Business Survey On Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Management Plan's Impacts Points to Uncertainty

Uncertainties cloud business expectations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in wake of plan to restrict ORV and pedestrian access. NPS photo.

A strong majority of businesses along Cape Hatteras National Seashore believe rules that restrict access of off-road vehicles and pedestrians for the benefit of nesting shorebirds and sea turtles will harm their operations.

But at the same time, uncertainties and outside factors that swirl around visitation to the national seashore make it hard to reach definitive conclusions on the severity of impacts to businesses there, note the authors of a survey conducted for seashore officials.

The survey (attached below) was conducted from June-September 2009, and dated August 2010, and so couldn't specifically ask businesses about the seashore's preferred alternative for managing ORV traffic that was released last fall.

The plan, expected to take effect late this year, calls for new parking areas along Highway 12 as well as new access ramps to the beach; a new trail for pedestrians to walk down through the dunes to the beach; a "seasonal night-driving restriction ... established from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during turtle nesting season, although areas with no turtle nests could open to night driving from September 16 through November 15,' and;" an "alternative transportation study and would encourage the establishment of a beach shuttle or water taxi."

Overall, the approved plan calls for 27.9 miles of year-round designated ORV routes on the seashore, 12.7 miles of seasonal routes, and 26.4 miles of vehicle-free miles.

Without knowing of that specific plan, what the survey consultant, RTI International, of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, tried to do was select "the two action alternatives that represented opposite ends of the management spectrum for the alternatives under consideration at the time to serve as the basis for questions about the possible impact of the alternatives on revenue in the future relative to revenue in 2008. The descriptions of the alternatives captured the major features of the alternatives expected to have the biggest impact on visitation."

When asked to compare their business in 2008 vs. 2007, some respondents attributed declines in 2008 to the recession, high gas prices, changes in ferry schedules, beach closures to protect wildlife, and uncertainties over beach access. At the same time, some pointed to an increase in business due to the economy (some visitors stayed closer to home for vacations), and higher prices or management changes.

But the general theme was that restricted seashore access would be bad for business.

Some business owners reported that they do not believe the recent decrease in revenue was caused by an economic downturn, because they normally do quite well during a recession by attracting beachgoers who would normally elect for a more expensive vacation. Others said that beach driving restrictions have resulted in a loss of business mainly by driving away daytrippers. Some Ocracoke businesses noted that the current compromise on Ocracoke Island is necessary for wildlife protection and acceptable for maintaining their business, but that any additional closures would cause problems.

Without the specifics that became known last fall with the seashore's selection of its preferred alternative, and with the country's ongoing economic malaise, it was difficult for those businesses surveyed to make hard predictions about their future. Still, among the conclusions reached by the survey:

* "The majority of businesses thought that all three alternatives described in the survey would result in decreased revenue compared to 2008. A smaller number expected no change or an increase."

* "The first alternative, under which all the spits and points were closed to ORV use year-round, was expected to have the biggest negative increase."

* "Fewer businesses felt comfortable providing a quantitative forecast of the expected impact of the alternatives on revenue given the uncertainties surrounding the cause of changes in revenue between 2007 and 2008, the impact of the alternative on visitation, and the year-to-year variation in weather and nesting patterns."

* "From the businesses providing quantitative forecasts: Businesses forecast median decreases of 0% to 25% in annual revenue compared to 2008 for the first alternative described (which closed the most miles of beach to ORVs year-round). For the second alternative (which involved no year-round closures), the median change in revenue compared to 2008 ranged from a decrease of 12% to no change. Closing the soundside
ramps generated median estimates of revenue loss ranging from no change to -4%."

But uncertainty stemming from changes in travel patterns and outside economic influences also was mentioned by the survey's authors in their conclusion.

In some cases, businesses said that visitors came in 2008 not knowing about the beach closures and did not return in 2009. However, some businesses reported that although business in the spring of 2009 was down, they were seeing increased bookings for the fall or expected business in the fall to increase. Some visitors may reschedule trips from the spring to the fall to visit areas likely to be closed in the spring and early summer. Because the business survey was conducted during the summer, businesses did not have information about revenue in the fall and winter of 2009.

Forecasting future revenue in response to management changes is necessarily uncertain. Some businesses worried that 2008 would not be typical of future years for reasons discussed above. Visitation in 2008 is also confounded by the economic recession and gas prices. Businesses that want to influence the debate over the alternatives have an incentive to exaggerate the expected impacts of more restrictive alternatives on their revenue. This possibility was recognized, and the survey included questions to probe for the reasoning behind answers to some questions. In addition, the economic analysis will use other data sources in addition to the business survey to create a range of possible future outcomes.

Some respondents were hesitant to give specific numbers on possible changes in revenue that could be attributed to ORV management actions because of the many other factors affecting the economy in the last few years, uncertainty about shorebird and turtle nesting patterns, and uncertainty about the long-term reactions of visitors to changes in visitor access to the Seashore. The ranges of possible impacts, which are large in some cases, reflect the uncertainty expressed by businesses and variation present in the survey data.

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CAHA Business Survey.pdf411.42 KB

Comments

First I will address this

"alternative transportation study and would encourage the establishment of a beach shuttle or water taxi."

This idea is insane! Imagine a water taxi landing on the shore from the ocean spilling people like the soldiers on D-Day. Better Yet Imagine someone gets dropped off by the beach shuttle to go fishing and oops he or she has an accident with a fillet knife or even a heart attack. Do we place this person at the bus stop for the next shuttle?

I love Cape Hatteras, but I will not continue to go there if I am forced to pay for a daily permit in which me and my wife would have to take one day of our vacation to attend a class to even get the possibility of getting on the beach. Secondly with the permanent closures, bird and turtle nesting the little beach that will remain open will be filled to the gills giving more ammunition to close more beach creating a negative chain of events until no one has access to a place we were promised to always have access.

The NPS needs to grow a pair and face the facts that putting access off indefinitely for the "Future generation" to show up only hurts themselves.

Face the facts this way of utilizing this particular park (By accessing the beach by foot or by orv) is the only reason for crossing the Bonner Bridge. Without the beach it is nothing but a two lane road with sand on the sides.

Cape Hatteras NS was not established by the People of the United States to suport local businesses. It's there to protect the beaches, the wildlife, the vegetation and the history in ways that will keep them unimpaired forever. That's ALL that should be considered, if it's plan accomplishes those goals, then it is proper and good. If local businesses can profit from their proximity to the park, great, but that's NOT what the park is there for.

You are correct in saying "Cape Hatteras NS was not established by the People of the United States to suport local businesses" but I was simply referring to having access to our national park as the main driver in having a business there in the first place. I will also refer to the saying by the NPS "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people"

By saying that and then saying not you but a future you can enjoy this park sure does not help local businesses.

From another article about the Flamingo Lodge states they had the same thing going on there, but did not have the interferences of Cape Hatteras...

"he National Park Service is eager to restore family-style hospitality services at Flamingo. Park attendance has declined significantly since 2005, and as you can well imagine, area businesses and governments are upset about the losses of income and tax revenues associated with reduced park visitation. Sport fishermen and birders lament the loss of convenient access to some of the best angling and birding in the southern states. "

They instead just built another lodge costing millions to do so. Cape Hatteras needed a bridge 20 years ago and it just made it through to the planning stage.

Posted on a Hatteras Island fishing board:

It's been a great 20+ years but we have to make changes
by btrotter » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:54 pm

For many years I have been going to the OBX to enjoy the following:

*Time with my family away from normal life
*Away from the cell phone and emails
*great fishing on the surf
*Bringing my boat down and fishing in the sound or off the point
*Sleeping in with NO ONE bothering me
*Getting up every morning and taking my early morning Jog to Frank & Frans and have a free cup of coffee while eating my 18 vitamins that I take every day
*Visiting friends from Hatteras Village all the way to Rodanthe
*Spending money that I dont have to support "JOBS and the OBX"

But what do I get. RUN OFF! Let me break this down what has happened over the last 3 years that this has been going on.

We fought back by doing education, handing out flyers, working with OBPA, Beach Buggy, Anglers Club to raise money and support. Ok Ok I understand at this point your tired of reading but continue.

Lets take "my family" Husband, Wife, 2 daughters a son and my inlaw's. Total 6-7 of us. Now let me put this in $$$$$$$.

*(2) 4x4 vehicles to drive everyone down. From my house to the island, around and back 2400 miles= 171 gallons of Fuel (So at today's average $2.96 per gallon) 171X $2.96=$507.43, Only 65 gallons are purchased away from DARE County. So that means 106 Gallons of Taxable fuel is to benifit Dare County.
*(1) House for the week at an average of $1462.10 (based on my 4 weeks average every year)
*Food bill for us (again an average) spending at Conners, Food Lion and Red Drum for a week $1125.11
*Eating out 2 times during the week (again an average) for a family 6 &/or 7= $291.52
*Bait and Tackle (again average) $214.92 per trip
*I carry a max of $800.00 cash and it's down within 50 bucks so we will say $750.00 misc cash (I dont use credit or debit on the island.

Now lets figure that up.
$4351.08 (I was pretty shocked when I seen how much I spend every trip down)\
Now take that and MULTIPLY X 4 TRIPS PER YEAR......................YEA................PRETTY CRAZY HUH?
Over $17400.00 per year and I have NOT counted the weekend trips to catch the big runs of fish. Now if I added that up it would boost it some but I am dirt cheap on those trips because no WIFE and KIDS.

If I a middle/average/american spends 17k a year JUST WITH MY FAMILY. I hope this sheds some light on the impact that the island is going to suffer.

We are now 1 trip a year and that is October for the tournament. I plan on continuing that trip to support what I love and have loved for years.

Now I want to personally thank each and every friend that I have met on the island for great times. If you are one of the reasons why I have decreased my trips from 4 to 1. Well please never come up to me. Ignore me with respect.

I do not wish to read "statistics" I am telling you the impact and in final.........It's been an awesome 20 years of vacation and again thank you! We are moving our vacations to Morehead City, A Cruise and a week on a local lake "bass fishing"

I feel heavy hearted to even write this but this is how the new rules and regs have affected my family. I will never give up on keeping the beaches open but NOW I have to put my wishes and wants away and provide enjoyment for my family. I will always be here to help as always.

God Bless
The Trotter Family

Brian, Katherine, Morgan, Madalyn and Brian Alexanderbtrotter

Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:30 pm

I am in the same boat after this year if everything pans out like the preferred plan states. From my pocket that means 2500.00 per trip not including the three other couples and kids we come down with one of which rents a spot at a camp ground so he can visit 20 plus times a year. This is a new story that will be repeated over and over again.

To all of the nay saying Enviros (that will tout that we are leaving just because we cannot drive on the beach) I say lets see you walk out there? there will be no predictability in being able to plan a trip down because at a moments notice an area that is open will close and as stated before who wants to attend a National Seashore without the shore... Kind of like owning one of those fake aquariums that hang on the wall (not meant to offend those who do, but it is not my thing).

Thanks for the memories but these last visits will definitely be remembered and treasured.

Ranger Bill won't have a job when Audubon get's done with him and his Park.

$17,000 a year on trips to Hatteras kicks you out of average, glad you could do it, but sounds pricey to me. I spend $2-3K every two years on my trips to Hatteras (and I drive about 2K round trip and share a house with other families).

Actually Ranger Bob, the Seashore was set up to give Americans access to the sea.

Like some of the posts above, I have curtailed my trips each year as well. I still come once a year, although I have skipped -- down from an average of 2-3 trips with family or friends. Last time we came, it was 6 fisherman for a 5 days. That's 5 days of restaurant dinners, multiple trips to Food Lion and surf or bait shops, etc.

Ask any retailer at Cape Hatteras, Avon or the communities, especially those in close proximity of a ramp that accesses a closed beach if their business has been affected by the closures. I doubt you'll hear many no's or get an apathetic answer. If you're a Ranger for the NPS as your handle implies and working there, you might want to learn more about what your neighbors are experiencing.

Kurt, thanks for this article.

My wife and I vacationed in another area with many miles of beautiful beaches last summer, where the hotels and motels and campgrounds were full to capacity, and so were the restaurants. (We had reserved 5 months ahead.) There were plenty of families on the beaches, but not a single vehicle. I believe Cape Hatteras has far greater potential for tourism with the limitations recently adopted by the National Park Service.

Hey George you cannot access the closed areas because of birds and turtles. Besides the closures I would like to see you take the wifey out for the 3 mile round trip to the point from the ramp entrance in your birkenstocks and a bottle of water. That will do wonders for your relationship. I for one will not attend a park if there is a chance it will be closed to humans when I arrive. Simple math will tell you that all it takes is 30 or so pairs of plovers breeding 1,000 meters apart and there is no more beach for anyone.

Ranger Bill is correct in that the park wasn't established to help the locals and their businesses. However, these locals did not show up looking to exploit the park.

The park was taken from the locals, unwillingly, and the locals were left living in the middle of the park with nothing but a written promise from the park service that they would never be denied access to the land which they once owned.

This promise has been honored up until now. So, when you hear promises from the park service about future access not being denied, be careful, they do not honor their word even if you have it in writing.

First off, many you don't get it. This is not just preventing ORV access, it PREVENTS HUMAN access as well. Yes, that means most of the areas closed to ORVs are also CLOSED TO HUMAN ACCESS. Read that again and again. Then ask yourself why a bird the size of baseball needs a 1000 meter buffer around it.

Some other NPS personnel feel differently. Here's a quote from Superintendent Pedro Ramos of Big Cypress National Preserve and the same can be said for CHNSRA:

"So it was a place that was created and founded on this concept and promise of compromise, where everybody has a place, where conservation is important. But having access is also important. If we forget that, and if we are not true to the intention of Congress and the mandate that they gave us to the act, we would not only be breaking promises made that resulted in the creation of the place, but we would be violating law, the law that created the preserve, which ultimately is what it all boils down to.”

This change of management in CHNSRA is in violation of the Congressional mandate.

The NPS needs to think about more than just conservation. If the economy of the island dies, they will be losing jobs too.

Thanks Kurt for the big "duh" report and we can gather that if the survey was done after the proposed FEIS it would be even greater uncertainty.

"For the benefit of nesting shorebirds and sea turtles"?

Its not about the birds or the turtles. There I said it.

Let's not forget it is a RECREATIONAL AREA.

Let's not forget there are quite a few things that would enhance access and benefit the resource, but that would be too easy. Instead the NPS just wants to lock people out.

Let's not forget about Pea Island NWR, within the confines of CAHA, and the management of said NWR.

Look at the money the park service is going to spend just to impliment the new plan just to shut people out. If it was used for real management the birds and turtles would be doing great and there would be access. But it is not about the birds or the turtles.

CAHA is not Atlantic City or Virginia Beach with a boardwalk and the like. Hasn't there been enough building within CAHA? I sure hope CAHA doesnt look like that because of this plan.

Look at the science these people claim to be using. Not saying its all a joke. But if someone tells you to study something, I'm pretty sure they can tell you where your study is supposed to lead.

People? The NPS does not care at all about the people. Just their bosses and most of NPS. Look at who's running the show.

Well said Jim. Ranger Bill, your understanding of the history and enabling legislation of CHNSRA must be different than mine. I guess I better go back and read it again.
Upon reading the data provided in the survey and manner in which some of the information was attained as well as the time frame, I contend that limited conclusion can be obtained from it. Yet this will again be "best available science". I say again, where is the "best available common sense". And guess what, Common sense is free. Imagine that. I guess that is why it is not considered worthy because you don't have to pay for it.
Sorry to repeat but , It's Not About The Birds And Turtles. That's common sense. If there was 1,000 of each bird and turtle on CHNSRA the NPS would still be shutting it down and we all know why.
There is probably a creature that someone is concerned about on 99% of NPS acrage. If that doesn't work, they will come up with something new. Lets just shut it all down and be done with it. Close it to everybody. Maybe that will make the AB and DOW and all the other Anti-People groups happy. Lord knows they need something to, because they must be miserable right now. That is, except for those proffiting from all this stuff and we know who they are.
Sorry for the rant but just getting tired of some of this stuff.

Ron (obxguys)

I suggest that everyone that claims that the NPS folks are bringers of doom and gloom and are people haters, try talking to a couple. They are hard working folks just like you and me and have no desire to eliminate your use of any park (not to mention they can't anyway). Stop demonizing these people and be more constructive about the issues. Personal attacks are useless and accomplish nothing. I have said this many times on here, be I thankful that NPS folks are here to protect these areas the best they can. Without them you would have zero access, because it would be private land (plenty of examples up and down the east coast of this happening). Are there bad eggs, of course, but most have studied hard and worked harder to be good park interpreters, park biologist, maintenance folks, etc. It is easy to hate a giant conglomerate like the NPS, but it is made up of people, not a bunch of evil minions from the underworld.

When the NPS is rattled around in these criticisms it is at the upper organization level rather than the people at the park steward level as they are only following direction given to them. An example is the arming of the NPS in Cape Hatteras at the beginning of the consent decree. I am sure the person standing there in full military garb with an automatic weapon did not come up with this on his or her own.

I would add that this organization (the NPS) is more reactionary to events than proactive due to the fact that if they sneeze then there are several outside influences ready to pounce on where the tissue is disposed. Having that hanging over your head tend to make one look at the basics and simply follow that as a rule and ignore the peripheral benefits offered by recreating in a National Park. That is how Cape Hatteras is being run now. Where once was an enjoyable place to find solice now is a bunch of different types of signage strung throughout the park.

Take what you want from that situation because I will not play russian roulette with my ability to actually access an area on vacation.

I believe the wife and I would very much enjoy a 3 mile walk on the beach. In fact, we walked that far the last time we visited Atlantic Beach. We love the outdoors and spend all the time we can outside and active. We're in reasonably good shape for our ages (late 40s). I wish more people would come to enjoy challenging themselves physically and realize their potential. It really is quite rewarding.

Anon 8:43
You are right. NPS are people. Just happen to be associated with an organization (NPS). We of the free access group realize that. My experience has been nothing but good with the individual "people" wearing that uniform so it is definately not personal. Though it is impossible to not question their sincerity, given the circumstances. Same goes for them when thinking of us. Few of us have the opportunity to know each other that well. However, the changes taking place, though they result from influence by groups of "people" outside the NPS, are imposed on us by the NPS. The NPS is stuck by association.
I had one brief face to face conversation with Supt. Murray at a public comment meeting. I simply asked him to look out for us (the access folks). I told him he was all we've got. I was not sure what his response meant, it was something to the effect that he was not sure what he was going to be able to do, that it was not going to be up to him, as best I can recall. Anyway, that is the the feeling I had as we parted. I wondered who it would be up to. I also had the feeling, that above all else, he was a good man. I felt like he had to be at least a little sympathetic to our plight for that reason, if for no other. I sure would like to know where Mr. Murray stands on the issues personally, regardless of what he must enforce in the future.
Most of us can take what ever comes out of this because we are strong men and women. The one thing that would make it more difficult than anything else would be to lose something so dear to us and not know how everyone personally feels about it. What ever happens, whoever wins (if anyone does) I hope it will be due to true and honest facts and everyone will know for sure where all involved stand on the issues. It will probably be difficult enough to live with anyway, but even more so if we don't know where everyone truly stands. Let's finish this thing right. Tell it like it is, wether we like what we here or not. Cut the bull and lay it on the line. Then everyone can live with it and themselves when it's over.

Ron (obxguys)

Artie,
All due respect and I appreciate where you are coming from but, I suspect you just gave a few fishermen/women that frequent "the point" their chuckle for the day.

Ron

Artie I hope to see you one day at the point, but it will not be during the summer due to closures neither one of us will be allowed. I will say that when I go to the point I like to spend better part of a day there and you cannot do that long of a stay with children without having the items kids require sunscreen, food, water, maybe a chair for the wife and a rod in my hand. Walk all of that out and see where it gets you.

I too enjoy the outdoors to assist in keeping me in shape. I Kayak on the James river in Richmond Va, I mountain and road bike, I hike along skyline drive with the kids, I fish, ETC... but from what I have seen in my 41 years is that ones enjoyment of the outdoors does not constitute being a good steward and in fact what I mostly notice is the people responsible for closing Cape Hatteras or absentee visitors who have never been here or plan on coming.

Once again, read the NPS administrative history. The park was set aside for recreation and the DOI promised a road and to support the continued development of the fledgling tourist economy that existed at the time the park was proposed. The naturalists lost on this one area and they have been trying to wiggle their way back in ever since.

Enough--150 plus miles of vehicle free and wild life refuges vs. 68 miles for recreation and that doesn't count all the sound side islands. There should be room for humans too and not just the vibrant 20-40 year old backpackers.

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/caha/caha_ah.pdf

Ginny, thanks for linking to this report. It lays an interesting foundation for the current debate over access, which, as you no doubt know, dates back to the 1940s.

While this is certainly a tough issue for all involved, the administrative history also mentions "wilderness" and specifically references Congress's intent that Cape Hatteras contain "primitive wilderness."

Here are some of the references, including this one from the introduction:

This authorization reflected a strong desire to preserve a significant portion of the unique and “primitive wilderness” of the Outer Banks, the chain of barrier islands that guard North Carolina’s mainland coast.

The administrative history contains the following references to wilderness on Cape Hatteras:

...it was “the great responsibility of the Federal Government to provide those forms of outdoor life and recreation which it alone can give and which are associated with the wilderness.”

...the seashore’s creation reflects the traditional thrust by progressives to promote both conservation and economic development by establishing parks that preserve wildlife and wilderness while attracting and catering to visitors.

...the group considered a bridge at Oregon Inlet likely but were also “in favor of preserving the wilderness character of the area by keeping paved roads out, if it is possible to do so.”

And, finally..

...Cape Hatteras National Seashore was not to have any designated wilderness areas despite the language of its own authorizing legislation (emphasis added)

Of course, the administrative history also points to opposition of a "primitive wilderness" on Cape Hatteras, and the need to provide for recreation. Indeed, this sentence jumps out:

...Cape Hatteras is the first national park to recognize that the federal government has a responsibility to maintain public access to the nation’s beaches.

Interestingly, sometime between 1956 and 1966 Park Service officials lamented the increased traffic on the beach, saying it would impact recreation:

During Mission 66, the impact of driving on the beaches was a major concern. Superintendent Hanks declared that “driving along the ocean shore by the public must be controlled” to reduce its impact on the recreational purposes the park was established to meet, specifically picnicking, swimming, and surf-casting, all of which “require assurance of non-intervention by shore driving.” Hanks further noted that “such protection has long been recognized by the more developed areas north to Kitty Hawk.”

Considering all of that, is it any wonder there's no clear, easy solution? The Park Service is mandated by the park's enabling legislation to preserve a wilderness setting on the cape, but also to provide recreation.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block, however, is the Endangered Species Act, which the Park Service has to live by when it comes to bird life, marine life, and vegetation as well.

So the NPS is actively destroying OUR wilderness by putting thousands of stakes, signs, strings. People and ORVs are and have not destroyed any wilderness.

Well Kurt I will say that if wilderness is what they want then let them have pea island, but this will not satisfy them as they were already given pea island and now they want more. Look back a little further and realize humans changed the landscape of this island to fit there needs in the 30's with the CCC. You cannot simply reference keeping this a wilderness and preclude people from access. When they stated wilderness it was against development, not access with a vehicle. When the legislation states "other forms of recreation" people always leave out ORV's saying that is not what they meant??? How the BEEEEEP do you know? Did they also purposely leave out of the enabling legislation the use of laptops, wifi, nintendo ds, and the Frisbee? No They mentioned at the time what they believed to be beneficial recreation for the area and left the "other forms of recreation" to be decided in the future as no one at the time say the general public driving an suv or for that matter a prius!!!! Heck they did not even have a bridge allowing the traffic flow of today? Nor was the population of the area what it is today.

The main question is did we meet the mandates set by the enabling legislation?

"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 . . ."

The NPS has added Ramps and cross overs so these areas were deemed adaptable for OTHER recreational activities!!! LIKE DRIVING ON THE BEACH!

"shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness?" Yes it does not get more primitive that sand and water, Though the road does take away some of this primitive wilderness, but no more than those roads through other National Parks!!! OOPS there is the dunes built by man for man and for no other reason than to make access easier for man... does primitive wilderness and the constant battle for the new bridges impacts imply we should scrap also the dune system to return the island to the state before humans????

Please environmentalist tell us how far we need to go back to please you!!!!

I have not read all of it yet but, have scanned some of it so far. Speaking of the website ( history/caha) provided by Ginny in her above post. I will read all of it and particularly the letters to the people "Bankers" where promises were made as well as requests asked of them. I believe the order of the day during the time of these writings was that A Mans Word Was His Bond. I also believe the people of the villages have lived up to these requests. Are they now getting slapped in the face in return ? You have to decide that.
I think I will reserve anymore comments until I have read all this material and would strongly urge others to do the same. It is very enlightening and, I believe, clarifies the intent concerning some of the Gray areas so frequently 'Interpreted' in comments concerning the 'Enabling Legislation'. Should be on the 'Top Ten' list everywhere.
Kurt, some of the references you quoted might be easier to follow and interpret if accompanied by other statements made before, after and associated with, if that makes any sense. The overall discussion and tone associated with a topic is sometimes crucial. Please don't take offense.
Ron (obxguys)

PS: Really connects with some of what Matt eludes to in his above comment. Please don't think Matt and I are in collusion on these posts, we have never met or spoken. Same thing true of Ginny.

Well - Kurt brought up the Endangered Species Act. That's pretty much the neutron bomb of all federal laws. I've literally seen it stop private development in its tracks (look up the San Francisco garter snake for examples). No doubt there are a bunch of competing laws on the books, and it'll be up to the courts to decide.

Perhaps the NPS can learn a thing or two from the State of Delaware Parks. SOME areas are restricted because of the birds, but there is always a place to surf fish 365 days a year. Banning ORV would ruin the beach experience and destroy the tourism in certain resort areas. That, is just bird-brained.