The federation staff in Ocean recently installed street signs at the preserve to prepare for the public opening.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is now offering public access to the North River Wetlands Preserve in Otway.

Access to the preserve is a member benefit. Federation members are allowed access for free and non-members are asked to pay a small fee of $5 per person, per day. The preserve is open from dawn to dusk.

North River Wetlands Preserve is approximately 6,000-acres of farmland that the federation and its multiple partners, members and community volunteers have been working to preserve and restore back to forested, freshwater and tidal wetlands since 1999.

The restored wetlands provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, and over 240 bird species have been recorded at the site. The preserve is great for birding, wildlife spotting, biking and walking. Visitors can often get a glimpse of deer, turtles and snakes. Occasional sightings include bobcats, turkeys, quail, coyotes and river otters.

This wetland restoration project is among the largest project of its kind in the nation. About 2,500 acres of farmland have already been restored to wetlands and another 1,200 acres of existing forested wetlands and marshes have been preserved in perpetuity. Wetland restoration of the remaining 2,100 acres of farmland is ongoing.

Those who are interested must sign the waiver and register online here or at the on-site cash box at the preserve entrance. Visitors will receive a confirmation that must be shown if asked by employees.

The federation offers events at the preserve throughout the year, including a recent birding tour and an upcoming birding tour on June 4. For more information about the preserve, visit For more information about access to the preserve, please contact Rachel Bisesi at 252-393-8185.