You’re probably thinking of Lea-Hutaff Island, two interconnected, undeveloped barrier islands off the coast in Pender County.
Lea Island and Hutaff Island used to be separate entities but have been a single land mass since Old Topsail Inlet closed in 1998. They are accessible only by boat.
The islands lie on the spring and/or fall migration paths of more than two dozen species of shore birds and support larger colonies of terns and skimmers. Loggerhead turtles nest on the beaches.
In 2010, Audubon North Carolina purchased 36 acres of Lea Island for an undisclosed sum. The N.C. Coastal Land Trust has been buying up lots on Lea Island since 2000 and has so far protected more than 28 acres. Hutaff Island remains in private ownership by members of the Hutaff family, for which it is named.
Just one dwelling sits on each island, or former island. Parts of Lea Island were once subdivided for development, but it seems increasingly likely Lea-Hutaff will remain (as Audubon North Carolina calls it) “one of North Carolina’s few undisturbed and relatively pristine barrier islands.”
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Date posted: July 15, 2011
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