Permuda Island Reserve

Natural Features

Permuda Island is a small, narrow island located in the extreme southwestern portion of Onslow County. The component is situated in Stump Sound, landward of Topsail Island. Permuda Island contains 63 acres of upland and is approximately 1.5 miles long. The estuarine waters of Stump Sound protect the island from high-energy ocean wave dynamics.

The island is composed primarily of Holocene and Pleistocene sands with minor amounts of silts and clays. Prehistoric Native Americans exploited marine resources such as oysters, clams, scallops, crabs, and whelks from the waters surrounding the site and left thick deposits of shell refuse. Archaeological evidence indicates the earliest occupation occurred as early as 300 B.C. The earliest identifiable owner may have been John Baptista Ashe. Permuda Island was probably part of a large and poorly defined patent granted to him in 1726.

Above the spring tide limit of the supratidal salt marsh, the shrub thicket community consists of sporadic clumps of stunted trees and shrubs such as live oak, red cedar, yaupon, and silverling. The central portion of the island contains former agriculture fields. Within these old fields are communities of broomsedge, dog fennel, asters, goldenrods, and Mexican tea. Fishes, shrimp, crabs, clams, and oysters utilize the Stump Sound estuary as a nursery ground. Shorebirds frequent local marshes and mudflats. Willets, American oystercatchers, egrets, herons, black skimmers, and sandpipers are common. Upland portions of the island are home to sparrows, warblers, and other songbirds. Mammals found within the site include opossums, raccoons, marsh rabbits, and cotton rats. River otters are occasionally found in marsh and sound areas.

Visiting the Site

Permuda Island may be reached only by shallow-draft boat. Given the presence of thick vegetation, and abundance of snakes and insects, visitors are encouraged to enjoy Permuda from the water. Popular ways to enjoy the site are by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Various public and private boat ramps are found along the sound side of Topsail Island as well as the mainland shoreline.

Be a responsible visitor: check out the reserve rules and policies before your visit. 

Download our site brochure.

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