RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina officials are advising residents about visiting a certain uninhabited coastal island accessible by boat during the Independence Day holiday.

In a news release Friday, state agencies urged “the public to act responsibly” at Masonboro Island during the long holiday weekend.

The island — a research reserve and dedicated state nature preserve — is a very popular party spot for the Fourth of July weekend among vacationers and North Carolina residents.

Several years ago, various July Fourth parties at the island left a tremendous amount of trash behind — and state leaders threatened to enact restrictions for people visiting.

That triggered changes at the island, including coordinated clean-ups after the parties.

In the last year before COVID-19 hit, crews cleaned up about 300 pounds of trash — down from two tons about 10 years earlier, according to WECT.

Officials said this weekend that the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and state officials are “working together to provide public safety resources and increase public awareness of responsible visitor behavior on the island.”

The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management warned people not to try to swim to Masonboro Island.

State officials also reminded visitors Friday of natural resources on the island.

A photo of trash on the island on July 5, 2009. Photo from Masonboro Island Reserve Facebook page, managed by North Carolina Division of Coastal Management.

“Preparedness is key for safety – visitors should carry proper supplies, use reliable transport, pack out all their trash, and keep the safety of other visitors in mind,” the news release said.