Do Not Set Foot On an Island Where Unexploded Bombs Abound

This should be a simple rule to follow, and yet...

There are safe places to hike, and there are places where hiking is a terrible idea.
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When considering a place to go hiking, there a few factors that should be taken into account. What the terrain might be like is one of them, and whether or not there are any dangerous creatures that call the region home. While it’s less likely, it’s also worth looking into whether or not your planned trip will involve walking on or near unexploded ordinance. That, it goes without saying, is something you should definitely avoid for — hopefully — obvious reasons.

And yet. Turns out the U.S. Marine Corps is currently dealing with a headache on Browns Island, North Carolina. Specifically, they’re dealing with a number of people who see a scenic, uninhabited island and think that it would be a fantastic place to go for a stroll in nature. That’s not a bad impulse at its heart — there’s a lot that’s been written in recent years about the health benefits of forest bathing — but on Browns Island, there’s something that could have troubling effects on a would-be forest bather’s physical health, which is to say: bombs.

As an article in Task & Purpose documents, Browns Island was used by bombers based at Camp LeJeune as a test site to drop various forms of ordinance. This lasted for 50 years, meaning that there are a lot of unexploded bombs still there — one of many reasons the island is off-limits to visitors.

The camp’s head range official, Nick Klaus, told Task & Purpose that the summer is an especially trying time for him. “Every day I get recreational boaters in the summer who pull up there,” Klaus said. The base has posted signs in the waters beside the island and has taken to social media to warn would-be visitors of the dangers that can come from setting foot on Browns Island.

There’s also the matter of a $5,000 fine for people found trespassing on the island. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the idea of wanting to commune with nature — but if you’re ignoring literal signs warning you of danger, you might be missing the point of a relaxing stroll along the beach or through the woods.


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