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Ghost crabs are some of our most interesting
# _ moio BY BIU. FAVW
criiiers un the beach.
Watch For Crabs On The Beach
BY BILL FAVER
Almost every one of us has seen the familiar ghost
crabs as they scurry about on the upper bcach. These
interesting critters arc just one. of
the several crab species we find in
the seashore environment. Our
crabs range from the bug-like
mole crab we use sometimes for
fish bait up to the large blue crab
we find so delicious as a delicacy
on our tables. In between arc spi
der crabs and calico crabs that
have been found washed up on the
bcach and others we seldom see.
Some years ago 1 watched
some ghost crabs in early evening as they scampered
across the sand. At any sign of danger, such as a bird
overhead or someone approaching, they would dive
into the nearest hole for safety. At one such hole,
which was already occupied, there was a scuffle and
the resident chased the intruder away. There was a
moment of pause as if the intruder was reflecting on
what had happened. Then in a deliberate move, this
crab grabbed up a claw full of sand, moved to the
hole, threw it in, and fled!
These ghost crabs begin their life in the sea and
move up on the sandy bcach as they mature. They live
like land animals, but must return to the sea to wet
their gills once in a while. We see them on cloudy,
overcast days and at night when they are out foraging
for food. They seal off their burrows during the day
and toward the end of October or sometime in
November, they move up on the bcach beyond the
tide and settle back for the winter to emerge in March
We can catch blue crabs in the canals and the wa
terway during the late spring and summer months. All
it takes is a piece of line with some bait (fish head or
chicken neck) and a dip net and a lot of quiet and pa
tience. But the rewards arc worth it for some good,
tasty crab meat!
Watch for crabs along the bcach. See how they
live and try to appreciate them as a part of the
seashore environment. We share their space when we
arc at the bcach and we need to respect their right to
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Located in Golf Plaza
Hwy. 1 79, Calabash
(next to Putt-Putt Golf)
eiWI THE BHUNSVMCX BEACON
State, Property Owners Continuing
To Resolve Submerged Land Claims
BY SUSAN USHKR
Only a lilllc more than 100 so
called "205" claims from Bruns
wick County are still to be resolved
through the state's submerged land
Ninety-one original remaining
claims have evolved into 128 cur
rent claims as a result of some of
the property involved being subdi
vided and sold, said P.A. "Ski"
Wojciechowski, director of the
siaie.'s submerged land claims office
in Morchcad City.
Of thtf more than 10,000 so
called "205" claims filed statewide,
851 originated in Brunswick Coun
ty. The claims were dubbed "205s"
because they were filed under G.S.
115-205, which set out guidelines
for asserting private claims to areas
that otherwise could be considered
areas of public trust.
The original claims were filed
prior to Jan. 1, 1970, by individuals
seeking to prove ownership of sub
merged lands. Most of the claims
have sincc been either dismissed or
Most claims based on early grants
from King Charles to the Lords
Proprietors or grants from early gov
ernors of uic state nave been de
clared null and void, along with oth
er claims of grant of fee simple.
Fee refers to exclusive ownership
and control; the state has not recog
nized any fee simple claims, ac
cording to Allen Jemigan, an assis
tant attorney general serving as le
gal advisor for the project.
It has recognized some lesser
claims, such as perpetual franchises
where an unbroken chain of title is
Under a three- year extension gran
ted by the N.C. General Assembly in
1990, the state has until Dec. 31,
1994, to resolve remaining claims.
After that, the affected p.opcrty own
ers have until Dec. 31, 1997, to file
lawsuits challenging the state's rul
"The problem is there arc so
many claims," said Jcrnigan. "It has
been complicated because the pace
of development on the coast has
For example, he said, an original
claim may have been Hied for a sin
gle 50-dcre tract. Since then, it may
have been subdivided and sold in
one-acre lots to 50 different individ
uals. His officc has had to track
down each owner.
"We have to trace the title for
ward from whomever claimed it,"
said Jernigan. "The state has a poli
cy of contacting every person who
may have an interest in a claim."
However, in Brunswick County,
said Wojcicchowski, the remaining
lands "hadn't changed hands a
whole lot," making the state's task
easier here than in some places
along the coast. "Brunswick County
is going very well."
"We've taken care of three or
four subdivisions," he said. While
the original owner may have claim
ed lands below the high water mark,
the majority of the subdivided lots
were subsequently deeded out only
to the high water mark.
Brian Chcsscr is researching the
Brunswick County claims, working
out of the regional submerged land
claims office in Wilmington.
The original Brunswick claims
were whittled in half almost imme
diately once review began. They in
cluded 359 related to non-sub
merged lands and therefore not
coming under the law. Another 170
related to fee simple claims to ripar
ian rights, deeds to open water and
to lands lost to erosion. These were
dismissed early on.
Since that lime, additional legisla
tion and one court case have further
clarified the status of submerged
Legislation adopted in 1985 settled
approximately 27 percent of the cas
es ? those dealing with areas above
the high water mark. These included
raised lands crcalcd by private means
under the Coastal Area Management
Act, tlie Dredge and Fill Act and
tracts conveyed by deeds from the
State Board of Education.
North Carolina does not recog
nize claims of grant of fee simple ti
tle ? those giving exclusive owner
ship and control ? of land that lies
under navigable waters. That posi
tion was upheld by the N.C. Su
preme Court in a 1989 test ease in
In that case the court ruled that a
person could not claim submerged
property by prescription, that is,
continuous private use while cx
eluding the public. It reaffirmed that
the state has no right to grant sub
merged lands, including lands be
tween the high water and low water
marks, to private individuals, and
declared such grants null and void.
It upheld, however, that the state
could grant rights less than fee sim
ple, such as perpetual franchises for
shellfish cultivation and harvest.
Of the remainer, the state dis
missed 14 claims to ownership of
bottom ? that is, land below open
navigable waters held in trust by the
state for public uses.
Of the other iocai claims icinaiii
ing after the 1985 legislation, the
state recognized three deeds execut
ed by the State Board of Education
for lands in the Southport area. It
denied 30 claims to land lying be
tween the high and low water marks
as well as 30 claims to marshlands
claimed on the basis of by some
thing other than a Board of Educa
Fifty-one claims were dismissed
because the office determined they
were not submerged, while another
14 were denied that were "open wa
ter" type fee simple claims not rec
ognized by the state.
Seven suiLs have been filed thus
far relating to state action on sub
merged land claims, none of them
in Brunswick County.
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What you're probably not enjoying is
having to pay extra for it every time
your checking balance tails below
the required minimum. Most banks
currently charge for each ATM trans
action. Some as much as 30$ . That
can really add up.
But United Carolina Bank doesn't
lake most banks. I'CB normally charges
lis customers a fee (or use of ATMs outside
the ucb24 network
?I?W1 United Carolina Bank
think you should have to pay i
convenience. That's why of the
st banks in North Carolina, UCB
is the only bank with no ATM charges.
None. It doesn't matter what type of
checking account our Customers have
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checking to Diamond Banking? UCB
Customers use ucb24 machines
Free use of our ATMs Another way
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Please stop by any UCB office or call 754-4301 .