Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Several days ago I mentioned Saltwater Connections, a regional initiative aimed at sustaining livelihoods, cultural heritage, and natural resources along North Carolina’s central coast.

One of our hardworking local organizations, Ocracoke Foundation, under the direction of Robin Payne, has partnered with Saltwater Connections to explore the possibility of providing public restrooms in Ocracoke village. Because Ocracoke was not originally a popular tourist destination there was no long term plan to provide services for visitors. Public restrooms have been a concern for a number of years. Several factors have thwarted efforts to provide them -- lack of an appropriate central location, cost of acquiring land, and health and safety regulations to name a few.

We are hoping a solution to this issue can be found. Follow the link below for more information:


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by my Uncle Marvin written in 1954. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102111.htm.


  1. Debbie Leonard6:32 AM

    That is a DEFINITE need on the island! We actually made use of a construction site porta potty once!

  2. Anonymous6:55 AM

    I agree with Debbie. Often, I will walk all the way back to where I'm staying to use the restrooms and that is quite a distance. When I leave my room in the morning, I am headed in every direction.

    Hats off to this worthy project!

  3. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Oh, I forgot to mention....the O.I. Airport Web-cam is out and has been for several days, if not longer. This NC Mainlander surely misses it.

    Anyone know why it's out?

  4. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Well, I love anything that is being done to promote Ocracoke and preserve our lovely little island. Keep up the good work!

    I am curious though: It seems that there are public restrooms on the island. At the north end there are lovely restrooms near the Ferry lanes. In the village there are public restrooms at the NPS visitors center and restrooms right across the road by the Ferry lanes. Then there are "porta potties" at the pony pens, at the life guard beach, and at the airport beach. Where would these restrooms go? As compared to other tourist areas there are lots of opportunities to "go" when "nature calls" on the island.

    Could money be donated to the Ocracoke Fire and Rescue Squad, they could include public restrooms on their new property on Highway 12 and perhaps help them finish acquiring the funding needed to build the new station? Perhaps kill two birds with one stone?

  5. Anon 10:10 -- You are correct. There are public restrooms on Ocracoke, as you note. However, there are currently no very convenient public restrooms in the center of the village. Of course, some businesses provide port potties...and a few have indoor restrooms for customers. One problem that businesses stuggle with is having an adequate septic system that can accomodate heavy usage during the busy tourist season. We are hoping a location (and funding) can be found for centralized public restrooms.

  6. Anonymous1:18 PM

    November 19, 2011 is World Toilet Day. Some public restrooms fail miserably in design . Can you imagine public restrooms on a Pier baking in the Florida sun with small windows and the stalls are so small you feel as if you are in a coffin. See for your self in Cedar Key ---- there are basic guidelines that experts have concluded if you are going to provide a rest room please as a member of the public -- the public service is to take a look at the guidelines. push button sinks to conserve water well how stupid is that a faucet you can barely fit your hands under to properly wash your hands. the towel dispenser on the other side of the room thus creating a slipping hazard of water on the floor. In this day and age of solar panels and sky lights all these wonderful features possible then you have some bored kid set a needed rest room on fire-- that happened at the local park Members of the community working against the good of all it is so frustrating.

  7. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Why don't we turn the whole island into a restroom. I think there is enough here now. Lets name where they are at in the village. The NPS provides excellent restrooms at the visitor's center. There are portable restrooms at numerous businesses. There is a nice facility at the NPS Lifeguard Beach. There is also one at the North end ferry docks and also at the ferry office here in the village too. Also just about every food establishment has one except the carry outs. We should put that money towards something else. Im sure I could think of something.

  8. John B7:20 PM

    There's the national park service facilities. Given that there's few places in the Village that are more than a 5 min walk from there, and the ferry office. it's hard to imagine the need for more.

  9. Debbie Leonard8:46 PM

    No really, when you are over near the lighthouse and shopping or sight-seeing over in that area you really do NOT want to have to walk all the way back over to the NPS office. And not everyone there is staying in a hotel or renting a place...some of us camp.

  10. Anonymous9:05 AM

    some of the comments remind me that there are lots of CAVE dwellers. It seems that whenever someone proposes something that would make visiting the island a more pleasureable experience the CAVE dwellers (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) come out.

  11. Anonymous9:29 AM

    I guess you would call me one of the CAVE dwellers. I certainly am NOT against "everything."

    I just find it hard to believe that this could be a major need. Maybe I am just annoyed that there are perfectly good NPS restrooms and then the state builds another set of restrooms just a tiny distance away by the Ferry lanes.

    I simply propose that there are plenty of places where public restrooms could be added and save some money in the process. How about these: restrooms at the new firehouse on Highway 12? What about restrooms at the fish house right on the harbor? (Isn't that a non-profit/charitable enterprise anyway?) Perhaps these non-profits could benefit from funds coming in to build the restrooms.

    Honestly, I am just tired of "big government." We have decided that Uncle Sam owes us everything. I've been coming to Ocracoke for nearly 40 years. When I had to go, I held it. I'm not against the public restroom idea. I just can't fathom that it is a priority in this time with this economy.

    I'll head back to my "cave" now.

  12. Anonymous9:33 AM

    CAVE guy again here. By the way, I am not against the Ocracoke Foundation. It seems like a wonderful group that has great plans for helping the island benefit from and preserve its past.

    I am sure they will come up with a very intelligent and thoughtful way to provide for the visiting public.

  13. Sundae Horn12:54 PM

    I've been surprised by the comments here that are anti-restrooms.

    It's not a new idea that public restrooms are a need in the village. Shop owners, residents, visitors, Ocracoke Civic and Business, etc. have been talking about it for a long time.

    Asking people who are here spending their hard-earned money to "hold it" seems a bit callous. Some people, the very young come to mind, aren't so good at holding it. When it's 90 degrees out and the streets are crowded with cars, pedestrians, bikes, and golf carts, asking people to fight their way back to their room/cottage, or down to the NPS visitor's center is effectively sending them AWAY from our shops and businesses, and they might not have the time and energy to get back.

    I think adding public restrooms at the new fire hall is a great idea. But we still need facilities right downtown and down point (near the lighthouse).

    Again, the need for restrooms is clear to those of us who live and work here. It has been identified as a major need over and over. There are many worthy projects to work on -- Philip just named one of many needs that the Foundation has decided to address.

    If anyone who's anti-restrooms wants to come here and sit in on hours and hours of public meetings trying to identify the island's needs and brainstorm solutions and start a foundation to set their ideas into action, and get people from all over the island, region, and state to be willing to help, please come on down! Meanwhile, we'll go with the projects the Ocracoke Foundation has identified and started working on.

  14. Anonymous6:46 PM

    On the day of the meeting, there may be some who just don't "get it"--Some suggestions for a speedier solution... 1. Lots of complimentary beverages--2. Large sign-"Sorry Restrooms out of Order--Please HOLD IT IN".

  15. Anonymous9:39 PM

    I don't usually travel to Ocracoke during peak tourist time in the summer, but even during the less hectic months, sometimes the NPS restrooms are busy. Besides young children, there are some adults who, well, let me delicately say, "when you have to go, you have to go!". If that person is past Sam Jones gravesite enjoying the beauty of Springer's Point, I don't think jogging back to some of the inns, hotels, motels or rental cottages will allow sufficient time!

    I hope despite the differences of opinions concerning the public restroom issue, we can all relate.

    I have confidence that whatever solution the Ocracoke Foundation folks decide will be done in a tasteful, efficient and attractive manner.

  16. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Instead of spending time and energy on trying to figure out spots to put extra restroom facilities on why don't we help the State of North Carolina figure out a long term solution to the problem with Highway 12. If that problem is not solved you won't have to worry about people getting here to use those restrooms. That roadway here on the north end and on Hatteras Island is not in good shape, prime example the new inlet on Pea Island. In my opinion this is where a large part of the focus should lie.

    Without a secure and timely axcess to the island none of this other stuff matters especially restrooms.

    Born and Raised

  17. Anonymous6:57 AM

    I have a great idea. Take a prime piece of real estate and put beautiful nice bathroom facilities for visitors on it. Then charge $2 to use the bathroom. Let those that so desperately need to go pay for it. Then other monies can be used to help the island residents.

    Now all of you so excited for bathrooms, are you ready to pay for it with your money?

  18. Anonymous7:30 AM

    $2 is a bargain to me.

  19. Debbie Leonard7:01 PM

    The first thing I did when I visited Germany some years ago was figure out how much it cost to use the public bathrooms!

  20. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Well, there you have it. All these people with small bladders have spoken. They want to pay at least $2 per person to use the bathroom. I read recently where Ocracoke's daily population "grows to more than 10,000 on peak summer days." So, let's say only half need to go potty. That means $10,000 a day for bathrooms. Some of them are so concerned about this need that they are willing to pay even more. With a good promoter the island could probably build affordable housing for the low income, add teachers to the school, add more full time law enforcement officers and upgrade the garbage collection system. All of this paid for by people with small bladders and big pocket books.

    So, how does this get started? All of you so willing to pay, start sending the Ocracoke Foundation donations tomorrow. Mark them, "Public Restroom fund" and put your money where your mouth is. I'll believe it when I see it.

  21. Anonymous2:53 AM

    Wow, a rational er reasonable prudent person would ask themselves if the population swells to 10,000 on a given peak summer tourist day what would be the reasonable Minimum number of necessary public bathrooms be 6 or 8 ?? if the current total is lacking just think if those numbers for the summer were accommodated build it and they will er come You could create an environment that tourists would come 24/7 to your island for some R&R confident all their needs were met. $$$$$ cha ching cha ching cha ching the Blue Ridge Parkway has huge parking lots to serve the leaf lookers. Granted the whim of the public is often distracted by a M-O-U-S-E or a Lego Land count your blessings. Heres a shout out to Cro as in cromagnum

  22. Anonymous7:26 AM

    My late husband wore a catheter due to MS and it was a very good, but necessary convenience as when we were able to go about the island on his scooter or wheelchair sight-seeing, we would have never been able to return to a restroom in time for him.

    I'm not suggesting Ocracoke Island needs to be a huge port-a-potty, but a few more restrooms, located in an appropriate area and tastefully executed, would be a nice addition and most appreciated in peak tourist season.

    I recall one time running back to my room only to find it being cleaned and the housekeeper was in my hotel bathroom. I had to almost throw her out as I didn't have a lot of time to spare, if you know what I mean.

  23. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Yes indeed that is another consideration --ADA ramps wide stalls. Some one could invent a bus/bathroom stalls on wheels the shebang could relocate where needed at a moments notice. Surely with the military leaving Iraq the Defense contractors provided bathrooms -- maybe a reduced cost from an Army navy store could be a starting point to work the problem out. The Military Intelligence Unit has done all the leg work on this subject for all things that Ship High In Transit.