A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

Congressional legislation and a pending civil suit threaten the future of a new rule that protects wildlife and allows vehicles on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 

By Anna Sanders
Published: 06/12/2012
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Anna Sanders

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Anna you realize this less than honest reporting will come back

This is a far far cry from a factual reporing job here Anna. You begged and begged to get people to interview for this "piece" and the one buisness owner you interviews was so upset at your writing job that she complained to your editor to remove it but they did not. Someday you are going to apply for a job outside your Audobon worls and when they see this drivel you will not behired based on your lack of journalistic integrity.

As a nature loving pedestrian

As a nature loving pedestrian I am furious that I can no longer walk my favorite beaches on Hatteras or Ocracoke. They are closed, yes even at the waterline, unlike most other reasonable beaches which allow us to walk around the nesting birds/turtles to the water. The spits and remote beaches,the best in my opinion , are completely closed off. I have roamed both islands for over 55 years and now we can't.

I used to support all environmental groups and I now lecture against them...I now have been forced to join forces with the ORVers just to voice my opinion over the nonsense that prevails from the government in Hatteras and Ocracoke. I used to have the utmost respect for the park service for saving the island from the REAL CULPRIT HERE, the DEVELOPERS...why is the Audubon Society not going after the real culprit and making them tear down the overdevelopment that took away the beaches? Why isn't the Audubon going after those who build jetties, bulkheads, etc that don't allow the islands to move instead of going after us nature loving pedestrians?

No you do NOT need to close an entire beach to pedestrians for a turtle nest that is just sitting there or for a single digit bird nests that mother nature will mostly destroy anyway. While I am not huge fan of the large numbers of ORVs on any given beach at any given time I also am not a huge fan of the hotels, overdevelopment of MacMansion type rentals, and being forced to walk amongst tourists types...I prefer the really remote and now they are closed for an insignificant number of birds.

I find your article incorrect, one sided....tell your readers that the ENTIRE EAST COAST experienced an increased number of turtle nests last year and further more on many beaches that have no such restrictions. Tell your readers that the numbers of piping plovers have never been high here due to the fact that Hatteras is at the edge of their territory.

here's the truth said "last

here's the truth said "last year Dare County had record receipts and bed occupancy rates last year "............northern dare county might have had record rates but not hatteras island which is distant and separate. a break down by town tells a different story.


Here's my "fiction":
As of June 15, 2012 there are 28.1 miles of beach "open" for driving. Of these 28.1 miles 14 are drivable. What happened to the other 14.1 miles you may ask? These are inaccessible miles that have the ocean to one side, dunes to the other and closures on each end. Is this "open"? Maybe if you have a beach landing craft. If not, good luck. Another 2.3 miles of "open" beach is the double counted Pole Road off of ramp 55 in Hatteras. First the beach of 2.3 miles is counted and then another 2.3 miles of road is counted. Plus, who wants to set up camp on a ROAD.

I think I'll stick with non-fiction and believe what I see, not what you say.

Although I live in central

Although I live in central North Carolina, I am from and my home is coastal North Carolina. I have enjoyed recreational activities, such as fishing on Cape Point and surrounding areas, since I was a small child before the Oregon Inlet bridge was ever completed. In the mid ‘70s dad finally bought a place to live in Buxton and finally we were in fisherman’s paradise with a place to stay whenever and for life --so we then thought.

As the years progressed, we never lost the desire to fish the area when we visited Dad. Even in the dead of winter, we’d go oyster-tonging in the sound. After I was married, my wife had never seen such a place for recreational fun on the beach. In the years to follow, my daughter came to love the place and relax with such admiration for the freedom of driving on the beach, taking in what nature had provided. Ever since I can remember Hatteras Island was always promoted as "The Fisherman’s Paradise," promoting tourism -- but not now. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, my dad, brothers, and friends enjoyed many-years and many hours towing the 16-foot aluminum skiff to the Point. To us, it was not only fun of a lifetime but, it was dinner too.

In June 2002 the ol’ aluminum skiff took its last journey to the Point with dad. My brother and dad launched in the Hook on the Point, hoping to catch dinner but, shortly after leaving shore, dad had a heart attack, so my brother beached the boat. But, Dad -- Tootie as many in the area knew him -- passed away later that evening at Albemarle Hospital. From that day on, the Point has somewhat been to us sacred ground.

All of my family continued enjoying the area with numerous spring, summer and fall visits right up until Thanksgiving – three to five days at a time, sometimes staying on the Point until sunset. And in 1937 (or there about) when all this land was donated to the National Park Service, this is exactly how the land and miles of beaches were intended to be used. Shortly after dad passed, my wife and her family started going for a week’s stay in June and then July. However, in 2008 all nine of them were rudely run off the beach mid-week by the Park Service for what we all know today as the ill-fated, brainless decision made by a judge that has demonstrated plenty of book sense but not a single gram of common sense whatsoever. Some may even question if he even has the authority to put such restrictions or alter land use that our ancestors donated intending for it to be used without restrictions.

Since 2008, I now visit only once or twice a year because Hatteras Island just isn’t a fun place anymore. My wife’s family has not returned a single time since 2008. Over the past few years, I have continued to see the areas declining economic health. I look at Judge Boyle in many respects as a doctor who obviously has the power to alter the areas economic healing process but chooses to care not. We have always approached beach driving with respect for wildlife. However, it has become a sad day in America when a human authority figure allows a bird to become the basis for an areas economic death.

Plenty of room to roam

It's hard to believe the degree of fiction some people will put forth. As of last week, there were 31.8 miles of Cape Hatteras National Seashore open to anyone and everyone in America to enjoy. There were 17.6 miles open for off-road vehicle driving. That's plenty of room to roam for everyone.

So many lies......

From the beginning sentence of this article to the end there are too many lies to even begin to attempt to correct. Suffice it to say that if you are a reader at home, especially one who has never been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and you believe that all of this hogwash is true, then God help you in you naivety. Send the liars some more money please. Assuage your conscience by donating to the "good cause" while putting thousands of HUMANS who have lived and worked on Hatteras Island for centuries on the endangered species list.

And please, let's quit making this about ORV users and tell the truth about this one thing at least: people who like to drive out to the fishing spots are not the only ones affected by this..not by a long shot...pedestrians are also forbidden from huge sections of seashore. Miles and miles of seashore in fact. I have been out at sea and looked back on these gargantuan closed areas of shore and thought how truly sad it looks to see all this wonderful beach and absolutely no one, not a fisherman on foot, not a shell collector on foot, not a windsurfer, not an ORV driver..no one. And as these areas are increasingly closed to all human interface, more and more trash is piling up on these beaches. What a travesty.

So if you think that you are going to come to Hatteras Island and have a lovely long walk on the seashore undisturbed by those big bad vehicles..think again. In the very few areas left open to you, you will either have to walk through scrub brush (where there are plenty of poisonous snakes) or over the dunes. That's a great choice isn't it? And in the tiny areas where vehicles are allowed, there will be a lot of them since they are all being corralled into a few tiny spaces.

But come on down! Better go before it becomes a ghost town and there isn't anyone left to have a restaurant open, or a grocery store or a gas station or anywhere to buy an extra pair of binoculars.

"Proof is nothing but a

"Proof is nothing but a collection of opinions that match your own. "

I was saddened to see another biased account about the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin.

By the way, I am not a ORV person but I do live here and I can't believe how skewed the information presented in this article is. I use to support another environmental group with donations but never, ever again.

The threatened, not near endangered Piping Plovers

Any visits from Audubon supporters would be appreciated. Don't expect to see any birds, in fact don't expect to have access to much beach, unless you are a strong walker and don't mind briers and sand burrs. However, our businesses, restaurants,rental homes, motels and campgrounds welcome you and your financial support.

The NPS Resource Reprt for this week shows that the Piping Plovers may not be as successful as they were in previous years. We cuurently have 5 nests, 1 brood, and 2 fledged chicks. This week in 2011 there were 3 nests, 5 broods and 2 fledged. In 2010 the numbers were 3, 5, and 8. Notice that in previous years there were 8nests and broods whereas this year there are only 6. For this, over 14 miles of beach are closed. In Buxton, there is only 0.4 miles of beach open to those of us who are less physically able. Kinda crowded at best.
Research at this seashore shows that the plovers were more successful when they could nest at more protected areas away from the dynamic, agressive ocean. The oceanand sound beaches are the only place visitors wish to go .Win/win and the goals of everyone are met.

This is probably the most

This is probably the most absurd statement I've ever read. Nothing presented by Barbara is factual.

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