Tourist Development Council Director of Administration Jason Cutshaw presented a request to Walton Board of County Commissioners at their regular meeting last week authorize a inter-local agreement with Topsail Hill State Preserve for the third year.

The agreement allows free park entry for those wanting to go to the beach during the summer. The state park then bills the county for the park's use.

The program begins Memorial Day weekend and continues throughout the summer.

"It also raises awareness of the park by bringing in more visitors there," said Cutshaw.

Commissioners approved the motion.

And this year for the first time, commissioners also voted to waive entrance fees to Grayton State Park during the summer and make use of its parking spaces to get more people on the beach.

Topsail has about 100 parking spaces and Grayton has 107, including a boat launch.

The spaces are available for the public every day of the week.

The county's agreement with the parks is for a payment of up to $25,000 to Topsail and $50,000 to Grayton. This covers admission for day-use visitors to the parks from May 29 to Sept. 4, but does not apply to overnight camping.

"Our intent is to provide additional parking and beach access for locals and visitors during the busy summer months," said Cutshaw.