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Bear Island

Bear Island, part of Hammocks Beach State Park, is a barrier island 3.5 km long and an average of 600 m wide. It is characterized by an extensive dune system, a pocket maritime forest, and a shrub thicket on the sound side of the island. While it serves a recreational function, most of the island is wild and undisturbed. Most of the animals on Bear Island flew or swam through tidal creeks and marshes to make their home on the island. Fresh water is scarce and only found in a few ponds in the forest between some dunes. Recent hurricanes have had a considerable impact on the oceanfront beach/dune system.

Bogue Inlet at the east end of the island distributes sand into long spits and bars that come and go with seasonal and yearly currents. Brown Inlet to the west is similar.

A photo below shows a fence in the sand. Why would the park rangers use a fence like this?

What types of mammals might live on this island?

What are the limits to how many mammals can live on this island? What happens to the excess?

Click here to view some video clips of Bear Island.

Click on a thumbnail photo to view a full screen image.

beach primary dune primary dune dunes

Bear Inlet dune field dune field beach

fence shrubs ocean marsh

marsh satellite photo

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©1998, Alec M. Bodzin for the Science Junction, NC State University. All rights reserved.

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