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A couple of weeks ago I read on another fishing board a fisherman was denied access to fish the beach at Fort Story. The Army has allowed beach surf fishing for those who showed a current saltwater fishing license and obtained a base fishing pass at Headquarters of Fort Story. Due to BRAC reallignment, Fort Story was merged with Fort Eustis early last year. In October 2009, the Navy was to take over full operations at Fort Story. The purpose and scope of actions at the base is to stay the same, just the Navy is in control instead of the Army. Most of us know the Navy's policy at there other bases of no civilian access.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Scott Mohr, Public Affairs Officer for the Navy. He said the Navy is currently reviewing their public access procedures for Fort Story. Currently, fishing is not allowed but it is not totally off the table. Public access to the lighthouses and monuments is currently allowed for civilians. I said Virginia Coastal Access Now would like for the Navy to continue with the Army's former public access operating procedures that occured without incident. I asked for continued public access to the two beach fishing locations along with the two freshwater ponds on Fort Story. All Mr. Mohr said was Fort Story has expanded its training right before and after the Navy took over operating control of the base in October 2009.

VCAN saw this coming down the road a couple of years ago and had started a dialogue with Mr. Mohr back then. We even sat down and had a productive meeting with Mr. Mohr at his office. Hopefully, our proactive efforts back then will help us. We need to find out if fishing is not allowed to everyone, or are civilians the only ones losing out again?

Darryl Schmitt, Secretary

Virginia Coastal Access Now

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Scott Mohr called me today to tell me there is currently no civilian access to the base other than to the lighthouses and monuments. Active duty Navy, retired Navy, civilian employees with clearance, etc. are allowed to fish the beach. Military personnel are allowed to bring 2 guests with them to fish. Mr. Mohr stated this is the interim policy, but the policy is still being reviewed. Hopefully, they will allow access to at least the beach area that is in the immediate vicinity of the lighthouses and monuments.

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