RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Officials at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are asking people to stay off Browns Island. Potential dangers have made the area off limits to visitors.
Base officials said creeks and tributaries leading to and around Browns Island are also off limits due to frequent live-fire training exercises conducted in the area and the presence of dangerous unexploded ordnance.
“Over the years, there have been thousands of live rounds of ammunition aimed at this area,” said Nicholas Klaus, range control officer, MCB Camp Lejeune. “It may look like just a piece of rusty metal, but it could be an unexploded bomb. If you shift it the wrong way or it just decides now is the time to go off, it could destroy your boat or even cause serious injuries or death.”
Officials said Browns Island has served as a target area and still contains unexploded ordnance which are dangerous to anchoring boaters or individuals traveling on the island. Neither of these activities are allowed in the creeks and tributaries leading to and around Browns Island.
There are currently warning signs around the island and waterways identify the area as off-limits. Still, officials said people continue to endanger their lives by ignoring posted warnings.
“Being on this area is far too hazardous for civilians to be on. It’s even dangerous for us to be out here and we have several years of experience in the explosive ordnance disposal community,” said Capt. William Mueller, explosive ordnance disposal technician, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit, Marine Corps Installations East-MCB Camp Lejeune.
Military Police and the U.S. Coast Guard continue to regularly patrol the area and issue citations to trespassers. Anyone ticketed is required to appear before the federal magistrate in Wilmington. Violators can be imprisoned up to six months and fined a maximum of $5,000.
Click here for Browns Island policies.