Draft Environmental Impact Statement on ORV Use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Released

Cape Hatteras National Seashore has released a hefty draft environmental impact statement that addressed ORV management on the seashore.

Improved access for vehicles and pedestrians, better parking, and vehicle capacity limits are among the items contained in the draft off-road-vehicle management plan released Friday by Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials.

The voluminous draft environmental impact statement, spanning more than 800 pages, seeks to find a suitable middle ground between the access ORVers want and protection for threatened or endangered shorebirds and sea turtles sought by environmental and conservation groups. It will be open for public review for 60 days before a final decision is made on an official ORV management plan for the seashore.

The spit of sand that buffers the North Carolina coast from the worst the Atlantic Ocean can toss at it carries an array of contentious issues that seemingly have no easy answers. Foremost among the issues at the national seashore is the use of off-road vehicles to negotiate beaches that are either far from parking lots or which are just far enough from those lots to make it difficult to carry all your gear for a weekend fishing trip.

Cape Hatteras, authorized as America's first national seashore in 1937 but not actually established until 1953, is a beach lover's jewel. The heart of North Carolina's Outer Banks, the cape offers some of the best beaches in the country, is renowned for its surf fishing, has some of the East Coast's best waves for surfing, and has a decided tinge of wildness that is a welcome respite from the Mid-Atlantic's metropolitan areas.

But the seashore's lack of an official ORV management plan led conservation groups a few years back to sue the National Park Service to protect bird and turtle nesting from ORV traffic.

That lack of a formal management plan has "led over time to inconsistent management of ORV use, user conflicts, and safety concerns," as the DEIS notes, and nearly prompted a federal judge to ban ORV traffic entirely. He acquiesced when a management team representing both the Park Service and the opposing groups agreed to work toward a long-term plan while temporary rules were instituted to protect shorebird and sea turtle nesting sites by seasonally and intermittently restricting beach driving access to popular fishing areas.

Environmentalists defended the strict controls on beach driving, arguing that protecting wildlife resources should trump recreationists’ demands for convenient ORV access to the beach. Beach driving fishermen have strongly protested the strict rules. They argue that the federal government has greatly exaggerated the threat posed to wildlife by ORV driving on the beach, and that the current rules make it unreasonably difficult to get to traditionally popular fishing areas. Area businesses detest the restrictions too, citing reduced spending by ORV users.

With that as a backdrop, seashore officials have produced a DEIS that looks at five options, two of which essentially are "no action" proposals. Among the provisions of the seashore's preferred alternative are:

* A permit system for ORV access, although no permit limit would be instituted;

* Annual and short-term permits would be available;

* There would be a "carrying-capacity requirement (peak use limit) for all areas based on a physical space requirement of one vehicle per 20 linear feet for Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island Districts, except that 400 vehicles would be allowed within a 1-mile area centered on Cape Point";

* There would be a variety of access points for "both ORV and pedestrian users, including access to the spits and points, but often with controls or restrictions in place to limit impacts on sensitive resources. This means that some areas may be kept open to ORV users for longer periods of time by reopening some ORV corridors at the spits and points sooner
after shorebird breeding activity is completed" than would be allowed in other alternatives, "or by improving interdunal road and ORV ramp access";

* Increasing parking at pedestrian-access points leading to vehicle-free areas of the seashore, and;

* Seasonal and year-round ORV routes would be designated, although they still could be impacted by temporary closures "when protected-species breeding behavior warrants and/or if new habitat is created."

It's worth noting that while the number of sea turtle nests observed on Cape Hatteras in 2009 slightly declined from 2008, the 104 verified nests were far above the 43 counted just five years ago. Those 2009 nests also produced roughly 5,000 turtle hatchlings, according to the seashore's annual sea turtle report.

Comments

Kurt/Hunter I do personally know Mr Alan Pitt (Dapster) and he has stated many times that you (Kurt) are a guy who looks at both sides of the issue. I would also like to point out that the NPS did in fact develop an ORV system and sent it to Washington only to have them lose it. I would also like to state that we instituted the interim plan which provided protections to the VERY FEW birds (albeit not the size of an aircraft carrier) but having personally driven on these beaches I can tell you there was loads of space for them to thrive (not scientifically derived). If one is to really look at the populations spread of the piping plover along the east coast you will see they tend to do better in areas that are less prone to weather related issues. One also has to understand why everyone (or 99%) of people use their 4x4 vehicles on the beaches of Cape Hatteras. We only use these to get us from point A to point B. We do not ride for the sake as riding. The Majority of people use their 4x4s in Cape Hatteras as any other person would use them to get to the store from their home, to get to their job from their home, to get to their national park parking lot. I mention this because I have personally experienced both walking onto the beaches (at Frisco Pier) and driving out on either Ramp 49 or to the point. If I had my choice it would be driving. This is not because I am lazy, handicapped, etc... It is because I have a 5 and 2 year old and we like to spend on average of 6 to 8 hours on the beach each day (1 week a year). Yes even the tire tracks are gone as soon as the wind blows or the surf rises. My vehicle I drive is a 2007 chevy truck and it does not leak OIL and the same can be said for Alan Pitts, and the majority of the people who frequent the beach. I know this because these are our daily driving vehicles and not some ATV or Dune buggy. I do know that we will not win the hearts of those who do not get to experience this wonderful place personally, but they must understand Cape Hatteras has no better stewards than the ones who know it best. Belive me it is not the Lawyers sitting in Charlottesville or anywhere else.

Spotsylvania, VA
6 trips per year (used to be more for all this ridiculousness!!!)

The NPS should be ashamed of the mess THEY created. They also should be ashamed of the lack of stewardship of the park, not picking up trash, not draining pond, not fixing ramps, not providing enough parking, not maintaining the campgrounds, not providing corridors, not providing nesting areas, not realizing they are killing animals for nothing, not following NEPA, and finally not standing up to the junk science backed lawyers. I think they proven they can NOT manage the park in any way. I think we should allow the state to mange this area, since its painfully obvious that the NPS can not handle it.

The mess the NPS created? Who pulled political strings to get the previous plans "disappeared" in DC? Who pulled political strings to send Belli packing after he said he was initiating more protections for the wildlife? Audubon?

@Matt: Thanks for bringing sanity and civility back into this discussion. As someone who has never been to Cape Hatteras I can build my opinion only on data and none the least this discussion here. And I'd like to add an aspect that was hinted on before but never spoken out directly:

This might be an issue of aesthetics and portrayed image as well. National Parks are for most of their supporters very much about wilderness, self restraint, self propelled activity, low impact recreation and the like. Parking a 4x4 truck at the water line and thus bringing with you everything including the kitchen sink to me is a violation of my mental image of a National Park.

If I am right, this issue is not just one of scientific data but mostly one of perception. And never underestimate this motivation.

MRC you are welcome. Even though your sarcasm is typical. You are correct in stating that Cape Hatteras does not scream your typical National Park as it is not. It is a National Seashore operated by the National Park system. Please look again at Mr Alan Pitts (Dapster) Picture showing the two areas both Driving and Walking and even one who is full of sarcastic beliefs can see the difference. There is no way to compare a National Park versus a National Seashore for access. But you can compare how they are managed. Yellowstone for example has many miles of paved roads for access, many bridges and man-made walkways for access, Hiking trails for access, convienance centers for access, handicapped access and all of this is directly through the heart of the actual National Park without as much as a whine from environmentalists on how the affects of humans being in direct contact with NATURE is affecting NATURE. We in Cape Hatteras are fighting for ACCESS for us our families and future generations, becuase if the environmentalists have thier way Humans cannot even set foot on the beach (see environmentalists recommended alternative in the DEIS)

P.S. I do not carry a kitchen sink, but I do carry an easy-up, medium cooler, towels, chairs, sunblock, food, drink, diapers for my youngest, and even my kayak to surf a few waves.

The temperature reading by Dapster only demonstrates why vehicles should be excluded from beaches where birds nest. Studies of nesting American oystercatchers clearly show that 50% fewer chicks survive on beaches where vehicles are allowed. Why? Because the chicks spend their entire day hiding in the hot sand and dunes where they die from overheating, starvation because they can't get to the intertidal zone to forage, or they get eaten by predators. When vehicles are excluded, the chicks spend most of their time in the interttidal zone on the beach. Studies of piping plovers show the same. You made the point quite well Dapster...

The NPS proposes to give away one of our nation's great treasures to appease a minority special interest group who think the only way to enjoy the beach is to drive on it, no matter what they have to kill in the process. And minority indeed: the only objective study of visitors concluded that only 7-11% of the visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore drive on the beach--MINORITY. NPS should indeed be ashamed for allowing the abuse of the seashore to go on so long and for proposing that it continue with the DEIS.

Driving on the beach harms wildlife and is not compatible with the our National Seashores (you can change the name if you want but it does not change the mandates).

Hunter, the group in general:

I will certainly come to Kurt's defense on this, as he has written some of the most objective nationally viewed literature on the subject to date. Most other forms of media have been far more harsh to our side of the story than NPT has. The discussions allowed in this forum are clear evidence of Kurt's willingness to let us speak our piece. His style of moderation is both consistent and fair, as I've only seen/heard of the most heinous posts being deleted. I moderate a forum on NC Political issues myself, and I can tell you it is NOT an easy job.

Do he and I see completely eye-to-eye on this issue, or any of the others that we may discuss? Likely not, but that doesn't stand in the way of having an amicable relationship where we truly listen to one another's points and sympathize with each others passions. One thing that we definitely DO agree on is a general love for our National Parks.

We should all be thankful to have such a place where we can freely express our opinions, within reason, and learn from one another, for in my mind that's what discussion forums are for. Half bully pulpit and Half classroom.

*************************************************************

"This might be an issue of aesthetics and portrayed image as well. National Parks are for most of their supporters very much about wilderness, self restraint, self propelled activity, low impact recreation and the like. Parking a 4x4 truck at the water line and thus bringing with you everything including the kitchen sink to me is a violation of my mental image of a National Park."

MRC,

Duly noted. For those not from the area, the images might come as an affront, but to many of us who frequent the area, these images are things of beauty to us, but I question your assertion that "Most" National Park supporters share your views. Maybe most that you personally know/interact with is more accurate?

Remember that by your own words, parking a 4X4 at the water line is a violation of YOUR mental image of a National Park. That is certainly your right to determine, but I would ask that you keep an open mind as to what others may consider to be their version of the "perfect" park.

Spottail Do you really think before you write? These birds are already nesting on the hot sand you say 4x4's force them into. If indeed you did your research you would also find out these birds nest on top of flat roofed buildings off the main road on the island (that is it, close down the Foodlion)

Also we do not drive on the beach for recreation we drive on the beach to get to recreation.

We need a better informed class of environmentalist, oops no we don't they have lawyers.

“The temperature reading by Dapster only demonstrates why vehicles should be excluded from beaches where birds nest. Studies of nesting American oystercatchers clearly show that 50% fewer chicks survive on beaches where vehicles are allowed. Why? Because the chicks spend their entire day hiding in the hot sand and dunes where they die from overheating, starvation because they can't get to the intertidal zone to forage, or they get eaten by predators. When vehicles are excluded, the chicks spend most of their time in the interttidal zone on the beach. Studies of piping plovers show the same. You made the point quite well Dapster...”

My, spottail, how quickly you latch onto something trivial, spin it, and trumpet it to the heavens!

Please pay attention. That reading was taken in JULY, when the majority of the birds have fledged, and the discussion was impediments to crossing dunes. Plus, I know of a story where shorebirds, (LETE, Maybe? Don’t recall…), where nesting on the roof of a nearby Food Lion, where the aggregate temp’s can reach 150 DF. I guess this nesting pair didn’t get your memo about intertidal zones and all that. The birds are in many cases at the intertidal zone because the NPS refuses to clear vegetation around the salt pond to open up the MOSH habitat that they prefer.

Would you care to share the studies you are referencing? Here’s a few for you on PIPL et al in relation to ORV’s:

**********************************************************************************

Thomsen 2006 Productivity of PIPL on Long Island NY

-Higher productivity appeared to be only slightly correlated with increasing distance from parking lots, roads, residential areas and little to no difference in mean productivity was observed in levels of ORV access.

-When all years pooled together (2003, 2004, 2005) mean productivity was not significantly greater between the levels of ORV access.

-Perhaps more unexpected is the apparent lack of effect of ORV access on productivity. However, even though in some years productivity was quite high in areas of unrestricted ORV access, the success of these nests had little effect on overall productivity.

****************************************************************************

…and another:

Callazo, 1995

-Both parks CAHA and CALO provide nesting habitat for significant portions of regional populations of nesting CWB.

-Protection of nesting sites has allowed beach nesters to be successful most years in spite of heavy use of the beaches by people. This strategy is now being copied by the state of NC at Fort Fisher and is allowing nesting to be successful there as well.

-Growth of vegetation is slowed by frequent overwash and now by the action of ORVs.

-Recommend ORV use be allowed at Cape Point and Hatteras Inlet.

-Found PIPL are only rarely disturbed by encounters with people, ORVs, and planes.

-At present level of park use, park closures would likely have minimal effect on PIPL reproductive success.

-Recommend vegetation removal from Cape Point along the south side of the brackish pond, growth should be monitored and maintained.

-Preservation of interior wet and mud flats on CAHA is critical, otherwise PIPL may only find suitable foraging habitat along the ocean intertidal zone where human disturbance is a likely problem. At present (1995), beach closures are unnecessary and not likely to favorably impact breeding on the islands.

******************************************************************************************

…and another:

Biological Opinion from USFWS 1/2006

-For the past couple of years, ORV corridors have been used in certain areas of CAHA to provide for recreational use and access while insuring areas are also provided for protection of natural resources.

-During territory establishment, foraging adults exibit a preference for MOSH (moist substrate habitat) for foraging, especially intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Keane et al in press). Such habitat has a higher abundance of arthopods than drier zones which sites studies (Hoopes 1993, Loegering and Fraser 1995, Kuklinski et al 1996, Elias et al 2000).

-In 1996, potential human disturbance sources appeared to remain outside the areas, and predation rather than disturbance was considered the major direct threat to reproductive success (Kuklinski 1996)

-The US Atlantic Loggerhead population has increased since listed, from approximately 14150 animals in 1983 (NMFS and USFWS 1991a) to between 32000-56000 by the year 2000 (Ehrhart et al 2003).

-No studies have been done to date (01/2006) to ascertain the actual reasons behind false crawls at CAHA.

-Turtle nest depredation by mammals, birds and ghost crabs may eliminate 100% of productivity on beaches where it is not managed (Natural Resources Council 1990).

-With the presence of trained NPS staff in the areas, CAHA will be able to keep apprised of bird behavior, locations, and also to inform the public of the alternate routes and ways to reduce their effects on PIPL (i.e. removing trash, reducing speed limit, ect).

-The proposed strategy, IMS, would likely benefit chicks given the continuous day time staff obserations until the brood fledeges.

-The proposed strategy, IMS, is likely to have positive effects on PIPL given that the interior areas (non-ORV) at the spits and cape point provide for MOSH, mud flats, algal flats, ephemeral ponds and similar habitat important for PIPL foraging and roosting.

-The management actions that will be implimented, IMS, to protect PIPL, turtles, and or Seabeach Amaranth will also improve and protect CWBs.

-Threats to AMOY are less than 2% ORV

*********************************************************************************************

“The NPS proposes to give away one of our nation's great treasures to appease a minority special interest group who think the only way to enjoy the beach is to drive on it, no matter what they have to kill in the process. And minority indeed: the only objective study of visitors concluded that only 7-11% of the visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore drive on the beach--MINORITY. NPS should indeed be ashamed for allowing the abuse of the seashore to go on so long and for proposing that it continue with the DEIS.”

“Give Away”?!?!? Pure hyperbole, as is your continued use of the term “Minority Special Interests”. Does the position of Dare County NC itself on the matter constitute “Minority Special Interests” to you? http://www.preservebeachaccess.org/

Plus, how can a grass-roots, barely funded loose “minority” coalition force the hands of the mighty NPS/DOI to its bidding, when we are up against forces like NC Audobon, Defenders of Wildlife, and the SELC? To suggest so is completely illogical.

How about the fact that several NC and VA Senators, (from both sides of the aisle, BTW), have signed on in support/con-sponsorship of bills HR718/S1557, which seeks to overturn the court ordered Consent Decree? Do you think they would be acting if a majority of their constituents had not enticed them to? If that still means “minority” to you, I can help you to understand the definition no further, other than to say you are completely wrong on this.

“Driving on the beach harms wildlife and is not compatible with our National Seashores (you can change the name if you want but it does not change the mandates).”

No, not compatible with YOUR VERSION of “our” National Seashores, and “harming wildlife” is an overstatement. Shame on YOU for not trusting your NPS officials to do the right thing for all species, including humans. Please also keep in mind that the DEIS was NOT created in a vacuum.

Show me the proof supporting your statements. I have shown you mine.

*********************************************************************

PS:

For those who still might not believe in the existence of the “RA” in CHNSRA, here are some NPS brochures that predate the era when the name was truncated.

1950’s(?)

1960’s(?)

Thanks for the pictures Dapster.Its funny the name Recreation Area did not appear on a HUNTING brochure since that is what we are led to believe was the only reason to change the name.One quick fact from the US Fish and Wildlife website addressing ESA.The Piping Plover is listed as threatened but Oyster Catchers,Lest Terns and other birds are not on the list for North Carolina as some would want you to think.Again I will ask everyone to read the history of CHNSRA on the NPS website as it shows the conflicts that have plagued the seashore since its formation.If only they had written a 800 page definition of recreation some 70 years ago we could all be fishing,swimming,boating,bird watching all together.

Stick to the subject Dapster. We're talking about Cape Hatteras National Seashore, not the world. The NPS does not manage the world, just the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It matters not one bit how the world's loggerhead population is doing, it only matters how they are doing on Cape Hatteras National Seashore and they had the two highest numbers of nests ever recorded on Cape Hatteras National Seashore during the past 2 seasons. And you're selectively using literature and mixing up species. And you have shown nothing but selective, misrepresented statements from a few scientific publications. Shame on you Dapster for trying to deliberately mislead people. And you are correct that I give no credibility to what Dare County says. So why are the NC legislators introducing a bill to overturn the consent decree? Could it be that this is merely and end-around the legal process because they know they would not have a chance in a court of law? And why would they not have a chance in court? Of course it's because the Interim Plan could not stand the scrutiny of a court of law; it was not consistent with the law, so the only way for the minority special interest vehicle advocates to get their way was to make up a chicken little story and convince the NC legislators to introduce a bill to take over management of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Great move, now legislators not the NPS, will be managing the Seashore. Luckily, the rest of the legislators in the US are much smarter than that and they know what a bad move that would be.

Once again, go back and do your homework Dapster, and you can call the National Seashore anything you want, but it does not change the law and mandates under which the seashore must be managed and natural resources protected.

I say let's call it Cape Hatteras Recreational ORV Playground and Parking Lot. It seems that is what NPS wants.

Editor's note: OK folks, let's try to stay civil. We really don't like to spend time deleting words that add nothing but only are intended to inflame or belittle.

Whoa spottail! You sure get flustered when someone calls your bluff. I wanna play poker with you!

The half truths you "reference" amount to nothing more than fear mongering. But you probably already know this.

Please work to be more scholarly and less emotional in the future. I'm sure folks on all sides of the issue will appreciated it.

Thanks!

"Stick to the subject Dapster."

Pot, Kettle, Meet Black.

"We're talking about Cape Hatteras National Seashore, not the world. The NPS does not manage the world, just the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It matters not one bit how the world's loggerhead population is doing, it only matters how they are doing on Cape Hatteras National Seashore and they had the two highest numbers of nests ever recorded on Cape Hatteras National Seashore during the past 2 seasons."

1. That statement runs totally counter to most species-oriented recovery statements I've ever heard.

2. If you dig deeper, you'll see that the entire EAST COAST and other ares of NC and SC had banner years that mirror that of CHNSRA, all without draconian measures.

"And you're selectively using literature and mixing up species. And you have shown nothing but selective, misrepresented statements from a few scientific publications. Shame on you Dapster for trying to deliberately mislead people. And you are correct that I give no credibility to what Dare County says. So why are the NC legislators introducing a bill to overturn the consent decree? Could it be that this is merely and end-around the legal process because they know they would not have a chance in a court of law? And why would they not have a chance in court? Of course it's because the Interim Plan could not stand the scrutiny of a court of law; it was not consistent with the law, so the only way for the minority special interest vehicle advocates to get their way was to make up a chicken little story and convince the NC legislators to introduce a bill to take over management of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Great move, now legislators not the NPS, will be managing the Seashore. Luckily, the rest of the legislators in the US are much smarter than that and they know what a bad move that would be."

1. Sorry you don't care for my science, but it stands on its own nonetheless. Collazzo was referenced extensively during the Reg-Neg process on the Enviro side. I still have yet to see yours, by-the-by.

2. I'm not surprised you disagree with the stance of an entire County Commission.

3. The Interim Plan was NEPA approved, I believe, and in place way before Environmental NGO's did their own little "End-Around". While the effort is likely to fail, it goes far to illustrate the collective will of the American Citizens of this region. Marginalize them at your peril.

4. Great move indeed. Now a Federal Judge, the NC Audobon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Southern Environmental Law Center are effectively running CHNSRA.

"Once again, go back and do your homework Dapster, and you can call the National Seashore anything you want, but it does not change the law and mandates under which the seashore must be managed and natural resources protected.

I say let's call it Cape Hatteras Recreational ORV Playground and Parking Lot. It seems that is what NPS wants."

Homework done months ago! You can wrap yourself in the Organic Act all you like, but the wording of the Enabling Legislation of the park, coupled with Cultural & Traditional land useage aspects alone give this issue a strong enough case to stand up well in any courtroom, and possibly even prevail. Ask the Inuet about that one...

I fully expect we shall all soon see the final chapter of this played out precisely there, in a court of law.

There was an interesting conversation today in my constitutional law class about trying to read too much into legislative intent (eg - what Congress did or didn't mean by Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area). The discussion was prompted by this passage in Justice's Scalia's dissenting opinion in Edwards v Aguillard, a case the Supreme Court heard in the 1980s regarding evolution, creation, and religion in schools:

"But the difficulty of knowing what vitiating purpose one is looking for is as nothing compared with the difficulty of knowing how or where to find it. For while it is possible to discern the objective "purpose" of a statute (i.e., the public good at which its provisions appear to be directed), or even the formal motivation for a statute where that is explicitly set forth (as it was, to no avail, here), discerning the subjective motivation of those enacting the statute is, to be honest, almost always an impossible task. The number of possible motivations, to begin with, is not binary, or indeed even finite. In the present case, for example, a particular legislator need not have voted for the Act either because he wanted to foster religion or because he wanted to improve education. He may have thought the bill would provide jobs for his district, or may have wanted to make amends with a faction of his party he had alienated on another vote, or he may have been a close friend of the bill's sponsor, or he may have been repaying a favor he owed the majority leader, or he may have hoped the Governor would appreciate his vote and make a fund-raising appearance for him, or he may have been pressured to vote for a bill he disliked by a wealthy contributor or by a flood of constituent mail, or he may have been seeking favorable publicity, or he may have been reluctant to hurt the feelings of a loyal staff member who worked on the bill, or he may have been settling an old score with a legislator who opposed the bill, or he may have been mad at his wife, who opposed the bill, or he may have been intoxicated and utterly unmotivated when the vote was called, or he may have accidentally voted "yes" instead of "no," or, of course, he may have had (and very likely did have) a combination of some of the above and many other motivations. To look for the sole purpose of even a single legislator is probably to look for something that does not exist.....Because there are no good answers to these questions, this Court has recognized from Chief Justice Marshall, see Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch 87, 130 (1810), to Chief Justice Warren, United States v. O'Brien, supra, at 383-384, that determining the subjective intent of legislators is a perilous enterprise. See also Palmer v. Thompson, 403 U.S. 217, 224-225 (1971); Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. at 113 (Black, J., concurring). It is perilous, I might note, not just for the judges who will very likely reach the wrong result, [p639] but also for the legislators who find that they must assess the validity of proposed legislation -- and risk the condemnation of having voted for an unconstitutional measure -- not on the basis of what the legislation contains, nor even on the basis of what they themselves intend, but on the basis of what others have in mind."

Moral to the story: Let's not focus on 'intent' behind the name of Cape Hatteras, whatever you believe it to rightly be. Let's focus on the laws that are actually on the books and the impact(s) that ORV have on the park and its resources.

Spottail,
One can't attribute the nest totals for the species on Hatteras to a management action that is only a couple of years old. Especially in the case of sea turtles that only nest every 2-3 years. Any increase in nesting females would be the result of recruitment, on which the consent decree can have no effect, since that is dependent on hatching conditions as long as 40 years ago and those individuals surviving to adulthood.

Dap,
The point is, there could be 100 plover or whatever on Cora June, but if there are none on Hatteras, the Park Service has failed in its obligations. I'm also in favor of recognizing and making special arrangements to honor Culture and Tradition. But that would require they be direct descendants of the original families.

Cro

I love that one would consider if no plovers nested on Cape hatteras a failure on the part of the NPS. The fact that no more than 20 nests has ever been reported on an island with 60 plus miles of beach should be proof enough that conditions are not right for them to thrive. That cannot be blamed on the NPS, ORV's, or even humans. The fact that the fledge rate of chicks is realy small is that the natural and unatural predators seem to like the taste of baby plover (read the Plover reports from the NPS and if you do you will notice not one incident with a Plover was caused by humans).

PS. to all who argue the point in favor of these Plovers.... Why do you not make the same efforts at Virginia beach, miami beach, daytona beach, etc...

This comment was edited to remove gratuitous language. -- Ed.

Anon,

"Moral to the story: Let's not focus on 'intent' behind the name of Cape Hatteras, whatever you believe it to rightly be. Let's focus on the laws that are actually on the books and the impact(s) that ORV have on the park and its resources."

With all due respect, you bring up valid points, but I don't believe the two can be seperated. Plus, how can we NOT look at something as important as the enabling legislation that created the very park itself? Do you deem it null and void? If so, why does it even exist in the first place? I can't believe that any court in the land would see it in such a light, but that remains to be seen.

************************************************************************

Crot,

Good stuff on both points. Thanks for chiming in, and lending your expertise where mine falls short.

"The point is, there could be 100 plover or whatever on Cora June, but if there are none on Hatteras, the Park Service has failed in its obligations. I'm also in favor of recognizing and making special arrangements to honor Culture and Tradition. But that would require they be direct descendants of the original families."

You and I have discussed this ad nauseum, and while I fully comprehend your position, (and even partially agree), I think the NPS has failed PIPL in more ways than one. Their reluctance/refusal/whatever to clear the vegetation from around the salt pond has denied them of their prime habitat, increased the areas where predators can hide/live, and forced the plovers into the same areas as humans. I just can't fathom why this is allowed to continue. Can you shed any light on this?

Glad to hear you agree on the C&T aspect, but are you certain about the direct descendant part? So a "Non-Native" wife of a netboat operator could not participate due to bloodline? I dunno....

Matt,
"I love that one would consider if no plovers nested on Cape hatteras a failure on the part of the NPS. The fact that no more than 20 nests has ever been reported on an island with 60 plus miles of beach should be proof enough that conditions are not right for them to thrive. That cannot be blamed on the NPS, ORV's, or even humans. The fact that the fledge rate of chicks is realy small is that the natural and unatural predators seem to like the taste of baby plover (read the Plover reports from the NPS and if you do you will notice not one incident with a Plover was caused by humans)."

Correct. Under the Consent Decree, and the previous interim plan, there were no documented interactions with humans. What about the period prior to that? And, let's see, they've only been looking for plovers on Hatteras (that I can find) for the last 30-40 years. What about the period prior to that? They didn't exist because no one was looking for them? Finally, there are 5-6 areas with the preferred habitat for plover, so your claim that they don't nest on the all of the island somehow reflects on the suitability of the those parts (preferred habitat) of Hatteras for nesting is disingenuous. Anywhere they nest, it's on points or spits, not on the long stretches of beach away from an inlet.

"PS. to all who argue the point in favor of these Plovers.... Why do you not make the same efforts at Virginia beach, miami beach, daytona beach, etc..." First, plovers don't nest to the south of northern South Carolina. Second, they do nest in Virginia ... to the tune of more than 200 pairs.

"I can answer for you.... because you do not understand enough about these animals to make a educated statement. You simply sit in your chair miles from the action and spew uneducated statements you read somewhere in an advertisment for birkenstocks." After your previous ill-informed statements, perhaps you should refrain from making comments about the education of others?

Cro

Dap,
I could only venture a guess, but would assume any such habitat restoration would be as convoluted as the DEIS and require wetlands mitigation, CAMA approval, etc, etc and take 30 years.

Spouses would be okay.

Dap,

I'm not saying don't look at the enabling legislation (indeed, I meant the exact opposite by saying "Let's focus on the laws that are actually on the books...")

Instead, I mean to say that the Supreme Court has said time and time again that focusing on things like "well, what exactly did the legislative body mean by calling it CHNSRA" or "what was their intent here?" isn't a particularly fruitful effort. Following that line of reasoning, I'd submit that it's similarly fruitless to fuss over what Congress did or didn't mean with the park's name. Instead, we ought to look at what the laws actually, physically say in black and white.

Clear as mud?

dapster:
Anon,

"Moral to the story: Let's not focus on 'intent' behind the name of Cape Hatteras, whatever you believe it to rightly be. Let's focus on the laws that are actually on the books and the impact(s) that ORV have on the park and its resources."

With all due respect, you bring up valid points, but I don't believe the two can be seperated. Plus, how can we NOT look at something as important as the enabling legislation that created the very park itself? Do you deem it null and void? If so, why does it even exist in the first place? I can't believe that any court in the land would see it in such a light, but that remains to be seen.

I didn't see any call that the enabling legislation be ignored. I thought that the contention was that "legislative intent" can be very difficult to determine because there are diverse reasons for why a law was written the way it was or voted on by Congress. Even what you quoted says "Let's focus on the laws...."

Introductions are in order!

Cro, Matt. Matt, Cro. (I'm Godfadda to Matt's firstborn, but beyond that I have absolutely no control...) Cro I know under a pseudonym on another forum or two.

"Finally, there are 5-6 areas with the preferred habitat for plover, so your claim that they don't nest on the all of the island somehow reflects on the suitability of the those parts (preferred habitat) of Hatteras for nesting is disingenuous. Anywhere they nest, it's on points or spits, not on the long stretches of beach away from an inlet."

Granted, and the true INLET points are the more preferred-of-the-preferred, due to the more overwash fan geography, better protection from the elements, and transitional mud flats, correct?

I've often wondered if the salt pond, the Buxton sedge/maritime swamp and the surrounding flats did not exist, would PIPL even frequent Cape Point?

Still waiting on your response to the salt pond vegetation removal question....

***********************************************

Kurt/Ed:

Isn't there a way to italicize, etc. our responses? Seems like there used to be!

dap

The formatting shortcuts seem to be gone after the recent site update, but you can still italicize if you know the codes.

The codes are generally the same for most message board software, although I've seen some boards that have differences like vs [youtube] for embedding video sources from YouTube or other video sites. Some board software is compatible with multiple video websites. I don't think this board software currently supports direct embedded video, although it might be possible in some way I haven't tried yet.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/filter/tips/4#filter-bbcode-0

Ahah! Thanks y_p_w! I tried the "Ctrl-I" method to no avail and gave up there. Let's see if it works:

I didn't see any call that the enabling legislation be ignored. I thought that the contention was that "legislative intent" can be very difficult to determine because there are diverse reasons for why a law was written the way it was or voted on by Congress. Even what you quoted says "Let's focus on the laws...."

Very nice!!

I saw that in the question of "Intent" with relation to "Recreation Area" status, which seems kinda diversionary to me.

It really comes down to the interpretations of these statements:

In 1937 Congress established the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area with enabling legislation that states: “said area shall be, and is, established, dedicated, and set apart as a national seashore recreational area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and shall be known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.”

Versus

Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area . . .

(Aug. 17, 1937, ch. 687, Sec. 4, 50 Stat. 670; June 29, 1940, ch. 459, Sec. 1, 54 Stat. 702; Mar. 6, 1946, ch. 50, 60 Stat. 32.)

And

"Primarily a seashore is a recreation area. Therefore in its selection, the boundaries should be placed in such a manner that the maximum variety of recreation is provided. Thus while provision for bathing may be the first consideration of these areas, it must be kept in mind that a far greater number of people will be more interested in using a seashore area for other recreational purposes. It is desirable therefore to provide ample shoreline for all types of beach recreation. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore provides such an area in that there is extensive shoreline for all forms of recreation both for immediate use and for future development."

All we ask for in this is balance and flexibility between all of these. Most ORV users realize that we simply must take resource protection into account more than we did 2 decades ago, and are already in compliance.

However, the warring factions are deeply entrenched in a debate that I've seen best summarized this way:

Preferred Environmental Alternative: "Beaches are considered closed in the event that birds/turtles might nest."

Preferred Access Alternative: "Beaches are considered open until the event that birds/turtles do nest."

(You can all bust my chops on the over-simplification and/or minutae' of this analogy, tomorrow...)

We've met in the middle on this before, and I hope we can do so again, but as Kurt said, I have my doubts.

Dapster, I've been watching all this from afar and find the debate for the most part interesting.

However, I am curious why you keep referring to the enabling legislation as creating "Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area"? The DEIS clearly lays down the legislative history of the seashore, and specifically states that 1937-enacted name was indeed Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As I noted a day or so ago, in 1940 an amendment was passed through Congress to rename it Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area, but it seems that renaming was "derived clearly from the Secretary’s justification to allow hunting..."

If you have a copy of the 1937 legislation with the "Recreation Area" appendix attached that you can point me to, I'd appreciate it. But really, that's just for form. I'd have to agree with Anon up above that the name of the place really doesn't guide the Park Service's overriding mandate in how to manage it. Rather, the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 does, and the Redwood National Park Expansion Act of 1978 underscores, and expands, on that.

Now, many have said the Organic Act's mandate for the Park Service is contradictory, that on one hand it calls for the natural resources to be preserved unimpaired for future generations, and then for the parks to be managed for the enjoyment of the public. That seeming conundrum was unraveled in 1997 by the late historian Robin Winks, a Yale professor, who broke down the Organic Act practically word-by-word and pointed out that that first clause, about the preservation of the resources unimpaired, clearly was intended to take precedence over the public's enjoyment of the parks. Courts subsequently have found the same.

Bottom line, the seashore by whichever name you use is part of the National Park System. The National Park Service's foremost mandate is to preserve the units of the park system unimpaired for future generations. And if you do focus narrowly on Cape Hatteras' enabling legislation, it clearly points out the need for both recreation and primitive wilderness, and the amended name change was intended to provide for hunting, not ORV use.

Of course, as we've seen in so many other parks, later forms of recreation evolve long after enabling legislation is passed (ie. Yellowstone and snowmobiles, Cape Lookout and personal watercraft), and so the mandates of the enabling legislation have to be revisited and, if deemed necessary and legally doable, updated. That seems to be the process now under way at Cape Hatteras.

Nevertheless, I don't think you can say without a doubt that recreation trumps conservation on the seashore. But then, that's why there are lawyers;-)

Housekeeping note: Dap, re italics, bold, etc, you should have three letters atop your comment box: B, I, and U. They're used to create bold, italics, and underlined words and sentences. To use them, highlight the text in question that you'd like to make bold, italicize, or underline, and then click on the appropriate button. The icon next to the U is for linking to web urls, and the icon next to that one is for setting out a paragraph of text in highlighted and indented text. If you don't see these buttons, please let me know.

Kurt,

I may be way wrong about the relevance of the "RA" designation, but it is one of the tenents that we as CHNSRA users firmly believe in. You may be totally correct that the OA and the RA can/do indeed trump, but I also believe it will take a court case of the highest order to sort all of this out if the NPS is unable to do so, as you have described.

Evolution of the useage, coupled with the C&T aspects, (and all that we've discussed heretofore), in my mind make this a compelling case from both sides. I consider neither to be a slam-dunk by any means.

There is definitely doubt surrounding either possible outcome on this issue, sorry if I've led you to believe otherwise. Call it "Cautious Optimism", if you will....

Housekeeping:

The letters you describe are not visible on my side, hence my questions as to where they went!

dap

Reading the history of the CHNSRA which Congress did amend the name in 1940 and has never changed since, I think Congress intention was to provide a seashore accessible to all Americans in a time when a majority of our nations seashore property was in private ownership.Was their original intention to preserve it for its natural beauty and to be left unimpaired forever?If we should forget the name Recreation Area than why should we not debate what swimming,fishing,kite fling and a hundred other reasons why people go to the beach should be called.What I dont understand is the argument that areas were not set aside to meet the mandate to preserve.Pea island is 16 miles free of structures,orvs free,and for the most part people free!The townships have built up to almost maximum capacity along the ocean front in the last 30 years and legally.To some Im sure this is an eye sore.Also there are seasonal orv closures for the protection of thousands of vacationers on the beach in the townships for safety reasons.Still sounds fair and balanced so far to me.Then we have orv closures in narrow sections of the beach for safety reasons to protect for obvious reasons.Now we get to whats left for lets say the fisherman or a person that might need an orv to access remote areas of the beach.The closures have severely and clearly reduced accessibility with orvs and walk in pedestrians.Does not seem too fair and balanced to me.Back to my main argument that if the mandates are for preservation only than we have failed to provide a seashore accessible to future generations if it is to be left unimpaired.During one closure visitors were forced to walk a mile in water below the low tide line to access a favorite area.Ok for a few but not exactly accessible.We will have to wait now for a plan to agree with or not but the discussion over the legality or interpretation of the mandates will continue until Congress changes or clarifies it and not a Harvard university professor.

Are you guys still hung up on "recreation area"?

Here's an endangered species list and action plan at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which is under the joint control of the Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service. Their primary reason for being under NPS control is recreational boating. That it's a "recreational area" doesn't change that it's federal land with a mandate to mitigate the effect on wildlife.

http://www.gcdamp.gov/keyresc/es.html

In another "National Recreation Area" I've heard of threatened species mitigation efforts. In a "National Seashore" there's a closure to unpowered recreational boating because of the annual seal pupping season. The NPS/federal mandate to to take steps to protect wildlife doesn't change simply on the basis of the description. Even if it were a military base, there are likely to be steps to mitigate the effects on protected species.

What NPS policy is the DEIS violating anonymous? The entire exestence of DEIS was predicated on the fact that NPS did not have a policy in place. The consent decree you speak of that protects 11 documented pairs of piping plovers has resulted int he death of 882 animals deemed predators in just over 2 years. Also the issue is not ORV access it is human access. When the park closes a section of beach for a turtle nest NO ONE has any access to the beach or beyond it. Why is it in Florida a turtle closure is a clearly maked area 5 feet in diamater around the nest yet here in Cape Hatteras it results ina 250 foot closure on 120 foot on average beach that effectively closes it.

When the time comes(very soon i think) when voting people catch on to the millions of dollars spent to keep them out of the national parks that were formed for them and the billions spent to even keep them open for wildlife only(People no longer welcome) the so called Do Good(fuzzy puppy)idealism will become unfunded and considered inconsistent with what is best for the people.One opinion,one vote and one tax deductible donation to my representative and the rights to do it.I will just have to wait to see if i will be able to enjoy CHNS(RECREATION AREA)in the future or not.But enough of my opinion but I encourage everyone to express your opinions whatever they may be.Tight Lines!!!

You guys make it sounds as if wildlife protection closures/restrictions/mitigations aren't [or shouldn't be] SOP in NPS units.

There's a paddling closure right now for Drakes Estero in Point Reyes NS during the seal pupping season. There's an off-leash dog restriction at Golden Gate NRA for the protection of the western snowy plover. Just recently a popular rock climbing route at Pinnacles NM was closed off because a couple of California condors have chosen the top of the cliff as their nesting site. Even for lake-based national recreation areas where powerboats, water-skiing, and houseboats dominate, the NPS takes steps to mitigate the effects on protected species.

And did anyone read the following:

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/02/return-peregrine-prompts-viewing-opportunities-and-seasonal-closures-several-parks5387
http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/03/temporary-climbing-closures-place-rocky-mountain-national-park-protect-nesting-raptors5490

I think alot of people have lost sight of the underlying issue here. The DOW, SELC, and others have effectively said they would like to see ORV's banned from the Seashore and pedestrian access limited. Everyone agree? Banning ORV's effectively reduces access to the beach by 80-90% due to the remoteness of the site as well as lack of facilities (parking, restrooms, etc.). So the real question is at what point does it make sense to go to these extreme measures to protect wildlife?

The Seashore is at the edge of the PIPL range and has shown year after year that it is not very hospitable to these birds due to predators and weather. PIPL have been recovering recently and should be concidered for removal from the ESL within the next few yrs. It is not like there are only a few breeding pairs left. So the bottom line is, is it worth shutting down (or severly limiting) access to OUR Seashore to gain three extra breeding pairs a year? 5 more a year? 10 more a year? Scientific studies conclude that removal of ORV/pedistrians will have little to no effect on improving PIPL fledge rates at the Seashore. So what is the goal? Is it worth severely harming the island economy for a handful more plover? A species that is already improving in numbers? Is it worth telling my children they can never experience fishing at Cape Point while watching some of the most beautiful sunsets ever? All because of literally a few birds? Is there no middle ground that can be met? Just another example of how common sense has left our society.

Y P W

I think you just made everyone's point. No one is saying that there should not be some protection for the birds and turtles (some buffers, small seasonal closure here and there when birds show etc), they are just saying that in CH they do not follow typical protocol. And are far to aggressive with full beach closures and the like.

All of the examples you gave above result in minor changes. Off-leash dog restriction? In CH that would be a full beach closure with a 1000m buffer. We would kill to have an off leash dog restriction as the least of our worries.

No paddle during pup season? we will call that turtle season, and no lights at night, and full beach closure dunes to the tide. no access to points beyond. For months.

Rock climbing route closed?--well for starters the condor is highly endangered (none endangered here), and scientist already removed the egg and will replace it with a captive egg. so thus viewing and monitoring is being done around the clock--But for jollys we will call that the route to cape point. There are still plenty of ways to climb that rock wall with one route closed. When you close the route to cape point you cant get there anymore!

Ken,

Perhaps Bias was premature, as you can point to many instances you have allowed public input from both sides. But I don't need to know anything about that other park, because someone told me since I am a taxpayer and it is a national park I can voice my value about it not being carried out there (You). haha no worries.

Seriously though.

Yet everyone keeps hiding behind "Gov. mandated this" "the act of organic that" blah blah blah.

I really meant whats your opinion, not if they can follow this and that then its ok by you.

I am asking common sense approach. Not what is mandated. Throw all of that out the window. When is it time to really say ok this is pretty darn ridiculous? From a typical normal straightforward approach the costs of all of this nonsense, has not produced any tangible measurable solid success (except for the lawyers). Only stats that can be twisted and contested by both sides. (Turtle numbers, fledged birds etc).

On another note.

insisting the amendment to add "recreational area" was only implemented to allow hunting, is about like saying the second amendment was only put in the constitution for militia purposes. And because it does not specifically mention target shooting, personal defense, and collector items, they do not apply. We all know how that ended in court.

Persons previous stance has been that since Sec. 459a-2 does not specifically say ORV, than the term recreational area has no bearing. I disagree as noted above.

---

I just think there should be a more common sense approach, promoting both recreational ACCESS, and nature CONSERVATION SIDE BY SIDE, not one before the other.

It sounds to me as if the discussion is about changes to the status quo. I don't see anyone saying there can't be compromises regardless of what side one is on.

And yeah - I have heard of complete closure of some areas as a wildlife protection area. Haleakala NP has maybe a quarter of its area defined as the Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve, which is off limits to the public.

http://www.nps.gov/hale/naturescience/forest-kipahulu.htm

As for the seal pupping issue, I think there has been talk to restrict trail access. There are also some pretty nice beaches which I wouldn't mind checking out one of these days, but it's a no-go if there are seals lounging around. The vast majority of seal disturbances seem to be attributed to kayakers and loud hikers, but so far the hikers haven't been restricted.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-01-17/bay-area/17151695_1_elephant-seals-pupping-seals-return

YPW,
You guys make it sounds as if wildlife protection closures/restrictions/mitigations aren't [or shouldn't be] SOP in NPS units.

That about sums it up.

They were against the closures before they were for them. They bad-mouthed everyone and their dog because of the interim plan, but once the consent decree was signed, the interim plan is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you pay attention, it appears to them a "reasonable" closure is one which doesn't close any shoreline and pins the chicks back into the 140 degree dunes (thanks dap) and blocks access to the intertidal zone which the chicks prefer and allows ORVs, except for the villages (and that doesn't sit well with some) unfettered access from one end of the island to the other.

They make an effort to complain about the 1000 meter chick buffer, but in the two years of the consent decree (if I recall correctly) it's been other species with just a 150 meter buffer that have closed the majority of access, including to the Point. The history at Cape Hatteras shows us, any closure to protect the nesting species, no matter how small, is going to be met with resistance. (as we can see in WharfRat's comment)

Personally, I think there could be some reductions and exceptions added to the current buffers, but that still wouldn't make some folks happy.

And, if they were the great stewards of the environment they claim to be, why didn't they notice the precipitous decline of the species which nest on Hatteras' beaches and voice their concern?

WharfRat,

The seashore IS NOT at the edge of the plover's range. One might be able to say Cape Lookout is, but they have more than 40 pair.

ANON,

Just a few clarifications... If the Sand is 140 degrees at the dune what temp is it ten feet away? Let me help by saying the SAME 140 degrees... (Even if these temps were taken outside of the breeding season, Yes I can actually read the facts stated by Dapster and not only the parts I choose.)

The reason why the 150 meter buffers close the beach is because so few plovers choose to nest on these great beaches.

We will continue to challenge the sizes of the closures as long as they are as silly as 1000 meters for a bird the size of a mouse.

What happens when you clear the beaches of humans? Does the NPS then poison, trap, and exterminate the predators like foxes, raccoons, and Ghostcrabs? Once this is complete and the plovers have free rein of the beaches and yet still do not prosper, What is next?

For those who keep putting thier 2 cents in Why don't we try some constructive posting for once.

Answer this question:

What is you IDEA of what a national park is for and whom should be allowed to enjoy it?

Tirecatcher
The original name is Body Island not Bodie Island! Don't believe it? After the lighthouse has been restored take a tour, learn some history.

The CHNSRA was designated as such by Congress for the people to enjoy the beaches in a recreational manner. People was driving on the beaches there before it was CHNSRA and have done so since. It is wrong to have a special place like this and close it. It is not about saving birds, turtles or animals. Audubon Society immediately after helping close this Recreational Area excepted a 25 million dollar offer for their sanctuary. This sanctuary is 30 miles north of the most northern closure. This sanctuary is ocean front and the the same plovers, turtles that they say need protecting at the CHNSRA also nest and feed on the sanctuary! The sanctuary is set for a high density development. This sanctuary turned resort will always have access for those who can afford it!

So how is it fair that an area where anyone could visit be closed? Is the beaches supposed to be for only those that can afford the high price of condos , hotels and houses! The CHNSRA is for everyone not just the rich or well to do!

So you decide what this is really about, animals, birds and turtles or Money!

Matt retorts:
Just a few clarifications... If the Sand is 140 degrees at the dune what temp is it ten feet away? Let me help by saying the SAME 140 degrees... (Even if these temps were taken outside of the breeding season, Yes I can actually read the facts stated by Dapster and not only the parts I choose.)

Which is why the chicks prefer wrack and the intertidal zone and not "ten feet away". And daps pic was July 4. The breeding (chick) season is at it's peak during this time.

The reason why the 150 meter buffers close the beach is because so few plovers choose to nest on these great beaches.

That doesn't make a lick of sense. 150 meter buffers closes the beaches, because on average, the beach is less than 50 meters wide.

We will continue to challenge the sizes of the closures as long as they are as silly as 1000 meters for a bird the size of a mouse.

Well, when you become and animal psychic and can let everyone know when and where those chicks are headed on a minute by minute basis, they won't need to be that large. Chicks can easily travel that distance within a day of hatching.

What happens when you clear the beaches of humans? Does the NPS then poison, trap, and exterminate the predators like foxes, raccoons, and Ghostcrabs? Once this is complete and the plovers have free rein of the beaches and yet still do not prosper, What is next?

The beaches haven't been cleared of humans. Strawman. European red fox and feral cats are exotic predators (DUH)! Grey fox, coyotes, opossum, mink and raccoons are invasives that have no business on a barrier island and wouldn't be on them in any numbers (ie populations) if humans had not facilitated the invasion (bridges and altered habitat). And, if thousands of ORVs on the beaches every year can't have an impact on ghost crab numbers, I doubt that there's anything the Park can do.... As for poison, I've not heard anything about the park using poison.

For those who keep putting thier 2 cents in Why don't we try some constructive posting for once.

You first......

Answer this question:

What is you IDEA of what a national park is for and whom should be allowed to enjoy it?

Well, obviously a park is created to preserve wild places for humans to enjoy and for the species which call a park their home to enjoy, and for future generations of humans to be allowed to enjoy the abiotic, as well as observing those species enjoying their home.

Cro

Bobby,
The CHNSRA was designated as such by Congress for the people to enjoy the beaches in a recreational manner.

Even without the caveats of the Organic act (of which Congress was aware), this continues to be a poor argument for contributing to the extirpation of the native breeding birds of Cape Hatteras.

The first Congress designated suffrage to property-owning white males and determined black slaves should only be counted as 3/5ths human.

Obviously you believe nothing Congress has ever done should be examined in a new light and/or altered if need be. Or, do you?

Cro

And I thought I had signed off over here….

Anon/Spottail:

They were against the closures before they were for them. They bad-mouthed everyone and their dog because of the interim plan, but once the consent decree was signed, the interim plan is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I never even knew the interim plan existed in print, or any of the other NPS details, until the contrary will of certain NGO’s were forced down my throat after the fact. I always just accepted the closures for what they were, and obeyed them without question or complaint.

. If you pay attention, it appears to them a "reasonable" closure is one which doesn't close any shoreline and pins the chicks back into the 140 degree dunes (thanks dap) and blocks access to the intertidal zone which the chicks prefer and allows ORVs, except for the villages (and that doesn't sit well with some) unfettered access from one end of the island to the other. .

“…unfettered access from one end of the island to the other.”

Outright propaganda, bound to not sit well with “others” in the know.

Talk about cherry-picking. Since you have found some odd reason to gloat over my once-mentioned, otherwise descriptive sand temp data, here’s the entire “study” I did that day. You’ll find it complete with several controls and some other science-like stuff thrown in just for fun: (You're lucky I'm Nerd enough to take the time to do so...)

Rt. 12 Roadside (As Control)

Start time of study:

Rt. 12 Roadbed Temp (As Control):

Rt. 12 Roadside Temp (As Control):

******************************
+
+
+

Sample Beach Topography: Ramp 49, Frisco, NC, 07/04/2009.

Observed Temp., Current Tide Line. (Wet Sand):

Observed Temp., < Visible Wrack Line:

Observed Temp: “Red Sand” Line/Swale:

Observed Temp: Toe of Dune:

Observed Temp: Mid-Dune:

****************************************************

Fairly constant temperature across the entire dry sand beach cross section. Unless nests exist below the wrack line, (NOT!), they must then thrive in the 115-120DF areas.

At the end of the day, I must say I was amazed that the windswept white sand dune crest temp. exceded that of a much more protected stretch of Rt. 12 darker tarmac, < 1 NM away.

********************************************************

. They make an effort to complain about the 1000 meter chick buffer, but in the two years of the consent decree (if I recall correctly) it's been other species with just a 150 meter buffer that have closed the majority of access, including to the Point. The history at Cape Hatteras shows us, any closure to protect the nesting species, no matter how small, is going to be met with resistance. (as we can see in WharfRat's comment.)

Many of the species you reference are not even listed nationally, and most are NC “Species of Special Concern” at best. Almost every buffer is an overreach.

. Personally, I think there could be some reductions and exceptions added to the current buffers, but that still wouldn't make some folks happy.

Glad we at least can agree on one thing! Such would make my year.

And, if they were the great stewards of the environment they claim to be, why didn't they notice the precipitous decline of the species which nest on Hatteras' beaches and voice their concern?

Most of us can’t get close enough to said species to offer an opinion either way.

“They were against the closures before they were for them. They bad-mouthed everyone and their dog because of the interim plan, but once the consent decree was signed, the interim plan is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you pay attention, it appears to them a "reasonable" closure is one which doesn't close any shoreline and pins the chicks back into the 140 degree dunes (thanks dap) and blocks access to the intertidal zone which the chicks prefer and allows ORVs, except for the villages (and that doesn't sit well with some) unfettered access from one end of the island to the other.”

Not true for folks that understood the need for protection AND reasonable and responsible access. While CHAC, NCBBA, OBPA may have groused a little, the NPS management strategy was transparent and *flexible* and I believe a good working relationship developed. Areas were closed for cause and opened when predation & weather exacted their toll and there no need for closures.

“The seashore IS NOT at the edge of the plover's range. One might be able to say Cape Lookout is, but they have more than 40 pair.”

Technically, no, but as the islands of CALO don’t have Hwy 12 running down the middle to interrupt the natural barrier island ecology and topography and, as such, fledge about 70% of the plovers in NC. It will always be better habitat. As will be the spoil islands for skimmers & terns.

The Plaintiffs that designed the Consent Decree should have insisted on habitat creation/improvement for the plovers around Cape Point Pond but that might not impact the park users so I guess that’s why it wasn’t in the plan.

Come on dap, quit with the bait and switch. The topic was chicks (which aren't immediately adept at thermo-regulation) moving into the wrack and intertidal (or into washed-up beach hats for shade) away from the heat of the dunes, not nests. The adults control the temperature of incubation.

Many of the species you reference are not even listed nationally, and most are NC “Species of Special Concern” at best. Almost every buffer is an overreach.

Why does, in your opinion, a species have to be federally listed to deserve protections so that it may reproduce successfully without human disturbance? The Organic Act mandates such protections in a National Park, whether they are listed or not. All the buffers are supported by observations published in the scientific lit.

Most of us can’t get close enough to said species to offer an opinion either way.

That's a disingenuous response. You know that's only been the case since about 2005/2006.

Cro

Of course it is about money. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is not your and your friends’ private SUV Park nor was it created to be a cash cow for the local business at the expenses of resources or the intended purpose of this Park.

You need to put things in perspectives. There are more vehicles driving on the beach in one weekend on HI in November today than in the entire year in 1959. The amount of ORV use today was not what was intended and way exceeds what is prudent, aesthetic, or right. This park was designed to be a primitive wilderness, for people to recreate in. Just because the NPS let that get away from them is not a reason to not manage this Park as it was intended. You want to manage ORV like it was 1953? Manage it that way, tear out the bridge (it is going to fail soon any way) and limit 25 vehicles on the beach at a time.

Oh by the way I read the ORV collation’s recommended bunk of 2 miles of year round pedestrian beach and how they can’t have fun on the beach unless they have an ORV to carry them there. What a joke. The Native Americans and then the Lifesavings service got along just fine on Shank’s mare.

Show me in the enabling legislation where it says ORV access is guaranteed to visitors so they can recreate in the Seashore.

Bill S

Bill, cash cows? look at the lawyer fees. Money wasted. Hey I'm just a simple fisherman, fish mostly at night for two reasons. Fishing is better at night and yep I can avoid crowds This plan will take that away. If this whole mess were about the birds we would be debating the identification and amount of habitat we need to create to reach a population goal. This plan is the usual Gov. reaction, a compromise, a sacrifice from both sides. This compromise will do nothing but add fuel to the current war. Each year both side will submit, sue, or protest for changes and the park service will be the refs. Unfortunatly people will choose sides (many already have), identifiing the enemy, that may not have been the intent, but it is reality.

Kurt, unfortunately, I think you pretty much nailed the scenario re lawsuit vs. lawsuit. Look at what's happened at Yellowstone with the snowmobile issue. It's dragged on for a decade, through four full-blown EISes.

You'd hope/think there'd be a cleaner, more amicable, less costly process. The money spent on lawyers and developing these plans time after time could be better spent on the ground in the parks. Last time I checked, the Park Service had spent $10+ million on trying to develop a sound winter-use plan for Yellowstone.

Lets consider the fact that when the enabling legislation was written highway 12 did not exist and the beach was the means of connecting the dots.Im sure that the proponents of the park used the beach to DRIVE ON in their visits and did not consider it detrimental to the primitive wilderness mandate they themselves incorporated into the enabling legislation.So I am not persuaded that ORV access is not guaranteed just because it was not mentioned.Another note of fact to consider is that when highway 12 was constructed no amendment was introduced to deny,prohibit,exclude orv usage on the beach.NPS failed years ago(1978) to follow thru with a plan for orv use that would have satisfied the executive order requirement.No one said the plan had to prohibit orv or not guarantee it.So thats why we now have a 800 page bureaucratic calamity to review and comment on!

As background, From the NPS Draft Enviromental Impact Statement pp 83 (for Bill S)

Prohibition of ORV use at the Seashore would not meet the purpose, need, and objectives of this
plan/EIS. The purpose of this plan is to “develop regulations and procedures that carefully manage ORV
use/access in the Seashore to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources and natural processes,
provide a variety of visitor use experiences while minimizing minimize conflicts among various users,
and promote the safety of all visitors…” ORV use, if effectively managed, provides convenient access for
many appropriate visitor activities at some popular beach sites including, for example, activities that use
vehicles to transport substantial amounts of gear for the activity. Prohibition, rather than management, of
ORV use could substantially diminish such visitor experience opportunities. Therefore prohibition of all
ORV use would not meet the plan need.

In addition to not meeting the purpose, need, and objectives of this plan/EIS, ORV use is a historical use
at the Seashore that has been accounted for in Seashore planning documents.
Management goals related to
ORV use are included in the Seashore’s General Management Plan, which states, “Selected beaches will
continue to be open for ORV recreational driving and in conjunction with surf fishing in accordance with
the existing use restrictions” (NPS 1984). Providing for this use would occur in the context of the overall
planning objective of preserving the cultural resources and the flora, fauna, and natural physiographic
conditions, while providing for appropriate recreational use and public access to the oceanside and
soundside shores in a manner that will minimize visitor use conflict, enhance visitor safety, and preserve
Seashore resources. ORV use preceded the establishment of the Seashore and management of this use,
rather than prohibition, continues to be the intent of the NPS. Because a complete prohibition of ORV use
does not meet the purpose, need, and objectives of this plan/EIS and because ORV use is a use that is
accounted for in Seashore plans and policies, elimination of all ORV use at the Seashore was not carried
forward for further analysis.

Bernie and sea mullet,

I can read and have.

Where does it say that the Seashore should not be managed as a primitive wilderness if there is or is not an ORV route in the Park?

Did I suggest the 2 things (Primitive Wilderness, ORV routes) were incompatible in the Park? I just think they are incompatible at the same time in the same place, particular so at the suggested carrying capacity of one vehicle every twenty feet. If you think I implied that ORV use should not be allowed in the Park you are wrong. I can only assume that you think framing your answer in this way will distort what I said or change the argument into something I’m not addressing.

Of course they didn’t think ORV use was detrimental in 1953. Even with locals using the beach for access before highway 12 today’s ORV use far exceeds the amount of traffic back then. In addition there was much insulation from the little beach traffic then. The ocean beaches were wide; the village beaches were not developed. To suggest that the beach be managed today in the same way it was when the Park was opened does not make sense to me.

The “primitive wilderness” wording was put into the enabling legislation for a specific reason where as you can only assume ORV use was intended. The establishment of Highway 12 certainly changed the context of locals getting from point A to Point B. Why would the enabling legislation have to guarantee something it had not previously identified (ORV access)? In any case I would not argue that ORV use be prohibited in CHNS so I don’t see the relevance in your quoting pp 83 from EIS.

The Park (most likely Mike Murray) has put the ORV side into historical perspective but failed to address the other side (primitive wilderness and NPS aesthetics) into perspective. The Park did not explain the logic or give any suitable criteria for where non-ORV access will be permitted or addressed primitive wilderness. If there are suitable sites for ORV use (“at some popular beach sites”) then there must be suitable sites for a different experience and that experience should provide a primitive wilderness experience to the greatest degree possible.

"The Park (most likely Mike Murray) has put the ORV side into historical perspective but failed to address the other side (primitive wilderness and NPS aesthetics) into perspective. The Park did not explain the logic or give any suitable criteria for where non-ORV access will be permitted or addressed primitive wilderness. If there are suitable sites for ORV use (“at some popular beach sites”) then there must be suitable sites for a different experience and that experience should provide a primitive wilderness experience to the greatest degree possible."

ahhhh?? How exactly would you define Pea Island then???...isn't that the very definition of primitive wilderness experience?

Please quote the "proven" facts and "volumes of scientific literature" that allegedly support yor statements. In fact, the recreation area was established as just that, area to be used for recreational means. Also, the enabling legislation, has allowed for the preservation of natural resources for posterity. Your problem is that you fail to recognize what is fact or scientific fiction. Please, cite specific examples of peer-reviewed science that was properly conducted and reviewed. Until you do so your allegations are useless and provocative and only serve the purpose of misleading the public.