Mary Jo Walker doesn’t mind if during an annual fishing tournament at King Fisher Beach on May 25, fewer kids cast their lines over the pier.

There’s sand rather than water below it now.

“They’ll just utilize the beach and kind of go wade fishing,” said Walker, the vice president of the Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce.

She is one of many people hopeful that the recent restoration of the beach will have a trickle-down effect.

The next closest sand beach to Victoria is Rockport Beach, and unlike at King Fisher Beach, the Aransas Navigation District that manages Rockport Beach charges $5 for parking.

Other beaches in the Crossroads include Lighthouse Beach in Port Lavaca and Magnolia Beach. Hurricane Harvey eroded Lighthouse Beach, while Magnolia Beach is more of a shell beach than a sand beach.

Port O’Connor residents have good reason to be hopeful.

America’s beaches have more than twice as many visitors annually (more than 2 billion) as all of America’s national parks, and according to the latest research, they generate $1.3 trillion for the economy.

The new sand at King Fisher Beach comes from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which was dredged off and on for about a year by Army Corps of Engineer contractors. The contractors put 97,000 cubic yards of sand there, said Francisco G. Hamm, a spokesman for the Corps. That’s enough sand to fill three Lincoln Memorial reflecting pools.

Many years ago, the beach’s namesake got the Corps to designate it as a placement area for dredge material. Fisher did Port O’Connor and the county a great service when he did that, said Commissioner Gary Reeves, whose precinct includes Port O’Connor.

“If you go down there anytime during the weekend, that beach is full,” he said.

Jessica Priest reports on the environment and Calhoun County for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at jpriest@vicad.com or 361-580-6521.

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Environment/Investigations Reporter

Jessica Priest has done a little bit of everything since moving to Victoria in 2012. She was a regular fixture in the Crossroads’ historic courthouses, but now slathers on the sunscreen to report on the environment.

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