Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Southern Environmental Law Center photo.

During busy summer days more than 2,000 vehicles a day can be found cruising the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center. Southern Environmental Law Center photo.

For years folks have used off-road vehicles to negotiate some of the farther reaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. And for years the National Park Service failed to develop a management plan for those ORVers. And now it's time to pay the piper.

On April 3 a federal judge will consider a request by Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society to restrict ORV access to South Ocracoke, Hatteras Spit, North Ocracoke, Cape Point, South Beach and Bodie Island Spit for up to three years because of the presence of piping plovers, which have been considered a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act since January 1986.

The lawsuit contends the Park Service has run afoul of the National Park Organic Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the enabling legislation for the seashore, and the Park Service's own Management Policies by implementing an interim ORV management plan and failing to produce a long-term management plan.


The National Park Service’s Interim Plan and the ORV use it allows are substantially harming – and will continue to harm – important populations of endangered and threatened sea turtle species, threatened, special concern, or significantly rare bird species, and a threatened plant species, as well as other natural resources, serenity, and other recreational uses of the Seashore generally, reads one of the claims.

On Saturday, in a protest against the conservation groups, an estimated 200 ORV supporters showed up in a gale at Cape Point on the seashore to attend a rally.

In Sunday's editions of the Charlotte Observer, meanwhile, outdoors writer Tim Higgins satirized the situation by looking into the future to listen to a conversation between a young boy and his grandfather over why they no longer fish at Cape Point.

What's unfortunate is that the Park Service might have avoided this situation by acting sooner on developing a management plan for ORVs.

Comments

A three mile hike might be too much for granpa but the kid will catch a lot more fish there now because there are less people. How about going in by boat gramps?

Snowbird06
If one considers that 90% of are beaches in the world today are slowing dying from of lack of conscientious environment care, then I consider Cape Hatteras National Seashore is surely one of them. Now, get those oil dripping gas guzzling ORV's off the beaches. We have enough human crap fouling up the oceans today. Just asked any competent marine biologist.

Obviously you have never been to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area or you would not have made such a ridiculous comment. The comment was tantamount to telling someone to climb the Tetons in winter without wearing a coat........

Snowbird06
Mr. Metzgar: Take a hard look at the photo caption for this article. What do you honestly see on the fringes of the beach at Cape Hatteras? That's right, wall-to-wall with gas and oil dripping vehicles of all sorts. Now, don't tell me this beach is pristine clean and free from pollution. Maybe, I haven't been to the Cape and wouldn't want too considering all the vehicles stacked up on the beach...what an ugly sight! However, I do put much credence in the National Audubon Society and The Defenders of Wildlife comments on the destruction and the harming of the ecosystems at Cape Hatteras...and I assure you that there doing the right thing. Besides, how close do you want to be on the damn beach.

First let me say that I used to live in the Outer Banks and I visit Ocracoke every year, several times a year and have for over 10 years. I am a beach person to the core. I am also very protective of the environment, esecially the beach and the ocean, and I protect, defend and will stand up for animals. BUT there has to be a place for people to go as well. Period.

If you have never been to Ocracoke, Pea Island, Portsmouth Island and the like, then you really have no valid comment here. You should visit before offering comments. Ocracoke is about the last special unspoiled place that NC has to offer and it should not be taken away from the wildlife OR the people. We ALL have a right to be there. Yes, some people should be more considerate, I do not disagree with that at all and I do not hesitate to call someone on it if they are not respectful and mindful of the surroundings. There are not many beaches left that humans are allowed to enjoy by vehicle. If they succeed in not allowing us to drive on the beach at Ocracoke I can tell you what will happen. People will have to going to park on the side of the road and trek over the dunes to get to the beach. And, for those of you not familiar with the beaches, you are not allowed to cross over the dunes either because of the environment and animals. So what is going to happen is NO ACCESS TO THE BEACH FOR HUMANS AT ALL. How about that?? Think about it because that is EXACTLY what is going to happen.

Fight for the animals, yes, but fight for humans too.

I have been to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke. They are beautiful places. And yes, the use of ORV should be stopped. There are many animals that call that area home and may never return if they are scared off by people or vehicles. The land there is constantly changing-staying on the ORV paths is difficult and I'm sure there are the ones who don't care what the signs say, they do as they please. For years there has been issues with keeping the dunes intact and saving plant life. This area should be protected for the future. There are miles and miles of other beaches to go to. There are beach areas in NC that allow only so many people a day or no vehicles at all. Only boats and bicycles. If they want to go to these areas so bad, they'll take the transportation options given to them.

Just because the ORV supporters call it "Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area" does not make it so.
1937: Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1940: Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area
1953: Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

At present, and since its establishment, it is a national seashore, not a national recreation area.

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -Martin Luther

Hey, Snowbird, my husband and I regularly visit Cape Hatteras, particularly Cape Point. Our vehicle, identified by you as an oil dripping gas guzzling ORV, has nevered dropped 1 ounce of oil on the beach. The appeal of Cape Point is being able to drive out, set up for the day and enjoying the beauty of the beach without having tourisits lying next to you such as at Myrtle Beach. Ninety-five percent of the visitors to Cape Hatteras and the Point observe all rules and regulations outlined by the National Park Service. In fact, several OVRer's regularly clean the beach of debris and clean up after themselves upon leaving. It's tree huggers like you that like to ruin it for everyone else. Leave Cape Hatteras alone and allow us to share Cape Point with generations to come.

Snowbird06

Sunshine: your quote, "Leave Cape Hatteras alone and allow us to share Cape Point with generations to come". Sunshine, you forgot to mention one thing: the preservation of wildllife for all generations to come...not just for the fun frolicking beach hogs alone. A bit of selfish stand on your behalf!

Quote from Beach to Desert: "There are many animals that call that area home and may never return if they are scared off by people or vehicles. The land there is constantly changing-staying on the ORV paths is difficult and I'm sure there are the ones who don't care what the signs say, they do as they please".

Beach to Desert you are correct in part of your comment........People on foot and especially those with unleashed animals have proven, in many studies, to be a much greater threat to protected species than ORV's observing the Park rules and Regulations.

Why? ....I have observed literally hundreds of people walking in restricted areas in my 30 years+ on the Outer Banks. Why do they disregard the signs, fences, warnings? Its simple !! The thought process of these folks are....I'm only going in to get a shell. I'm only looking for a handy place to releive myself. I thought I saw a birds nest and wanted a closer look. I was going to pick up some driftwood. My animal ran towards something it spotted. My animal relieved itself there and I was going to pick up the deposit. I am bird watching. The reasons are endless....and unless you are a person with a uniform .......most will tell you to stuff it if you approach them! Enforcement of existing rules and regulations is the issue in this battle not management by lock and key!!

On Holiday weekends in the summer take a picture of any favorite spot on a lake, at a stream, on a ski lift, on a people only beach, at a museum, at an amusement park, or on a ORV accesible beach and the picture is the same. People on top of each other with every conceivable item they can carry. Now take a picture on a non Holiday weekend..........the picture is quite different!! The picture in this article is a classic case of slanted journalism. Most OBX users know that the picture in this article was specifically user to reinforce a point of view.......This picture is the case rather than the rule!

When the Park and then Recreational Area was given to Uncle Sam the native people were promised that they would always have access to the beaches. Now, like the Native Americans were thrown from their ancestral lands, the Outer Banks natives are being removed from their 'promised access to the beaches'.

There has always been a co-existence on these barrier islands with animals until man interfered.......not with ORV's, which have been present on the beaches for more than 75 years but with groins and jetties to reshape the shoreline.....NPS Rangers killing foxes, skunks, raccoons and other native species in the name of protecting birds at the extreme southern limit of their range. Bulldozing habitat into oblivion in the name of safety. Allowing brush and scrub vegetation to grow in areas closed in the name of species preservation..brush and vegetation that eliminated the natural overwash areas so desired for nesting by the shore birds especially the Plovers.

Now the extremists even want the Assateague Island National Seashore to eliminate the number of native horses on this Barrier Island. Why, you will ask........because their hooves are 'compacting' the sand to undesired levels restricting vegetation growth. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

At Cape Cod National Seashore the recovery plan has been so effective in the Plovers natural reproductive range the the NPS has them everywhere!! The interesting issue is that ORV beach access has had little or no effect on their recovery. Now NPS is in a quandry because the Plovers are everywhere and there is no Management plan to deal with the glut of birds which are still protected by ESA and NEPA.

Management by Lock and Key is not acceptable.... but folks .......thats where we're headed if the extremists get their way!!

Let's be fair here. If we are going to block off Hatteras to all but walk-ins, let's also do that for ALL National Parks. Auto pollution, asphalt, truck fumes, dripping oil, tourists, litter, etc., etc. are just as noxious in Yellowstone as Hatteras.

Snowbird06
Yap! Once you start labeling those (as "extremist") who oppose you Mr. Metzgar in defense of ORV's at the Cape, your points of view begin sound more like your in favor of less preservation for wildlife. I think your distorting the facts about the "effectiveness" of the Plover Recovery program at Cape Cod National Seashore...and it's so call glut of birds. Maybe the glut of Plovers has a lot to do with it's shrinking habitat. What about the glut of human species and there oil spewing ORV's at the Cape (which I think is very valid issue). Can you give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment at the Cape. May I recommended that you read some of Rachel Carson's books like: Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Rocky Coast and finally The Sea. Just perhaps maybe you can find a small inkling to read a few of these precious books and truly see and feel the power of the sea and why it's so important to conserve and protect a few special places like Cape Hatteras...and not ruin it with more ORV's!

big oil and gas dripping ORVs?? i dont know about you but if my truck was leaking oil id fix it before id take it to the beach but thats just me. look fellas we all need to be fair here. on one hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who don't give a flyin sh** about the environment and will leave the beach a dump. on the other hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who assume that EVERYONE who drives on the beach is in this category. both probably make up 1% of people who drive on the national seashore... it is what it is.

Believe me, i'll be the first person to confront someone leaving any kind of trash on the beach. and if i could stop someone from driving like a complete idiot putting people and wildlife in danger than i would certainly do that, too. but to say that we need to close the beaches to all ORVs is a little bit extreme, if not ridiculous to me. People have been driving on beaches ever since vehicles had that capability. they arent "big oil dripping" monsters as some of you have referred to them as. NO KIDDING THEY AREN'T CLEAN. but we've come a long way in terms of making these things as clean as possible. you don't hear of anybody suffocating in New York City like in the '70s do you??

as an avid surf fisherman, i am all for the conservation of endangered animals, including the plovers. but to say that we are a realistic threat to these birds just isn't right. Foxes, for example, are a much more formidable threat to them than we are.

one other thing i would like to touch on is some of the businesses on Hatteras Island that WILL go out of business if the beaches were to get closed to ORVs. There are several tackle shops on the island that have depended on people fishing the national seashore to keep their business going ever since they opened. is it really fair to them especially, to close the beaches to ORVs because of a handful of people who treated the beach poorly?? You don't have to answer that, i think it speaks for itself.

If anyone disagrees with anything i've said i would like to know. Again, all i want is for people to be fair and realistic here.

Snowbird,

It's time you opened your eyes to the real world!

When the D.O.W and the National Audubon Society became involved a few years back and through the intervention of the S.E.L.C it began to put pressure on the CHNPS. The world there changed as they filed and threatened lawsuits and demanded certain actions be taken.

It no longer was about the protection of wildlife it suddenly became an issue of a cause that became a cash cow to the above groups.

However you made some valid points in your post even though slightly misguided.

1. There does need to be a O.R.V usage plan in place.
2. Certain areas need to be off limits during limited times of nesting and mating to all.
(By this I do not mean that these areas should be construed as justification for year round habitat creation for a migratory species)
3. There needs to be a daily, monthly or yearly usage fee in place based on individual head count.
4. There needs to be a reasonable O.R.V daily, monthly or annual fee in place in addition to the personal usage fee.
5. Along with the four above there also needs to be a required usage course in place that is mandatory of at least four hours before any and all
individuals are permitted access to the park.

Now back to the reality!

Snowbird above you made the following comment: Sunshine, you forgot to mention one thing: the preservation of wildlife for all generations to come...not just for the fun frolicking beach hogs alone.

That's a fantastic idea Snowbird but when idealism hits reality head on and the D.O.W and the National Audubon Societies as represented by the S.E.C.L and money and politics take over strange things happen!

Below you will find the links to a couple of very disturbing photos taken at Cape Hatteras just before Christmas. The photos depict what has happened and is still happening at this moment there. The innocent fox pictured ( which by the way is native to the island as is the Raccoon ) did not survive and neither did HUNDREDS of Cats, Raccoon's and other animals all because they were a danger to the non native migratory Plover's according to the three groups above.

[img] www.stripers247.com/images/fox7.jpg [/img]
[img] www.stripers247.com/images/rangerfox2.jpg [/img]

These photos underscore that the O.R.V are but a small part of the problem that exist now.

Sincerely
Big Red

PS: The fox above had pup's and later that day when found they suffered the same fate!!!

Snowbird06
Big Red: You made some interesting proposals but yet no one has answered my question: Give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment? Also, you mentioned the catastrophic conditions some of the wildlife is place under...referring to the photo links. Who's responsible for this out-of-whack environment? I have my own personal opinions regarding this. I assume your one conscientious outdoorsmen who truly cares about the Cape and it's holistic environment. I have worked in marshland and inland bay park setting for some 25+ years and do know something about the delicate ecosystems that it has and how easily it can be destroyed by careless and ruthless planning from over zealous developers and slap happy politicians. I have seen the onslaught of this type reckless development destroy one marshland habitat after another. The development is called: Redwood Shores of California!

We do need a healthy balance here.

The National Park Service, (i.e., management at Cape Hatteras NS) is responsible for an ORV plan, and as Judge Boyle this summer pointed out, nationwide ORV plan requirements have been on the books since Nixon was president, so the NPS and National Seashore don't really have an excuse for not having a plan in effect 30 years ago.

Judge Boyle pointed out, also, that since there is no ORV management plan on the books at Cape Hatteras NS, then ORV use is illegal at the Seashore. That said, everybody who is operating an ORV at the Seashore is in violation of the law. The judge didn't order the NPS to shut down the beaches, so the NPS didn't. And the NPS isn't enforcing the judge's ruling.

One thousand vehicles at Bodie Island Spit on Memorial Day weekend is far too many vehicles and people in one place--a rather sensitive place, at that. So there should be some limit on the number of people and vehicles that can be in one place at one time, especially in the sensitive places like Bodie Island Spit, Cape Point, etc.

Some of the economy does depend on ORV use, and it should be allowed, but not "just wherever there aren't closures." I don't know what the rulemaking committee will decide, but there should certainly be more regulation and oversight on ORV use at the Seashore than there is now. As it is a Seashore, and supposed to be protected as a "primitive wilderness," we should endeavor to be responsible with the resources we have--with a priority on the natural resources.

The story that never gets told follows:

Last April, a huge storm overturned several containers on a freighter off the coast of North Carolina. These containers held boxes of ceiling fans. The ceiling fans were packaged in styrofoam. Now, as you may know, styrofoam floats and on a good Nor'easter, guess where the styrofoam goes? (A Nor'easter is a strong storm with a prevelant wind from the North East for thise of you not farmiliar)
Anyway, thousands of cubic feet of styrofoam landed on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area. A mere week later, most of the beach was clean of all debris except debris too small to be picked up by the human hand. The areas that were not clean were, you will never guess, the areas closed to ORV's.
So what happened, did the oil dripping ORV's just crush the debris? No, the sportsmen and beach goers who enjoy the area got out of their ORV's, took trash bags donated by the local tackle shops, picked up the debris along with any other trash they could find, put it back into their ORV's and removed it from the beaches.
Now, Snowbird, this is how the ORV's benefit the local eco-system. This was absolutely not the only time this has ever happened, in fact, it happens after every large storm. It also happens after large holiday weekends. The people who use the resource regularly, respect the resource and protect it more than any well intended person a thousand miles away could ever hope to do.
There absolutely should be rules governing the use of ORV's. There are idiots in every venture known to man. The key is to enforce the regulations in place and create a real policy for ACCESS. If you have ever seen the sunset from Hatteras Inlet spit or Ocracoke Inlet, you know it is a place to revere. If you have ever watched your 65 year old father land and release his first Red Drum, you know that access is needed for people his age to enjoy the resource.
The real protectors of this habitat drive ORV's. The bad news is, they are not as vocal as the well intended groups who only see Bubba in a truck. The next time you pick up a piece of trash on Hatteras beaches, help a baby turtle to the water, help a tourist get their vehicle free from the sand, release a beautiful fish, have someone make a picture and post it on the web. Post it everywhere, Audobon, D.O.W and every where else. Then see how many pictures of people doing something for the local environment contain an ORV with a rod rack on it.
If any of you doubt the reality of what I just wrote, meet me on Ocracoke May 10th and we will fish for a week. During that time, we will take a trash bag from my ORV and fill it with any trash or debris on the beach, we will catch a few fish, tell a few lies, watch some beautiful sunsets and who knows, you might understand our side too.

I want to know if you live in today's United States without using any fossil fuels? Do you grow all our own food, generate your own electricity, and produce all the goods you need for survival?

Didn't think so...

My tax dollars pay for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and I'm going to recreate as I see fit while being a responsible steward and following park rules. Environmental extremist assults against the rights of the middle class Americans and access to our national parks need to stop now. Piping plovers aren't successful at Hatteras because the noreasters and ocean overwash destory their nest, not ORVs. If the piping plover can't evolve, then all the money, rules, and regulations of humankind won't save it. I have as much a right to drive to Cape Point and fish as you have to sit in starbucks, drink a latte, and post on your blog.

The surf fishing community at Cape Hatteras has done more to promote protection of the barrier islands, conservation of coastal fishing resources, and preservation of the Hatteras and Ocracoke Island lifestyle than DOW could dream about. The current NPS resource closures are more than adequate to balance the recreational and resource stewardship duties of the park. The Defenders of Wildlife is just money machine to enrich the pockets of a few by restricting the rights of many. If DOW really cared about educating people on conservation, they'd halt the suit, honor their responsibility to take part in a constructive negiotiatied rulemaking process, and spend their political capital where they can truely make a difference.

Understand, it's public sand.

Snowbird, if you look closely to the picture with the ORVs tight up against the water, have you asked yourself why? If you look you will see just behind the ORVs a row of carsonite stakes(symbolic fence) look carefully and you will see no ORV tracks in there. That fenced off area is the area reserved for the nesting shore birds. We give the birds way more beach than they want to use. The NPS has done a very good job of balancing the use of the beach. It is a shame that DOW & AS want to force an injunction to close what little beach we have left to fish in. The area depicted in the photo is Bodie Island Spit, or the north side of Oregon Inlet.

Justwannafish:

A good story, yes, that doesn't get told enough. I've seen lots of ORVers pick up lots of trash.

Unfortunately you forgot the other story that doesn't get told as much: the cargo ship that held all those bags of Doritos, and all the people who got to help clean that one! Too bad I missed it! :)

RangerChris,

In a sense you are correct there is a place and a time for everything.

Now for the part about this seashore being designated a Wilderness area. Never has been except in changing statements but not in reality.
One must remember that this seashore was given by the people of North Carolina 98% free of charge to the Federal Government with a few strings attached as has been stated above in other post.

A couple of these documented strings were that it would be forever open for recreational use as well as wildlife preservation.

That the residents of the island would have rights even above and beyond those that we were to enjoy so as to maintain their heritage and livelihood.

Pea Island which makes up a full one third of the CHNRSS on the other hand was to be a pure wilderness area but this has been intruded upon by allowing a main highway and walkover beach access by all parties during all seasons of the year.

When taking all things into consideration one must also realize that all access from one end of the island to the other was by beach road (surf line) before there was a park and after the formation till the late fifties when the paved road system was install (which still constantly shifts position)and beach road usage still occurs today in emergencies and washouts over vast stretches.

Now to answer Snowbird.

Orv's are neither good nor bad for the beach environment unless improperly used just as your auto is neither good nor bad for your home base environment. Both pollute, both ruin the ecology and both use precious resources in abundance and yes both kill, even when properly used according to our laws. If an animal gets in their path no matter whether it's an endangered Plover on the beach or a Hawk that flies into your cars windshield no matter where it occurs the animal is just as dead.

As far as delicate ecosystem we have no access to this as when driving on the beach we are limited to in practically all places a corridor of less than 150 ft from the low tide line in 90% of all areas and this area is constantly over washed in many cases. True the Cape Point, Oregon Inlet spit and Hatteras Inlet spit has slightly more than this but this only takes in an area of less than 2 total running surf miles proper and these areas are no greater than 250ft in depth once again from the low tide line.

I think one of the biggest problems is the lack of an implementation of an equitable even and fair plan encompassing the items in my previous post.

Snowbird you assumed that I was one conscientious sportsman. I'll take that as a compliment and yes I do love wildlife of all kinds and yes I do fish and hunt and also drive on the beach when fishing the surf but in a responsible manner. I think that when it comes to surf fishermen you will find that 99% of them do the same as I do!

Now some people will look at the photo that leads out this article and will see a mass of Orv's crowded around Cape Point and yes it's the same at Oregon Inlet's south beach. I look at the same photo and see something different. I see a mid summer gathering of individuals that come to the pictured area from all over the country to see and be seen. They mostly have no regard for wildlife or the environment because they haven't been taught that access is a privilege and not a right.

Now if you look closely you will notice there is maybe two or three people fishing out of the whole group group you see. Most are there to party and swim!

You won't see any locals or the folks I fish with or 98% of the guys and gals that fish the real fishing season from mid September to late May in the above photo because once again 98% of us don't like crowds and anything over four or five vehicles in a half mile or mile is a crowded.

The locals have a name for these people "Turon's or Skippie's" and it means what it infers, but alas they pay taxes just like I do.

Sincerely
Big Red

PS: Where you see those people and children swimming I have personally seen 6 to 10ft bitter sharks caught and released in that very same area while uniformed adults watched their children swimming. Go figure people. I don't even wade anymore past knee deep anytime of the year.

Snowbird06
I still don't understand how people can be so glued to there ORV convictions and yet feel so threaten when someone pops the simple question about preservation and conservation of wildlife...such as at the Cape. Some automatically label you as a extremist, a tree hugger and a environmental freak of sorts....a typical response and stance from the anti-environmental hate groups. I oppose to any massive vehicle corridor on most wetlands, beaches and bay inlands that are that close to waterfowl and wildlife (such as at the Cape). I have seen to much damage towards are wetlands, beaches and marshes over the years to think differently. I remain open minded to a balance approach to the Cape Hatteras long overdue environmental problems...especially regarding the OVR's.

Snowbird06
Thanks Big Red for your in put! You sound like a reasonable and decent man. I bet your one damn good sportsman too.

Snowbird and all who oppose ORV access at CHNSRA:
1. It's damn near impossible to fish there without an ORV, particularly at the best spots.
2. Access was promised to the locals and tourists when the land was given- that means fishermen, surfers, bird watchers, EVERYBODY.
3. You can't take a boat, primarily because the closures limit pedestrian access as well, ie you can't get out of your boat. That means no more bird watching, by the way.
4. The amount of birds killed by orv's is insignificant compared to predation and overwash.
5. 99.9% of the beaches on the east coast are off limits to orvs- can you not just leave this one alone, or are you not willing to compromise?
6. I was there the day the picture at the top was taken. I've rarely been around better people. It was a lot of fun- you should try enjoying our national parks. Isn't that what they were created for, not to be inaccessible refuges?
7. Unless you're a visitor to CHNSRA, why do you care? The safety of plovers? Come on, what makes a plover any more special than the cow that died for your shoes? Why do you see fit to glamorize one animal and kill others to protect it? As a sportsman, I have respect for ALL animals, even though I'm intelligent enough to see that some will die for the benefit of humans, and others will no longer live where habitat is unsuitable (plovers at CHNSRA, the squirrels that used to live where your house sits, etc.).
8. If orv's are the plight to birds, Pea Island should be covered with them, but it isn't...why not?
9. Please quit trying to impose your ideals about acceptable forms of recreation on other people... I promise not to try and shut you out of your favorite ____________, whether it's a mountain, beach, stream...whatever.
10. His name is TOM Higgins, not Tim.
Bird Dog

Just a couple of points
1. Foxes are not native to Hatteras Island. They migrated over the Oregon Inlet Bridge.
2. No matter what you call this unit of the NPS, it is still subject to the same management policies as any other NPS unit. Calling it a recreation area is not going to suddenly make the endangered species act, migratory bird act, or any other legislation go away.
3. The enabling legislation does not give special rights to local residents.
4. I was personally appalled one day at the point when the fish were running hard and it was packed shoulder to shoulder several vehicles deep. Now, I admit this isn't my idea of a day at the beach but-whatever floats your boat. No, the appalling part was the poor man who had the gaul to have a heart attack at the point. What was awful was asking folks to move so we could perform CPR. You see the problem was we were taking up valuable fishing real estate and folks were actually stepping over him as he was having his heart attack to get to his front line spot. The fishermen were actually offended we were in their way! Now, some of you will say that didn't happen. Fishermen (and women) will always help each other. Yes, a few were concerned but most were interested in taking his spot. I'm sad to say, this didn't happen just once but several times. It was about that time I decided that it was time to move to a different park where maybe folks cared if someone was having a heart attack.
ORV groups have helped in cleaning up the seashore, but so have environmental groups. Environmental groups have supported educational information and efforts, and so have ORV groups. But I can tell you one thing the environmental groups haven't done that the ORV groups have done...ORV groups or their members have made threats against NPS staff members. Employees of the seashore have become prisoners in their own homes because ORV groups and their members have made personal attacks against them including posting fliers with directions and phone numbers to employee’s homes in the towns in the seashore. How can you have open dialogue in that type of environment?

The damage from a nor'easter will do far more damage to the beach than the orvs can do in five years tell me how many of these happen every year?

It's always painful to read comments like some of those above that advocate the loss of access to ORV users at Cape hatteras national Seashore Recreation Area. And yes, that is it's proper name. The Dept. of Interior dropped the "recreation area" part, not Congress. Whats sad is that the extreme majority of persons that wish to ban access do so with no real knowledge of CHNSRA, it's environment or the nature of beach use by those that enjoy the Seashore. Shorebird, your refrence to "the cape" and incessant discussion of wetlands and development establishes you as someone totally unfamilliar with this area and the issues at hand. I live here (Buxton, N.C.), I work here and I fish here. I do so by way of 4x4 vehicle and must as I suffer a 45% permanant partial disability negating any and all thoughts of walking any distance in the sand. So, if I may, a brief tutorial.

We live on an island that at Buxton is roughly thirty miles out to sea vs. the mainland. The Island goes from a few hundred feet to a couple miles wide and back to a thin strip as you travel from one end to another. We have but two options in terms of access to our homes. One by ferry to Ocracoke, the other via Hwy. 12 to the north. Hwy 12 passes through Pea Island before crossing the Bonner Bridge connecting us to Bodie Island and then by way of yet another bridge, the mainland. I mention Pea Island and the Bonner Bridge for several reasons. One being that Pea Island is a National Wildlife refuge that contains dune systems and wetlands. These were created not by nature, but by the CCC in the 1930's. Pea island also happens to be the site of the largest migratory bird slaughter I know of. Recently, USFWS gassed thousands of Canadian Geese because they were overtaxing the man made ecosystem and complaints about goose poop were being brought up by "McMansion" homeowners up in the developed areas of Duck, Corolla and Nags Head..far to the north.The road Ive been told that spoils Pea Island is our one real evacuation route and ironically preserves the wetlands and birds covered by the MBTA. Without road clearings and work to preserve the dunes, the wetlands will be destroyed.
Plovers dont do well there either in spite of no ORV traffic. The same is true of the Bodie Island side of the bridge, but more on that later.

Hatteras Island is a bit different in that a few villiages scattered along about sixty miles of Rt. 12 dot the seashore. These villages are bounded landward by CHNSRA and are extremely limited in development. As with Pea Island, most all of the wetlands and dune systems are man made. Have a look at Google earth..you might learn something. We have the luxury of being surrounded by an extremely active environment that remains unpredictable every day of the year. In terms of wildlife, we have the sea, the sound, and a thin strip of sand that hosts an amazing variety of birds, reptiles and mammals, crustaceans, fish, shell fish and some sea turtles too. And we care for them all.

Im sure that when most folks read about whats going on here and see the term ORV (Off Road Vehicle) they include motocross bikes, ATV's, and dune jumping sand rails and the like, but thats not what happens here. All vehicles on the beach have to be licensed vehicles, driving on the dunes is prohibited and speed limits are in force as well; 25mph but most do much less because of the nature of the beach. This is not even remotely like driving on Daytona Beach. And unlike beaches to the north, no mechanical device is needed to scour the beach of trash in the morning. We, the ORV users, didn't take a week to clean up the styrofoam from the ceiling fans, we got the vast majority of it up in one day. It was a day later that the first volunteer environmentalists showed up to help out. Less than 20. Because less than 100 ORV's occupants had already done the work. I was there and took bags of that stuff off the beach. It was NPS that asked the tackle shops for help and brought bags...and they got it. But then, that's what we normally do. We sit at the point where the Labrador current and Gulf Stream collide therefore we get alot of stuff washed up on our beaches from elsewhere, so we clean it up, by hand, on our time, and at our expense.

As for the birds, what do I say? We're on the EXTREME northern end of the Plover wintering grounds and the EXTREME end of the southern end of their breeding grounds. Plovers breed in areas of frequent overwash. Please come to this Island in a storm and show me where that isn't. Yes isn't. Frequent overwash means chick mortality. That has nothing to do with ORV use. In fact it's the native Ghost Crab that is responsible for the majority of chick mortality regardless of bird species. ORV use has gone down over the years, bird enclosures have been established earlier, have been larger and have been in existance for a greater perion of time and yet bird numbers dont expand. The Black Skimmers and Least Terns that DOW, SELC, N.C. Audubon are complaing about not being in the park nested last year on a newly created dredge spoil island near Hatteras Village within a couple hundred yards of the Park boundry, But since those birds didnt follow the rules and nest within the Park, they dont count. Neither does the largest tern colony on the east coast because it's on top of a certain store at a shopping center well outside of the bounds of the Park. Last time I checked, when wild animals breed where we tell them to, because we wont count their numbers if they dont, it was called a zoo.

The fact is thats it's the ORV users that care for this National Recreation area. Birds have wings and will nest where THEY want. Larger closures for longer periods has resulted in increased vegetation thereby limiting breeding grounds not by ORV but by the sea. It was ORV users that begged for the moving of turtle nests that were in "The Narrows", a section of beach regularly overwashed. The nests werent moved and the turtles drowned. Two of them(nests). They werent in our way, just in a place we knew they wouldn't survive. I challenge anyone to prove that on any "given day of year" you can find 2000 vehicles on the limited amount of beach we have left open to access. I was on the Point today and within the nine or so miles I could see less than twenty vehicles on the beach. Most of what is Plover breeding area was still under water and the entire beach still bore remnants of the almost complete innundation that occured over the weekend.

The attempt to close human access to these beaches is a travesty and an insult to those of us that do so much to care for this amazing place. Our economies will be destroyed all the while predator populations will soar, vegetation will increase, bird populations and suitable nesting areas will decrease.

I could go on but it's late and I have to go to work to a job, a living that some would seek to eliminate here. Because of my handicap, its about the one thing I can do. I can barely do that. But saturday morning, I will venture out on the beach once again to be in a beautiful environment where I have no power to change a thing. I will see Willets, Gulls, Ospreys, Terns, Gannets, Pelicans, Sanderlings, Cormorants, Oystercatchers and cetera. I will be at peace. And I will think of all the children that you would wish to deny this.

No, you dont have a clue, you dont understand and paint us with a broad brush thats entirely based on perception tainted by false data and data that has been excluded.

Take the time to know us before you condem us. We have just as much right to Life, Liberty and the Persuit of Happiness as do you.

Jeffrey

First off, I must ask why such involvement from some people when they fully admit they've never even been to the beaches at the frontline of this debate? To me, making statements/claims and observations about the ongoings of the CHNSRA seems to be a stretch given that you've never witnessed the acts you've accused people of. Most concerning is the labeling and generic branding of all ORV's as being oil dripping machines.

You keep asking an obviously loaded question about how ORV's can be good for the evnironment - yet the same can be asked of you concerning other conveniences you utilize every day. When visiting Yellowstone (or any other "park") - do you not travel on their roadways? I am sure the EIS for that project clearly stated that it's construction was detrimental to the habitat. Why was it allowed? Simple - it was for the betterment of the public (including you). Obviously, this is a overly simplified comparison, however, the point remains the same ....... sometimes things are done for the betterment of people as a whole knowing that a resulting impact (large or small) would/could occur.

Same goes for these beaches. One would be foolish to think that ORV useage is BENEFICIAL for the environment - but using such as example as a bullet point for your agrument is no different then my roadway comparison above. And who gives you the right to dictate what level of interference or damage is acceptable? More so, what doesn't work in your favor is the argument concerning the extent to which ORV usage damages the beach and the surrounding environment.

Already, its been pointed out that: A) pedestrain traffic does more damage and with the possible closure to ORV's, an increase in dune damage/disruption significantly increases as people will grow tired of having to walk from specific access points to navigate the beach and actually utilize the protective dunes as a short cut to beaches. B) storm swell and the ensuing beach migration typicall of all barrier systems cause more damage/death to the piping plover (and other animals) population and nesting grounds C) predation continues to be the most obvious cause for the lacking plover population D) no explination is being given by those who don't support ORV access as to why such a plan would benefit native species when it's clear that such hasn't worked on Pea Island.

Being that I have spent a significant amount of time on the beaches of OBX (mostly at the Point), I challenge your claim that we are the cause of damage you are looking to control. To the contrary, I find that those of us who utilize the beach for fishing and recreation do so because we have a great respect for the wildlife and the ecosytem of the area. As has been said many times, we all charge ourselves with being guardians of the beach - whether that means picking up debris/trash or monitoring the actions of our fellow beachgoers.

These beaches are unique in many ways, ways that have been enjoyed by generations of my family as well as families around the world. And who gives you the right to say your concerns are any more valid then ours? Whose to say your hobies outweight mine? It's as simple as that.

The real issue here is finding a way that agrees with your beliefs and one that agrees with those of the ORV supporters. Considering much of the area already has restrictions in place - I believe our side to have been compromising thus far. However, I don't think our side is not willing to discuss and develop a reasonable plan either beyond the one currently (referring more to the restrictions) in effect. That being said, I believe asking for year round beach closures is asking way too much and isn't a compromise or discussion at all.

Additionally, it needs to be considered that such a harsh stance concerning beach closures not only affects those who vacation and enjoy the beaches, it will also destroy the livlihoods of those who depend on it. This area draws a HUGE portion of its visitors as a result of enjoying the beach and when you compromise it's availability - you no longer appeal to the masses. Just with the closures being discussed, you can ultimately alienate those who come here to fish (which is a large base of the tourist dollar) and the asscoiated businesses.

You state we are being selfish in our views, yet our concern lies in a large part with the community as whole. Your stake in this revolves around a bunch of conveluded and unsopported data over a bird .............................

Will
Southern MD

As a 55 year old ecology concerned person, I have been turned from that frame of mind by the actions of who I considered my friends. I “had” always been concerned for the environment and been wary of my affects on the wildlife and natural aspects of my surroundings. BUT, I have been duped and I now find out that by “my” years of monetary and material contributions to the many various environmental groups (including the Audubon) I have, in fact, caused the problem and find myself faced with no longer being able to enjoy what I was trying to protect. From the times when my parents took me to Hatteras and over my lifetime I had enjoyed the beaches of the Outer Banks. Being able to go swimming, snorkeling, bird watching, windsurfing, fishing and shelling at Cape Point, along the beach and the other beautiful inlets. I remember many a night sitting out on Cape Point and at Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet watching the fantastic sunsets, shooting stars and of course just sitting and enjoying the sounds of the lapping waves and watching the birds. Only if you have been there do you know that is only possible by access by vehicle. So it looks like those days are numbered and the ability to enjoy what was available to many for generations will only be available to those elite that are empowered to go out and enforce and control nature by shooting and trapping those animals they determine don’t belong. That leaves the beach and the unique and very special places that are only accessible by vehicle enjoyable by no one. I have been duped and brainwashed that I would help preserve these places for future generations and instead I am about to be barred from ever going there again. It is so sad and it is amazing that it could come to this. So for my final 30 years on this earth, the environmentalist have pushed me over the fence and I really can’t care anymore about what species may or may not survive at the sacrifice of humans peaceful enjoyment of our surrounding. I was foolish thinking that a group of humans with an agenda would really be helpful in maintaining an area for everyone to enjoy. It is obvious to me that it their plans are to revert areas to the conditions before man was on the earth by keeping them from it, what was I thinking, but it is my own fault.

Snowbird06
Former environmentalist: I truly feel sorry for your doomsayer comments...pathetic but also sad! Nobody wants to lock stock your playland but only to see that there is a fine balance between man and wildlife, a masterplan that can be implemented to please all responsible parties at the Cape. Your crocodile tears don't slay me for I have seen enough damage in my own backyard from ORV's...and that angers me with tears.

Get real, Ride a bike? on sand? and with all the tackle you would have to carry, oh but you would say we don't need the tackle cause we would be out to hurt the poor little fishes. You should really learn to think your way through life instead of FEELING everything. If you were to think intelligently about this whole thing you would see that we conserve and protect the flora and fauna of the outer banks as well as recreate. Like I said, GET REAL!!!!!!!

God bless this wonderful country that allows such a freedom of speech even for uninformed persons such as "Snowbird". He is allowed his opinion without regards to it's merit.

The shame of it all is that this we also have a freedom of litigation which allows lawsuits no matter how ignorant and unformed they may be.

That category fits the DOW and Audobon, who imo have no real concept of the beaches, wildlife, park service, or people who inhabit and PROTECT and PRESERVE the very areas that they are trying to close. If they had a clue (which they don't) they would see that the very people whose access they are trying to prohibit are the real stewards of the seashore.

How much money does the DOW and Audobon pull by promoting these ill-founded lawsuits? I bet they are giving themselves a good salary. What a scam they are.

Good luck to the OBXers,

Steve C.

Snow bird,

You strike me, per your comments, as someone who doesn't get off the couch much. Forgive me if that stings but in order to offer a valid and informed comment on the current situation at Cape Hatteras National Recreational Park you need to have been there at least once.

Do you live in a typical suburban neighborhood? How’s the wildlife doing? Are all the birds, insects, Turtles, snakes, worms and squirrels under stress and threatened by all the vehicle and pedestrian traffic that is typical in a suburban setting? Perhaps we should file a lawsuit to stop all vehicular and pedestrian traffic until an environmental impact study can be completed. Surely such a staunch defender of wildlife would be willing to give up your home and neighborhood on the slight chance that there might be a species of animal that is endangered by your impact on their environment.

I would suggest that the patrons of Cape Hatteras National Recreational Park are far better stewards of the environment than you and your neighbors are of theirs. Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Recreational Park don't dump insecticides and fertilizers on the ground to enhance the unnatural beauty of their environment. Most if not all are respectful and deeply appreciate the natural wonder and beauty of such a dynamic and special place.

My suggestion, for what it's worth, is for you to stop bloviating. and learn both sides thoroughly before offering up such a slanderous and unsubstantiated point of view.

Have a nice day.

Snowbird said: "Your crocodile tears don't slay me for I have seen enough damage in my own backyard from ORV's...and that angers me with tears."

Well, the choice sounds clear to me - focus your efforts on your own backyard and stay out of ours. Ours has been doing quite well long before you or I were impacting anything.

What is really not emphasized enough in any ofthtese posts is the extreme detrimenatl effect to those humans living on the island. And last time I checked our Heavenly Father placed humans on this earth to be the top of the pyramid, so to speak. It isn't just a few tackle shops that might go out of business. The entire economy of the island is based on the tourist industry and the greatest majority of that is based on surf fishing. Ride around and look at the rental homes, especially in the off season. The great majority of them have ORV's parked in their driveways with all the gear for surf fishing. The economic effect will begin wiht the tackle shops and like a domino will effect the rental industry, the restaurants, the motels, the other types of stores. People will be suddenly without jobs. As more and more businesses close, people who are native to the islands will be forced to leave the island altogether and that will begin to have an effect on the schools, the medical community, the public service agencies and obviously, the real estate industry.

One must consider that Hatteras Island is a unique recreational area. It isn't just a running 60'ish miles of government owned land. There are 8 villages interspersed along that line of national seashore recreational area. Those villages were there BEFORE the land was given to the government..long before. You cannot now go in there, some 50 years later and take away everything that these people need to survive. It would be comparable to the formation of Yellowstone around 8 individual towns and then shutting off access to those towns. What becomes of the people? Are thier lives and their histories so insignificant?

There is a marvelous history and culture to Hatteras Island that few people take the time to know. The natives are mostly descendants of shipwrecks off Diamond Shoals who scratched out a living on a sandbar. It is the home to submarine battles from WWII just off the coastline and before that the island played a pivotal role in the civil war. Some folks believe that Hatteras Island is the final destination of the Lost Colony and there is a great Native American Museum on the island to honor it's true original inhabitants.

What a shame and a loss when the island becomes simply a ghost town due to the lack of access to the beaches that draw the visitors there time and time again.

Doomsday? You bet 'ya. And anyone who doesnt believe that this is what the island will become has absolutely no idea of what Hatteras island is about and what make it work.

Snowbird06
I see the army coming after me but I won't flinch on my stand to help protect and stand for the preservation of all fur, fin and feather. I expect negative attacks coming at me, but that's part of the flack one takes for taking a hard stand. So, be it! As I said before, I did work in a similar environment like Cape Hatteras, but it was destroyed by over zealous politicians, planners and developers. So, I care about your backyard and other beautiful places (called our "crown jewels") and besides what makes your place so special that others can't debate and SHARE what can be (or at least contribute) done for the common good for the general environment at the Cape. Don't we all share the same common good to protect the environment from greed, rape and pillage? My back yard is your back if your willing to SHARE...and there's no need to be snotty about this Anonymous.
I have spent a lifetime outdoors as a government employee, backpacker, mountain biker and mountain climber. I'm definitely not elitist in any sense of the word, nor a professional tree hugger, or a hardcore Earth First member, but a concerned private citizen who truly wishes to see the Cape develop a major masterplan that meets the basic needs for it's wildlife to survive without undue harm, and with hopes that it would meet the common needs of visitors. Like Rodney King once said: "Can't we ALL get along"!?

So Snowbird...what do you suggest be done so that we can ALL get along?? because i completely agree with you.

Snowbird06
I simply advocate let the courts decide the case and await for the decision and proceed from there. Perhaps ad-hoc committees can dissect the decision and hash it out intelligently with some guide lines that we ALL can live by. I'm all for sport fishing when a decent environment can be provide without hassling the wildlife in it's natural habitat. In fact, out here in California we lost the salmon industry due to "poor resource planning"...and hopefully this won't be the case at Cape Hatteras. I think Big Red has done some good homework on the subject here on this blog and would be a good point man to take it one step further...how about it Big Red!? The ball is in your lap now!

It will be interesting if Judge Boyle takes into consideration the argument that the Intervenors for Dare & Hyde Co in NC that the Judge has no standing in dictating ORV management required by the Executive Orders. Their argument is he can order the Park Service to follow the Orders & develop a plan, which is being done with public input and thru NEPA as required by law. The Plaintiffs state the NPS has failed to develop a formal plan, which past superintendents have failed to do, but why should current park users suffer for their negligence?

Active management by Superintendent Murray resulted in the best plover fledging in years, despite the sub-optimal habitat. As in years past, eggs & biddies were lost to storms and predation, not to ORV users. And the least terns, which are claimed to have disappeared have found a wonderful, and successful nesting site on a spoil island in Hatteras Inlet.

If it were about the birds, NPS folks would shoo the birds away and hope they find Portsmouth Island and Cape Lookout National Seashore where there are miles of ideal habitat with excellent sound-side foraging areas for the chicks. Or create foraging areas around The Pond at Cape Point which has been off limit to ORV's for years.

I'm fascinated with the mantra of oil-dripping ORVs. I've had a 4X4 since '73 and beginning with a Subaru Wagon in '83 I haven't seen the first drop of oil in my driveway.

And Superintendent Murray's staff did an exhaustive job researching the name of the Seashore. And as pointed above, on the books it is still formally known as Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area.

Finally as for the Organic Act and “Primitive Wilderness”, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge snapped up a big piece of the north end of Hatteras Island and is the most man-modified section of the Island - berms , impoundments, controlled fires, extermination of resident Canada Geese, etc, etc. Other than a few ramps, minimal paved parking areas, a few campgrounds (no complaints about these) and the areas around the Lighthouse, the land in the Seashore has remained in a primitive condition with the ORV tracks on the beach rubbed out regularly with storms.

You keep asking the question how can vehicles be good for the beach environment. This is really not a valid point. You might ask the same question about yourself and anyone else. How is any human activity or even our existance good for the environment? What thing do any of us do that actually improves the natural environment? The point is you limit your adverse impact. I have been going to the outerbanks for over 20 years. I can tell you for an absolute certanty that my vehicle has always left with more trash than we brought. Most of the time it is trash that has washed in (I assume) from the village beaches or boats. I have seen and done it my self, people chase a windblown piece of trash 50 yards down the beach. The vast majority of beach drivers follow all regulations and are good stewards.

Snowbird06 sez;
If one considers that 90% of are beaches in the world today are slowing dying from of lack of conscientious environment care, then I consider Cape Hatteras National Seashore is surely one of them. Now, get those oil dripping gas guzzling ORV's off the beaches. We have enough human crap fouling up the oceans today. Just asked any competent marine biologist.

Do you live near any streams? Do you drive a car? Ever wonder where the water goes when it rains? Into the streams in many cases. Oil from your car (and millions of others) drips on the road and washes into the streams, streams go to the rivers, rivers to the sea. Which has more impact on the oceans? Trucks on the beach or cars on the road?

Dear Snowbird
I have sat here and read all of your comments...now you say "over here in California"....so you are on the other side of the country ,never been to Cape Hatteras, and have never seen the beauty we all cherrish here ....never met the wonderful people you are commenting on , calasly talking of destroying their lives....Well I am one of those people who will lose everything if the beaches are closed to orvs ....my business depends on it ..I will be forced into bakruptcy...My grandparents brought me here in the 60s..I have been coming here every since....I always wanted to live here , for the beauty , the incredible wildlife ,and ofcorse the fishing ....I saved and struggled to be able to do so .It took everything I had, to open my business ...I make an honest living, I am not getting rich by any means .But I am able to live in what I consider to be the most beautiful place in the world and have met some great people from all around the world....The DOW and the Audobaun are gonna end all of that ....I guess my concern is that the great people who ACTUALLY LIVE HERE ,don't count..it is sad that this country has come to this point , Thanks again Snowbird for confirming that ...Its a sad situation for all of us ,for I will not be alone in losing everything.

Snowbird,

You seem about as far left as it comes. So I must ask do you buy carbon credits? I suppose you drive an electric hybrid if you dont ride a bike.... those poor insects you must kil.. Do you walk to work? Are you a vegetarian? How dare you kill those plants then. Why are you using that terrible computer, don't you know that the production of plastics releases terrible toxins into the environment, and God knows its not all recycable? Speaking of God, are you him? you seem to know what is best for everyone else on earth, yet have shown zero knowledge other than your opinion, on quite frankly a place you only wished you could live in.

In case you did'nt know these disgusting dirty beaches, were rated #1 in the country two years ago (with the gas guzzling suvs).

And if you believe everything everyone tells you, including the Audobon society, and the DOW, I guess you also would agree with all the reasons we went to Iraq. And Everything Pres. Bush says must be fact.

There is a reason a food chain exsists, and like it or not we are on the top. Well most of us anyways.

Jimmy, Big Red,Big El, Reel Beach User, Justwannafish, 525Mag, Bird Dog, Hatteras Lady, Longcaster, Former Environmentalist, Hannibal...................
I wish I had your eloquence.........Anyone who cannot feel the passion of this group to preserve this perishable resource for all users and the users to come has missed the boat in more ways than one.

Snowbird, This group and thousands of users at Cape Hatteras are distinctly better stewards of the environment than many that oppose ORV access for this reason.....these folks are not paid to be stewards they do the right things for the right reasons out of their own pockets !!

NCBBA #5559 Life Member

Snowbird, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that you truly want free and open beaches for all with a balanced plan in place to allow for the native wildlife to flourish unfettered by human involvement.

If the course that we are currently on, with a judge who has shown that he leans one way more than the other, is seen through without some common sense applied to the situation. Access to all seashore in the Cape Hatteras Seashore Recreational area will be denied, at a minimum for the next three years. This is the projected time frame for completing an accepted and agreed upon management plan for the park.

In three years how much of the local economy do you think will have survived? Perhaps your thoughts are, the strong will survive or perhaps you think that it can't possibly suffer that much in just three years. This summer the tourist from all over North America will descend on the Outer banks only to discover to there dismay that they can't go to the beach driving or walking. This is what the Plaintiffs in the Lawsuit are after. They won't make return reservations for 2009. This fall the fishermen and wildlife enthusiast won't return. The local economies depend on these two events for their very survival. When the tourist industry on Cape Hatteras crashes it will open the door for whom. I can assure you it won't be tree huggers. It will be investors with an eye toward development. If you understand the politics and the economics of a state such as California perhaps you think that this would never be allowed. But this isn't California its North Carolina and this is not a rich state. Other than Charlotte and The triangle area the Outer banks provides a substantial part of the tax revenues for the state. Without this revenue the state will be desperate to replace these revenues. The investors with powerful political friends will have their way and the thing you claim to hate most will happen at Cape Hatteras. The unspoiled beauty of the Outer banks will be lost forever and it will become the next Myrtle Beach. Wonder what happened to the birds down there?

I respect your passion and this is not an attack, but don't become blinded to the reality of life in the 21st century.

I remember that! I picked up a bunch of those bags of Doritos and threw them in my truck and put them in the dumpster at the beach entrance. Thats a habit of all the fishermen I know, picking up trash found on the beach. I love going to the Outer Banks and using my truck to access the beach that is offered to me.

There are more animals killed in the Hatteras recreation area by natural predators or shotgun wielding park rangers than by fishermen using off road vehicles. It's ironic that Defenders of Wildlife rose to poplarity after their efforts to protect wolves. They didn't have much to say about the park ranger taking aim on this Hatteras wolf:

I agree, there is a food chain, then why does NPS shoot fox (see the pictures of the ranger taking a bead on a cute little fox with his shotgun), poison the fox, raccoons, cats, and other native wildlife in the Cape Point area in the guise of protecting the plover. I also agree that tire tracks have a tendency to ruin a pristine environment, so do the marks left by skiers on freshly fallen snow, I think we should stop all skiing so that I can enjoy the freshly fallen snow out west... from my NYC apartment window.

Snowbird,

How DARE you take an oil-dripping machine like a mountain bike into a pristine wilderness! How could you possible cause ruts and erosion like that!?! Could you not have walked instead of riding your environment-damaging machinery?

If you have seen the beach after a hard storm (which you admit you haven't), you would know that the tire tracks are erased by the wind and water. Now go back to where you rode your bike and see if the trail is still there...

You are a hypocrite.

Jeff

Wow, talk about timing, I have to admit that over development along the "left" coast is a problem. The development along the outer beaches of Hatteras Island has remained reasonable over the 25+ years I have visited, locals realize that they have a prize and keep it that way through strict building regulations and restrictions. Nothing like what happened to Ocean City ,MD. I have 2 words for CA. and there coastal development problem: Eminent Domain. Take the market value, subtract the cost of environmental damage caused, offer it to the property owners and say "I'll be back", (with bulldozers). Hasta la vista baby!!!