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What’s up with that parking meter and fake palm tree in the water at Wrightsville Beach?

Judy Royal

If you’ve been boating around Wrightsville Beach or visited any of the homes along Lee’s Cut, you’ve probably done a double-take at the area northeast of the boat ramp. That can’t really be a parking meter over there by that fake palm tree, can it? Actually, yes, it can be and it is.

Beach legend has it that no one knows exactly who is responsible for sandbar known as “The Diminishing Republic,” but that it was meant to be a humorous stab at the climbing parking rates for visitors to the coastal town. The landmarks emerged in early 2000, according to a historical timeline compiled by Wrightsville Beach Magazine. Townspeople claim it is maintained by a “secret society of locals” who surreptitiously show up when the treetop needs replacing. Boaters often anchor there on either side of the low tide to temporarily inhabit the island, which slowly disappears as the water begins rising toward high tide.

Click here for a photo album of some boaters enjoying the island in 2004.


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