Lost in Long Neck and sandbars to shoals

Old Barn on Long Neck Road
Old Barn on Long Neck Road after it collapsed.

The old barn on Long Neck road   fell down yesterday and has all but collapsed in on itself.  Many people recognize this barn and it has become an icon of the area.  When they see it, they know they are close to home or almost to their favorite vacation destination.  Friends who have since moved away will have a flood of childhood memories pop up triggered just by seeing pictures of this old structure.  I know people who have partied in that old barn when they were kids and even dreamed of turning it into a house.  When I was working construction with the Rogers family, Rick and I would talk about how cool it would be to convert that old barn into a house, all of the time.  he grew up looking at that barn all of his life.

Old barn on Long Neck road in snow on Jan 8 2103
Old barn on Long Neck road in snow on Jan 8 2013

Old structures like this one are not as common anymore, and are slowly disappearing from our landscapes.  It would be nice to see someone make use of this structure, but I am afraid it is a little too late at this point.  If you have ever wondered what happened to buildings in the past when you see a sign about a historical structure but not a building on the site, this is what happens.  Years of neglect will take their toll on any old structure.  Eventually what we are used to seeing as old and quaint, decays to ruin and disappears into memories of by gone days.

Speaking of the “sands” of time and the Long Neck area.

pot nets seaside, masseys ditch, low wintertide, sandbars, gulls feeding on clams, indian river bay, rehoboth bay, indian river bridge, old inlet,
Exposed sandbar outside of Masseys ditch an hour or so after low tide in front of Pot nets seaside.  This always happens in winter but these areas are getting worse each year.  … photo by Brian Wetherill
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The winter is upon us and the tides are always lower this time of year.  If you decide to go boating you will notice the sandbars are much more exposed around Masseys Landing and other areas.  It is amazing how much of the bottom of the inland bays we can see during the winter time, especially during a blow out tide.  The birds love it as it makes for some easy clamming, but getting around in a boat is a nightmare.  If you do venture out be careful because even at high tide you could find yourself stuck on a sand bar that normally you could float across.  No one wants to get out of a boat in frigid forty degree water and push a boat. I have had the pleasure of that experience in the past and let me tell you it is no fun and seriously detrimental to your health, not to mention pride.  Playing it off that you went clammingis alaways a good counter.  the old … I meant to do that, no really I did.

Propeller damaged by hitting sandbars, dredge the inland bays,  indian riverbay, rehoboth bay, pontoon express, shorts marine,
Propeller damaged by hitting sandbars

Now that we can see these sand bars more pronounced due to winter tides, it just reminds everyone how badly these areas need to be dredged in the inland bays.  I always hear the same response, it is not a commercial waterway and therefore does not warrant dredging.  I disagree with that statement for two reasons.  The first being the fact we are going to allow another chicken processing plant to dump twelve million gallons of waste water into the inland bays every week.  With the waterways clogging from mud, silt, sandbars and shoaling up, the water cannot move in and out as fast, which reduces the dilution abilities and reduces the bays’ ability to change out clean ocean water for polluted bay water.  Secondly, with increasing damage to boats I beg to differ on the commercial interests as well.  I have seen destroyed lower units, water pumps full of sand, and propellers worn down to nothing from sandbars.  Last year a man had a heart attack and died trying to push his Sea Doo off a sandbar, that could have been avoided if there were just buoys marking these sandbars.  Last year we also saw a very expensive, large boat stuck on that sandbar for hours.  Aside from the safety factor, if people keep damaging their boats or no longer can move easily from one bay to the other, than they will stop using our waterways, and we will see a decline economically.  If they can not swim, crab, fish, or clam in clean water they will stop doing that as well.  I would consider that a commercial interest for the entire county on all levels.  An increase in pollutants from “treated” waste water could null and void any clean beach awards we see every year as well.  Masseys Landing is clogged with a large sandbar, and has been horrible the last two plus years. This is just getting worse,  and once that RV park is built around there we will have a massive increase in traffic from boats and cars.  I would think it would be in the best interest of the state to make that area as safe as possible before someone gets hurt or worse.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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