BHA's Wildlife Overlook features two observation decks to allow Bald Head Islanders and visitors the opportunity to glimpse wildlife in action around the lagoon. There is a new waterbird viewing deck with a bench to enjoy watching who flies in to roost above the lagoon. Visitors may even view safely from the platform the alligators, who oversaw the entire construction process and have been nicknamed (from largest to smallest) as Matt, Gordon and Dale, for the master craftsman who built all of the structures (Matt Cross), the architect (Gordon Hall) and the contractor (Dale Giera of Trinity Builders BHI).
Two educational signs are installed at the Wildlife Overlook describing reptiles and waterbirds that can be seen at the lagoon. Additional educational signs, including one honoring the history of the Overlook, will be added, as well as additional vegetation once Duke Energy replaces its transformer equipment in that area later this year. The Wildlife Overlook is open from dawn to dusk, and BHA asks visitors to enjoy this natural habitat respectfully and quietly.
The BHA Board of Directors would like to thank all parties and partners in helping to make the Wildlife Overlook project a success for generations to come, including BHA members, Gordon Hall Architecture, Trinity Builders BHI and the BHI Conservancy. Trinity Builders BHI, who came in $10,000 under budget, contributed an additional $5,000, which BHA will use toward additional features such as plantings, parking, a bike rack, etc.
Damaged by Hurricanes Florence (2018) and Dorian (2019), the Wildlife Overlook was previously closed for safety until a redesign and rebuild was completed. Two improvements were made in October 2023, which included adding parking areas and extending the existing retention wall near the structure to prevent erosion.
The below photos were taken in November 2023 following the completion of two improvements:
The below photos were taken at the September 2021 soft and grand openings:
The below photos were taken on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.
Photo below was taken on Monday, June 14, 2021.
Below are photos taken on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Below are photos taken on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Wildlife Overlook Begins to Take Shape — An update and photos of progress taken Friday, March 12, 2021.
Revised Site Plan ~ reviewed and approved by the BHA Board February 25, 2021.
The Board approved reducing the depth of the reptile viewing platform by 5 feet, lessening its extension over the water. The platform remains in the original footprint. The Board also approved the removal of the marl walkway from the bird-viewing area to the parking area. This redundant walkway will instead be replaced with additional trees/vegetation.
Original Site Plan ~ as shown as approved by the BHA Board March 2020. As with any construction, site conditions may require changes during construction, and details indicated on the plan may not be reflective of the final product.
BHA Special Meeting 5/4/21 on the process used to select the contractor to rebuild the Wildlife Overlook
Request for Proposals June 2020
Island Report Articles:
- January 2020 — Architect Hired
- April 2020 — Wildlife Overlook Takes Shape
- September 2020 — New to BHA? The Wildlife Overlook on Stede Bonnet Wynd
- October 2020 — Wildlife Overlook Update
- December 2020 — Wildlife Overlook Update
- January 2021 — 2021 BHA Annual Assessments
- February 2021 — Wildlife Overlook
- March 2021 — Wildlife Overlook and More
- April 2021 — Wildlife Overlook Begins To Take Shape
- May 2021 — Wildlife Overlook Update
- June 2021 — Wildlife Overlook Progress