tommy Batson who has shown great leadership in the past and with the EMS team, continues to build the relationships with strategic stakeholders that will affect a positive outcome for our citizens when the next disaster arrives.  This training has strengthened my ability to provide effective leadership assistance to our EMS team and strategic partners at the appropriate time.”

Attendees heard from N.C. Director of Emergency Management Will Ray who gave the keynote address in which he thanked NCACC under the leadership of NCACC President Williams and the “100 Counties Prepared” task force for the important work done on this critical initiative.

“This training course is a vital piece to continuing the sustainment and improvement of emergency preparedness across our state. We know that we will continue to have events and incidents that impact North Carolina that will be across all hazards, and we will need counties’ continued partnership, standing shoulder-to-shoulder together as we continue to serve our communities.”

The Emergency Preparedness Training for Commissioners included:

  • Presentation by Kate Van Tol, N.C. Emergency Management Legal Fellow how reviewed the statutory provisions, roles and responsibilities.
  • A panel discussion regarding the role of Commissioners in the emergency management process led by Commissioner Randy Thompson and Commissioner Ann Keyes, both of whom are retired, county-level emergency managers.
  • Consultant Julie Parker of Julie Parker Communications and Meagan Kascsak, Brunswick County’s Director of Communications spoke on communications during emergency events.
  • Former N.C. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry and former FEMA Director Brock Long led a panel discussion on practical applications and best practices of emergency management.

For more information about the 100 Counties Prepared initiative, please visit www.100countiesprepared.com.

Juniper Road Two Fire still 1,226 acres in size, now 65 percent contained

HAMPSTEAD – Firefighting personnel have held the Juniper Road Two Fire to 1,226 acres in size over the last several days. The wildfire within the Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County is now 65% contained. Crews continue to closely monitor the weather as significant heat continues to linger within the fire area.

As fire containment continues to increase, certain resources assigned to the incident are beginning to demobilize. NCFS has 81 personnel assigned to the incident with an additional low ground pressure track vehicle being ordered to assist in mop-up operations.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect for the Juniper Road Two Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.

For information updates, visit https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/sit_report.htm.


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