The Battle Over a North Carolina Beach Continues

The Battle Over a North Carolina Beach Continues

On Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a revolutionary management plan is finally putting embattled sea turtles and birds on near-equal footing with ORV drivers. But powerful interests are working hard to undo it.

By Ted Williams/Photography by Emiliano Granado
Published: September-October 2012
Magazine Category

Author Profile

Ted Williams

Ted Williams is freelance writer.

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


LOL. Well this is certainly

LOL. Well this is certainly the pot calling the kettle black. OF COURSE THEY ARE. And this is also exactly what the NAS and the DOW do. They send out "urgent need!" mass postings giving their readers and anyone who happens to stumble across it on the internet, the exact words to use or copy to send to every politician. All froups, pro or con, on all issues use this method.

Before you chastise the ORV groups for doing something you should really look in the mirror. We learned from the best!

Cape Hatteras/ORV

I live in Delaware where our national seashore park works for both the wildlife and ORV's. Our Piping Plover nesting area is closed during their nesting period and then re-opened later. None of the ORV fishermen have ever complained because no matter where they put their poles in the water, there is always a great time to be had. Delaware also requires a special license plate (paid) yearly. They also must be actively involved in Surf Fishing, if not the park patrol can, and does issue citations, revoke your surf tag and removal from the beach. Come see what a success Delaware is.

more praise for Audubon

The reason we are in this mess on Hatteras Island is bevause for ghe last 40+ years the Park Service did not produce an Orv plan and the locals thought they owned the land and could do what they wanted. When any type of minimal protections were enforced, the bullying, name calling, and atta ks of NPS personnel ensued. This type of behavior allowed for further bullying mentality, which is now the norm here. Audubon is not lying, not making up numbers. All fa ts are science based and accepted by the rest of the modern, educated world, just the followers that are being brainwashed by the handful of ego maniacal bullies are the ones who say Audubon is lying.
Those that believe the pro ORV access rhetoric will not change their minds because they have been led to believe that this issue is the cause of their problems. When daga is provided that they are wrong, they defend by accusing Audubon od lying. Facts are facts. They just can't accept that the poor economy of the last 6 years has influenced tourism in a nevati e way.or that their constant negativity on their forum boards has caused people to choose elsewhere for va ations. The facts are that the villages on Hatteras Island have had the nest tourist seasons in years. The gackle shops amd surf shops may be down but everyone else is adapting and doing a bad economy. Look at what all other ztates use as indicators: tax receipts and occupancy rates. These are UP on Hatteras. And so are the numbers of animals that have been the target of closures.just because the pro Orv access groups make up their own numbers, this does not make their facts the truth. It just makes their followers believe their own lies.
Anyone who can honestly say that the ORV parking lots that ised to be the beaches of the Seashore back in 2001-2004 is preferable to the more moderate restrictions now, is selfish, greedy, and not interested in protecting wildlife areas for future generations. It is this same group of people who spout obscenities as their bumber stickers, threaten anyone who opposes them, and damage personal property of those they call "the dark side" (meaning Audubon supporters)that are responsible for the current mess here. Thank you Ted Williams for your accurate article on this issue. It is because of people like you that what is left of our wilderness will, hopefully, be protected for the future.

Intense competion

It is not apparent that visitors are not buying as much surfing related clothing and gear as the past because there were plenty of people shopping this summer on Hatteras Island. It is so easy to claim your business is down and then point a finger at the government regulation that you personally don't like.
The  competition  for what surf shops sell is intense and has gotten more so on Hatteras Island. Try counting the  kite board shops just on Hatteras Island, some of whom sell everything, every brand of clothing, every type of board that a person can float on the water with and give lessons for all of it Then think about how many other businesses sell tee shirts , body boards etc. and rent all of the stuff surf shops do and rent them cheeper. Im surprised some have stayed in business at all. It is easier to complain and make up stories about government/environmental conspiracy regulations  you personally don't like than it is to admit they have been out competed.

About the lies...

Whether or not the Audubon's number are true, they are lying about chicks and turtles being run over and crushed on the beaches, and people using the beaches as a speedway, cutting donuts, etc. Look into it. There are little to no occurences of animals being run over. Certainly not enough to base numerous articles on it, trying to play on the emotions of supporters who have never been to Hatteras Island. And in all my years of vacationing in Hatteras , I have very rarely, if ever, seen anyone cutting up on the beach in their ORV. And the one time I recall actually witnessing it, my group quickly called them out. The Consent Decree was a whole lot different of a ballgame than the current PERMANENT YEAR ROUND closures are, and seeing how much more crowded the beaches that are open are now, I can say I'm really not crazy about it. People go to Hatteras to escape crowds, and yet, they are being forced to pile in on top of each other because miles of beach where they used to spread out are now closed. i'm not against protecting animals/beaches for future generations, however, closed means closed! Don't have a pretty picture painted in your head that one day your children will have those beaches to enjoy...because they won't be opening back up to the public, if anything, more will be closed. And you will need an ORV to get there.

Kindly Read What I Wrote

First, what you and other ORV advocates repeatedly define as “lies” are in reality facts you don’t want to know and don’t want the public to know. Second it isn’t “Audubon’s number”; it’s the Park Service number. Third, only an intellectually disadvantaged person or a person who didn’t read my pieces could conclude that they were “based” on “animals being run over.” Which are you? Fourth, only ecological illiterates (well represented in the ORV-advocate ranks) believe that the only way wildlife can be impacted by ORVs is to be physically run over. They’ve never heard of nest abandonment, nesting ground abandonment, feeding and staging habitat abandonment, hatchlings getting nailed by predators and fried by the sun when their parents are flushed, hatchlings getting trapped in ruts, turtle eggs crushed beneath the sand. And it’s easy not to see crushed wildlife when you don’t look for it. Fifth, no one is “forcing” you to “pile on top” of others. You do this by choice. There are miles of beaches on which you can drive and park your ORV in privacy or, GOD FORBID, walk on your own two feet. Finally, children don’t need ORVs to “enjoy” beaches (not that they won’t be able to access the beaches by ORVs). As I pointed out in the latest piece the new regs are exceedingly generous to ORV users by national seashore standards. Now please read the piece and get back to us.

I read your piece and several

I read your piece and several others you have written, and my point is that your depiction of the seashore is grossly inaccurate. There are little to no speeding cars, animals being plowed over, people joyriding, etc...don't pretend you didn't imply those things. You have, more than once, and it's FALSE! If you read my comment over, I didn't try to dispute your numbers, Audubon's numbers, or the NPS's numbers. It's the other lies and misrepresentations that make me angry. And yes, we are being forced to pile on top of others, because the last week of August, which is usually a non crowded week on the beaches down there, was crowded, and all three areas that I accessed them from...Frisco, Cape Point, and Ramp 55 in Hatteras. There were no places available where you could park and not have someone right next to you, and this is a change. i'm sure you walk miles in the hot sand to South Beach or the point with your children, dogs, cooler and chairs when you visit the seashore! Take a 3 year old along with you next time and see how well that goes over. Telling people to "walk" to get the the point, and other remote areas if they want to enjoy them is far fetched, and if you have been there like you say you have, you would know that. Until the NPS builds new infrastructure to make those walks more feasible, that won't change.

Whine, whine, whine, whine....

AYS: If you paid attention to what you read, you would have learned that I reported that the speeding cars and animals being run over is (at least for the most part) a thing of the past thanks to the regulations that four federal laws REQUIRE the Park Service to implement. I understand that the motorheads don’t like those regs. And yet those regs are far more liberal than those of other national seashores. Cape Canaveral, for instance, bans ORVs. Cape Cod all but bans them. So stop whining and learn to live with what the law requires.

With all due respect Mr.

With all due respect Mr. Williams, those things were not happening with any kind of frequency BEFORE the new regulations were in place either. I've been coming to Hatteras since I was 15 years old. It's still a bogus claim. I feel when the place I've loved to come to for more than half of my life changes in such drastic ways that it's no longer as enjoyable as it once was, it's acceptable to whine about it a little. Your article also states that the new plan is still not nearly adequate, so am I completely in the wrong to assume that the pressure will be on to close even more beaches in the future, until it is deemed adequate? And lets not forget that many of the places closed to ORV's are also closed to foot traffic in most cases. So again, going on foot is farfetched. Another thing, I have NEVER had to fear for my life for being run over by and ORV, going a whopping 15 mph on the beach at Cape Hatteras. That is laughable. Carova on the other hand...we were all almost hit at one time or another when we visited the ORV beaches up there. If you want to see vehicles cutting up on the beach, you'll have better luck up there.

Please explain the numbers

Oh, birds and sea turtles were not being wiped out “with any kind of frequency”? And you know this, how? From reading posts on the Red Drum Idiot Channel? I quoted Park Service data. Black skimmers completely wiped out, and now back. Other birds way up. Sea turtles nesting in record numbers. The data collected by Park Service biologists are all “lies,” too? You’re running on fumes, AYS.

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.