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Vandalism Leads to Closure of Ramp at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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The unauthorized removal of vehicle blockades at Cape Hatteras National Seashore has prompted officials there to shut down a public access ramp near Buxton, North Carolina.

This marks the second time this year that vandalism has forced the National Park Service to restrict access to the seashore in an effort to protect nesting piping plovers, a threatened species.

Ramp 45 had been closed to off-road vehicle access since May 21 due to the hatching of plover chicks in the area, although pedestrian access was being allowed.

According to seashore officials, sometime early Monday morning someone entered the area on foot "after tossing the vehicle barricades into the brush along the side of the sand route on the back side of the Cape Point Campground. The 202-campsite campground was full for the Memorial Day holiday weekend."

"Upon further investigation another vehicle barricade was found to be missing from the Inter-dunal Road and symbolic resource protection closure fencing was destroyed along the Ramp 45 route," the officials added. "Approximately 34 signs and sign posts were broken or pulled out. The remains of two beach fires were found near the shoreline. The two fires had been covered with sand but were still hot and smoldering. Evidence of the remains of sign posts and the vehicle barricade were found in the fire pits. There were numerous foot tracks found around the fire pits but no vehicle tire tracks were found in the area."

Access to the seashore has been particularly contentious ever since the Park Service was sued by Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society for failing to have a formal ORV management plan. While seashore officials are trying to finalize such a plan now, they have been managing ORV access to the beaches under a court-ordered consent decree. That decree mandates "that if a confirmed deliberate act that disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants occurs, the National Park Service (NPS) shall automatically expand the buffers."

As a result of that mandate, the Park Service had not alternative but to close Ramp 45.

"The expansion will remain in effect until shorebirds have finished using the respective areas for breeding activities," the agency said.

Comments

Wheat & Dap
Once again I fear you are wasting a good debate. Its the old situation of two people arguing. One sticks to the facts and the other says what ever he feels, and believes if he says it enough that it will become fact. Usually, no one prevails.
Here is what I think are the points that matter:
I think, from the research I have done, the park was established as a recreational area for the people that were there to do what they had been doing for generations. And, being seen as a good thing, it should be continued with availability insured to all the citizenry of this nation. In addition, but secondary, there should be consideration given to maintaining the physiography that existed at that time to the extent possible. I don't believe this to be arguable. If anyone wishes to change the content of the document, there is a procedure exactly for that purpose. The methods used to date have not followed that procedure. To the contrary, they have circumvented the process In a despicable fashion. We know it and they know it. The previous comments are a continuation of their "best available science", "best available interpretation", "best available assumptions" and best "I think it, so it must be fact".
I think, We know that consideration of the birds and turtles is an important issue. The vast majority of users of the shore share the concerns for the well being of these creatures. Granted, there are exceptions to everything, but the majority of people I have associated with on the shore love and cherish all of nature. When there is an attitude observed from some of the villagers or violations of restricted areas on the beaches, One should ask themself, why is that. What brought these people to feel the way they do and do the things they do. As to the way they feel, I can tell you it is because they feel that their rights have been trampled upon. As to the violations, these could be do to childishness, ignorance, anger, stupidity or a multitude of other reasons of which we may never know unless someone is caught and they tell us. We know they are a minute few, yet so many suffer the consequences To speculate serves no purpose. One thing we can all agree on is the fact that they are doing it for a reason, be it any of the above. Could it be that they think some of the restrictions are excessive. No, how could anyone think that. Ask yourself one thing, does the Consent Decree deprive Audubon or Defenders of Wildlife people from doing anything they have been accustom to doing or want to do. I don't think so. And before you start saying its for the birds and turtles, FORGET IT. We are way past that. There could have been cooperation on that issue but, it was your way or no way. Sure the ORV group pushed for as much as they could because that is typical in negotiations. So did the Plaintiffs. Don't say you didn't. the facts are in the Decree. So, I say don't even ask why some of the villagers feel the way they do or why the violations occur. You don't have that right. You may win this battle but, you don't have that right.
I intended to respond to some of the specifics being debated by Wheat and Dap Vs others but I better let it go.

Have to say Hello Kurt, Hope all is well.

Ron


SS1,

What it says is "Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses.." This doesn't define which areas but it does utilize the term adaptable. This choice of words indicates that the Congress expects the seashore to evolve over time and the need or demand for recreational use would require the development for such areas that are adaptable for same. The word adaptable means that the area can be changed, adapted, altered, terraformed, etc., if necessary to accommodate recreational need. This is why the Congress says in no uncertain terms that the area shall be developed for such uses as needed which is neither a hint or suggestion...shall be is what it says.

Its the use of the term "reserved as primitive wilderness" that sets this in stone. Reserved is whats said as opposed to preserved. I'll agree that reserved can mean set aside but that still doesn't change the meaning of the word in context within the sentence itself. This because the Congress just finished telling NPS that any area that's especially adaptable shall be developed for recreation. You cant very well do that if you lock down the Seashore under the auspices of preservation. Hence, the term reserve was used so that if the need arose, development of the area for recreational purpose could continue within any area considered especially adaptable for that purpose as instructed by the House, Senate, and the President.

Remember also that all of the legislation following "reserved as primitive wilderness" is in direct reference to the area "in reserve" and pertains only to that. Its only in reserve as long as fails the first test of the legislation. In other words, if its not adaptable, NPS is to leave it alone in perpetuity. If however, the need is there and its adaptable, NPS is to fire up the bulldozer and make it so.

The reality is, if there was a tremendous demand for, say, a golf course at the Seashore, NPS would be required to find an adaptable location that is in "reserve" like Jennette Sedge for example, and build it. And in doing so, they would satisfy the tenants set forth within the enabling legislation.

Wheat


Seems perfectly clear to me, " certain portions" for recreational uses. "reserved" (set aside) comes after the comma and is connected to the phrase, "primitive wilderness". And the clincher "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."

Again common sense says to me that chicks of all types on the beach have been run over by ORVs in CHNSRA not withstanding your conclusion that because one researcher couldn't identify the direct cause of the mortality of chicks in his study is far from conclusive for all chicks in the Seashore. I think, no matter what evidence was produced, if it impeded your vehicle access you would find fault with it.

Southern Shores 1


Southern Shores 1 says: "This is a national park that was specifically set up to protect and preserve resources and then provide recreational opportunities."

Are you kidding?

I’m not really sure who it was that first sent me a copy of the “enabling legislation” that in the process of creating Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, provided the Park Service with a framework with which to manage the Seashore.

What I do know is that before I read it the first time those many years ago, I was told that it was a “dual mandate” that gave NPS two missions to accomplish. One, the creation of a recreational area, and two, preserve the remaining area as primitive wilderness, which still comprises the vast majority of the Seashore as a whole.

It is upon the “dual mandate” premise that NPS has managed the area and many a debate has been centered. Often during that debate, whether coming from the NPS, environmental groups or certain individuals who argue this issue on various websites, we hear that the legislation is vague in that it doesn’t delineate where the recreational area is supposed to be as opposed to the primitive wilderness area. Presumably, it is that argument, that the law is vague, which led Sandy Hamilton, a Colorado based NPS employee, to proclaim during the negotiated rulemaking process that “as long as we leave a small area open for recreational access, we have fulfilled the recreational mission… ‘

Early morning last Thursday I was busy with my chores when suddenly I was struck by thought so powerful that it did what my coffee had yet been able to do; it woke me right up. Forgetting the chores, I pondered for a while then sat down here to look again at what the Congress wrote and passed.

The “enabling legislation” is not a “dual mandate”.

Within the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, NPS outlines its preferred alternative (F) which includes the construction of additional ramps, parking areas, walkovers, inter-dunal roads, and a parking lot at Hatteras Spit, all of which would potentially destroy “wilderness” area and or the “unique flora and fauna now contained within”.

If the primary mission is to preserve these portions of the Seashore as opposed to recreation, how can NPS tear up these areas and develop them for recreational use? It’s because the Congress told them to do exactly that when they stated “which shall be developed for such uses as needed”.

In fact, read like its written, and you’ll see that Congress assumes that the entire Seashore can be developed by NPS for recreational use if it’s needed.

Congress used the term “reserved” when they spoke of primitive wilderness, not “preserved”. Had they said “preserved”, there would in fact be a dual mandate. The use of the word “reserved” tells NPS nothing more than that they are to preserve the flora and fauna until it’s needed for recreational use at which point it is to be developed for such purpose.

That’s not a dual mandate.

In my own experience, I have been in many a neighborhood that was being developed where the developer in question wasn’t allowed to cut out the trees on a given lot until the owner was actually ready to build a house. Consequently, at least for a while, many of the lots remained as they were for an extended period and were only “developed for such uses as needed”.

That’s what the Congress told NPS, and that’s all they told them. Develop the area for recreational use, reserve the rest until you need it and don’t mess with it while it’s in reserve.

That’s why congress never bothered to specify exactly where one area is as opposed to the other. Because they had already said it was all “fair game” for development for recreational use and in fact implored NPS to develop it for that purpose whenever necessary and in that respect is not vague at all.

As you read the legislation, which I will post below, try and read it without the bias of a “dual mandate” and carefully read it as the one long congruent thought it is.

SEC. 4. “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:”

Chew on that for a while…

Tight Lines,
Wheat


Hello, SS1!

How’ve you been? Busy of late, I’ll wager….

"If you never saw lightning hit a tree and destroy it you could consider it was done or not done by anything you choose."

Incorrect. Evidence would show that lightning was the culprit, if it indeed was, since as far as I know there are no other random electrical releases that would destroy trees. Sorry, but that’s a totally inept analogy.

“Just because no one has the type of science or evidence to pass your muster doesn’t mean that beach driving has not killed chicks (various species) in CHNSRA.”

My muster is pretty easy to pass, just show me harm in fact, and not in speculation, as law in general requires. To accept your line of thinking, we must also acknowledge that the NPS also doesn’t know how many Unicorns, Leprechauns, Moonbeams, or Cosmonauts have been killed by ORV’s either.

“It is a highly likely scenario that plover chicks have been run over by ORVs. No one is going to do a controlled study monitoring chicks on a beach to test the mortality of ORV chick interaction.”

I won’t disagree with your first sentence, but there is no proof, and “highly likely” is mere speculation, not fact. In general, law requires at minimum a corpse to prosecute a killing, and this scenario should be no different. No body, no count-ee. Predation and overwash are the biggest killers of shorebirds, not people, according to everything I’ve read, including the DEIS. (To the tune of ~60% and 30% for AMOY, respectively, humans ~3%. See .PDF page 14 of 58 in the attached study below for reference).

Also, there have been “controlled studies” done a-plenty on CALO concerning AMOY chick mortality WRT all types of human interaction. Read into the myriad of DEIS references for AMOY, and you’ll see what I mean.

Why, here’s one:

http://www.shilohandshevaun.com/2007_NC_AMOY_Report.pdf

Below is one of my favorite quotes from this study, where supposition and opinion is spun such that it reads as fact:

“Mortality from vehicles was first documented in 1995, when three chicks on Cape Hatteras were found crushed in vehicle tracks. From 1995 to 2007, 18 chicks were found killed by vehicles (9 on Cape Hatteras and 9 on Cape Lookout. This number is only a fraction of the total number of chicks killed by vehicles during this time, as dead chicks were located by chance in most cases and many chicks died and were never found.”

Had he said “This number is LIKELY only a fraction…”, I wouldn’t bat an eye. However, said chicks could have been killed by most anything, and lack of evidence either way does not automatically imply that ORV’s are to blame. Statistically, it was most likely predation, as human-caused deaths reside below the 5th percentile, according to this same study.

Birders and eco-tourists are also not without blame when it comes to shorebird mortality. Here’s an excerpt from a study done in Fla.: (Again referencing AMOY)

“Ecotourists are a larger problem. There are several local kayak outfitters that commonly guide trips around the Alafia Bank and have not cooperated in staying sufficiently offshore of the beach during the nesting season. Several wildlife photographers are also resistant to staying suggested distances from the oystercatcher beach territories, particularly at the Alafia Bank. The Florida Aquarium boat “Bay Spirit” has a route that encircles the Alafia Bank, enters into the cove on the south side of Sunken Island, then runs between Fantasy Island and 2D. The boat occasionally throws a wake onshore to the Alafia Bank and 2D where there are several oystercatcher territories on the beach.

Wildlife photographers have been documented to drive parent oystercatchers off nests, causing predation of eggs or young. In 2006, one wildlife photographer photographed another pair of photographers landing on the Alafia Bank and pushing an adult off the nest, allowing a fish crow to swoop in and steal an egg while the adult was off the nest.”

(Hodgson, et al 2008)

“Common sense should dictate the obvious in this situation.”

Common sense left CHNSRA about the same time that the SELC Cartel sued the NPS part way through Reg-Neg, contrary to their previous promises not to do such.

“This is a national park that was specifically set up to protect and preserve resources and then provide recreational opportunities.”

Depends on how you interpret Sec. 4 of the enabling legislation. Said interpretation by the lawyers in the lawsuit-yet-to-come will have the final say on this, not you or I. My belief is that it is a dual mandate on face value, but key wording within may actually dictate that recreation is to come first.

Here, read it and decide for yourself:

SEC. 4. “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:”

Not short on either contradictory or ambiguous language, note the use of the word “reserved”, not “Pre-served”. This paragraph, among others, will be the keys to unlocking the true intended use of this park.

Points to ponder for sure, and I sincerely hope you choose to do so.


Dapster

"Show me a documented CAHA PIPL ORV strike and I'll eat me salty hat...."

You know that is just about impossible.

If you never saw lightning hit a tree and destroy it you could consider it was done or not done by anything you choose. Just because no one has the type of science or evidence to pass your muster doesn’t mean that beach driving has not killed chicks (various species) in CHNSRA. It is a highly likely scenario that plover chicks have been run over by ORVs. No one is going to do a controlled study monitoring chicks on a beach to test the mortality of ORV chick interaction. Common sense should dictate the obvious in this situation.

This is a national park that was specifically set up to protect and preserve resources and then provide recreational opportunities.

Southern Shores 1


Kurt,

The photo caption reads:

"The National Park Service does not know how many chicks, like this least tern, are killed by vehicles at Cape Hatteras. What is known is that in 2004 two chicks were killed after the park service removed fencing from around their nest sites.

Photo by Walker Golder "

Word is this was a CALO photo, and through some wordsmithing it is implied said bird, (LETE, not PIPL), was killed at CHNSRA. "Are", and not "Were", is operative, along with "Does not know".

The NPS does not know how many Yeti were lost to vehicles either. Exactly where was said fencing removed, and what killed these chicks? Vehicles are once again implied as the culprit.

Show me a documented CAHA PIPL ORV strike and I'll eat me salty hat....

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

Anon,

Let the record show that you were the first to descend into partisan politics, not to mention that you lost me at the tide-erases-ruts-thing.


"An overnight blow takes care of that, as do the daily tide cycles. Check out the DEIS on the subject and you will find the impacts of said ruts to be "Long term Negligible" across the board."

Just because the DEIS says it is so doesn't make it so, I'm sure there was much in that doc that you challenged the Park's analysis on also.

Daily tide cycles do not occur above the high tide line where the ruts are. In fact if the management of the beach is set up so that ORV trail is designated year round on a section of beach a visitor seeking to view that beach in a natural state would be unlikely to experience that beach that way.

In a way you are right about the eco-terrorist the difference being is that the eco-terrorist in this instance are probably radical right wing elements of the pro ORV/fishing community, not environmental extremist. There has been little if any of the kind eco-terrorism you’re alluding to on the Outer Banks.


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