By Mimi McKee // Photos by Matthew McKee
A 350-foot long fishing pier will be completed at Smyrna Dunes Park in time for Memorial Day weekend! The pier stretches into water depths of 18 feet giving fisherman access to a variety of marine wildlife. Features include concrete pilings, two large shade structures, multiple benches and a handrail designed for handicapped-accessible fishing.
“It could open sooner. We are putting on the finishing touches now,” stated Jessica Winterwerp, Volusia Coastal Division Director. Last year, the Volusia County Council approved a $5 million budget to replace the 35-year-old boardwalk and construction of the new pier. The fishing pier is funded by a “find grant” and the port and inlet tax district. The tax district also helps fund operations at the park.
Currently, visitors can observe the impressive construction, which required special permits from the National Marine Fisheries. The material of the pier is MoistureShield, a composite deckboard. The pier faces west along the intracoastal waterway and runs parallel to the shore, ending just before the United States Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon.
To access the pier, visitors can use the sand path by the far parking lot that leads to the pet-friendly beach at Smyrna Dunes Park. Visitors may also follow the main boardwalk next to the covered picnic pavilion then exit at the first ramp.
“We will be paving a portion of the sand path so the boardwalk leading to the fishing pier is connected with the rest of the park,” explained Winterwerp. “We have to be able to access in case of emergency.”
The improvements to the two-mile, elevated boardwalk include widening to eight feet, multiple observation platforms, shaded picnic pavilions with benches, and handicapped-accessible walkways leading to the inlet, river and ocean beaches. The boardwalk decking and handrail cap will be constructed with composite lumber made with recycled plastic materials.
“Our planning took into consideration ‘the hike’ to surf the jetty,” stated Winterwerp. “Surfers do not have to worry. There will always be a route to the inlet open.”
Temporary pedestrian detours onto natural trails around boardwalk construction areas will be established and marked to maintain public access along the boardwalk route throughout the park. Boardwalk demolition and construction will take place in phases and renovated boardwalk sections will be re-opened for access as soon as possible.
Renovations will begin June 2017 and are slated for completion by summer 2018.
Fishing is allowed throughout the park, however there are no floating docks at the pier available for boats to tie up. Dogs will not be allowed on the pier, but the beaches will remain pet-friendly (on-leash) throughout the park.