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Garrett Island’s beach is once again open for members of the public to enjoy.

Public access to the one-quarter acre beach was granted last week by the management at the federally owned Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

“Garrett Island has been closed to public access for the last couple of years,” Suzanne Baird, manager of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, said. “Providing access to this quarter-acre piece of beach and some sort of trail in the future are compatible with the purposes of the refuge.”

In addition to opening the beach, Baird said she would like to see an interpretive hiking trail go through the island, as well.

Perryville town officials and residents have been pushing for public access to Garrett Island for some time.

“I think it’s a great beginning,” Commissioner Barbara Brown said, adding that the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has worked with the town to make opening the beach a success. Though located on the lower Eastern Shore, Blackwater, which is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has jurisdiction over Garrett Island.

Although Brown sees this as a great beginning, she said she would still like to see more at the island in the middle of the Susquehanna River.

“I want heritage tourism on that island,” she said. “I think the National Park Service should be the oversight because they are known for that. The fish and wildlife refuge has done a wonderful job, but it’s not part of their mission for that to happen.”

Members of the public can enjoy access to the Garrett Island beach from dawn to dusk year round.

Baird said the beach will be checked periodically by the police from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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