Give Us A National Park, But Please, Not Its Regulations

Who wouldn't love to have Yellowstone, or Cape Hatteras, or the Grand Canyon as their backyard? But those pesky rules and regulations....Top photo by Kurt Repanshek, bottom to NPS.

We love our national parks. We love the wildlife they hold, the seashores with their sparkling sands, the forests with their wildlife and hiking trails, the soaring red-rock cliffs and plunging canyons.

But please, don't ask us to abide by their regulations.

Uproars over managing off-road vehicles in both Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Big Cypress National Preserve, the oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore, air traffic over Grand Canyon National Park, snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, and now bike races in Colorado National Monument all seem to drive home that point, no?

There are other examples, to be sure, whether you point to non-native fish being stocked in North Cascades National Park, off-road routes in the crooks and crannies of Death Valley National Park, or climbing fees being raised at Denali and Mount Rainier national parks so the Park Service can afford its climbing programs.

There's an interesting conundrum at play, don't you think? Congressional representatives and states clamor for a unit of the National Park System in their backyards, both for the preservation they bring and the economic boost they can provide. But after the ink is dry on the enabling legislation, those pesky regulatory details can be downright breath-taking, and not in the same manner as Yellowstone's Lower Falls.

* In North Carolina, the idea of Cape Hatteras being the country's first national seashore was applauded, as was the National Park Service's agreement to artificially maintain Highway 12. But what's this about seasonally blocking some access due to nesting birds and turtles?!?

* Yellowstone is beloved by Wyomingites, Montanans, and Idahoans, all who rightfully take pride in laying claim to the world's first national park. Just don't too loudly raise the issue of where or how you can snowmobile in the park, delve into the wolf recovery program, or mention bison, unless you're ordering a cut for dinner.

* Grand Canyon National Park was a god-send for northern Arizona, a hot, arid place in summer where the park's lure contributes significantly to the local economy. But now some air-tour operators are complaining that the Park Service's efforts to restore natural quiet to the canyon, something that no doubt helped lure many of those visitors, could put them out of business.

* At Big Cypress, never mind that the Florida panther, arguably the most-endangered mammal in North America, is a tail's length away from extinction. Swamp buggies are needed to pierce the dense undergrowth and boggy sections of the preserve for hunters, anglers, and wildlife viewers.

* And at Point Reyes, the tastiness of a farmed Pacific oyster is the cause célèbre in a battle over wilderness designation.

Never mind that there is better snowmobiling in the national forests surrounding Yellowstone than in the park itself; that the fishing off Cape Hatteras is better in fall, outside of the plover and sea turtle nesting seasons, than during the height of summer; that Drakes Estero isn't the only place to farm oysters in California (Tomales Bay oysters, anyone?); that there already are off-road vehicle routes elsewhere in Big Cypress; or that the Grand Canyon planners believe they have a system that will allow for 8,000 more flights a year that currently being flown while also reducing noise in the park.

No, those are all beside the point to some.

Of course, the National Park Service has no other choice but to uphold its regulations. And foremost among them is the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, a legendary work of conservation foresight that specifically directed the Park Service to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein ..."

Of course, there are those who are quick to point to the second half of that sentence, the part that also directs the Park Service to "provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

But as the late historian Robin Winks, who scrutinized the Organic Act to accurately interpret its intent, pointed out, the intent of the framers of the Act clearly was to place preservation of the resources above recreation.

The National Park Service was enjoined by that act, and the mission placed upon the Service was reinforced by subsequent acts, to conserve the scenic, natural, and historic resources, and the wild life found in conjunction with those resources, in the units of the National Park System in such a way as to leave them unimpaired; this mission had and has precedence over providing means of access, if those means impair the resources, however much access may add to the enjoyment of future generations.

Not impressed by Professor Winks' academic approach? Then know that federal courts have ruled more than once that preservation of the resources is the prime directive for the National Park Service.

In a case that arose 1986, for instance, National Rifle Association vs. Potter, a federal district court ruled that the Organic Act gives the Park Service "but a single purpose, namely, conservation."

Ten years later, in 1996, in Bicycle Trails Council vs. Babbitt, not only did the appellate court agree that preservation comes foremost for the Park Service, but it also ruled that the name of a unit of the National Park System -- in other words, whether the unit in question was a "national park" or "national seashore" or "national recreation area" -- did not alter that mandate. That ruling came after the court reviewed the 1970 General Authorities Act and the 1978 Redwood Amendment.

So what's the solution? Should states retake the national parks? Should Florida reclaim the Addition lands of Big Cypress, as one reader noted it could readily do? Should the "national seashore" tag be removed from either Cape Hatteras or Point Reyes? The locals are the ones seemingly most rankled by the regulations, and some outwardly maintain they could do a better job of managing the parks.

Of course, affording them is another question, as many states are finding it difficult to maintain their state parks. But that's part and parcel of deciding how to manage them, no?

Should the National Park Service Organic Act, that dusty, 95-year-old piece of legislation that gave the Park Service its marching orders, be gutted? Why not just take away that first part about conservation (which many have interpreted to mean 'preservation') and focus on enjoying them? And not for future generations, but right now!

Surely, by doing so free enterprise could be unleashed on the parks for hunters, anglers, off-road enthusiasts, snowmobilers, personal water craft owners, and who knows what other commercial enterprises that currently are shut out. True, that "national park" logo that comes in so handy with marketing would be lost, along with possibly millions of tourists who focus on "national parks," but that would solve some of the crowding issues in the campgrounds and moving about the beaches, no?

And no doubt some of the current open space could be done away with -- forests cut down, meadows plowed smooth, and asphalt laid hot and gleaming -- to make way for more lodges and restaurants and parking lots. That might detract a little from some of these places, but at least the Park Service wouldn't be around to police its regulations.

Perhaps the colonies should take a cue from the English, who have created a park system in which "(P)eople live and work in the National Parks and the farms, villages and towns are protected along with the landscape and wildlife."

But then, the concept of the American National Park System would be lessened, if not outright tarnished, no?

Though the above was typed only half-seriously, how should some of the issues raised by the vocal minorities that are complaining about how the national parks are being run be addressed? Should they just be dismissed as the rantings of local minorities, who in turn should be reminded that these are indeed "national" parks and not local playgrounds? Or should there be a serious reappraisal of some basic ground rules? After all, many of these locals moved to their present locations because they loved the parks and wanted to be close to them. But then, in some cases, lawsuits and regulatory changes followed them.

How seriously should the Endangered Species Act be taken? Wasn't it rampant development and sprawl that forced many of the listed plants, birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, etc. into the dire plights they face today? And how vital is The Wilderness Act? Do we need it to preserve and maintain our wide-open expanses?

In the end, I suppose such questions hinge on whether we believe we should leave our grandchildren photos of Florida panthers and Ivory-billed woodpeckers and grizzly bears...or the real thing.

Comments

I am a strong advocate for upgrading the Pinelands National Preserve to a National Park. Should this happen, a way of life for many people will change forever given current regulations. Off-road vehicles, hunting, fishing, road access, and many other things would be affected, things that have been taken forgranted for perhaps hundreds of years.

The question that we must pose, perhaps impose upon ourselves is this - is a way of life worth sacrificing for life itself? I think it is much easier to change a lifestyle than it is to alter the course of nature to suit ourselves in the short term. In most cases that I am familiar with, the latter always results in negative impacts that cannot be anticipated. Nature is just too unpredictable.

This battle has been going on since the flooding of the valley in Yosemite. Not only did that act take away a way of life for many people, some say it also took the life of John Muir. Others say the sacrifice was worth the enhanced lives of the people of San Francisco as a result of a new fresh water supply.

I would argue that the latter was not a question of life, but of lifestyle. Life resides solely in nature. We humans are the only beings who have the brains, the soul, and the spirit to live within nature or to fight it. Sadly, most of us have lost our powers of created dominion and substituted our personal destinies in favor of the greater good.

Take away the snowmobiles, SUVs, ATVs, access, and any other thing that impedes the natural ebb and flow of nature in her own course. The result will be sustenance and provision for people for generations to come -if we will just leave it alone.

This article points out these items and selects certain activities to exploit. If one really feels like we are ruining the park systems by allowing these types of access then why is building bridges, walkways, parking areas, bathrooms, and several other permanent structures allowed to sustain pedestrians?

The real question is at what level is access unacceptable. I drive on the beaches of Cape Hatteras and yet you cannot find a mark I have left. Millions hike on and maintain trails that can be seen with the naked eye. Why is a bare dirt trail 3 feet wide with stone signage acceptable under the same rules you state for off road vehicles. Does this not cause erosion, create runoff of an unnatural sort, does this not promote destruction even though to a lesser extent?

"In the end, I suppose such questions hinge on whether we believe we should leave our grandchildren photos of Florida panthers and Ivory-billed woodpeckers and grizzly bears...or the real thing."

You need to add to this statement to make it true. I will suggest the following... "or the real thing... that they cannot possibly see from the edges of the park. So the pictures are the only way they can see them."

Oh that is right we can see them if we choose recreation that is pigeonholed into what is acceptable by a few and spend thousands of dollars on equipment and go against why we came there in the first place.

My 6 year old son specifically asked to see the bird that closes down the areas of Cape Hatteras each year he remembers before this happened. My answer was that we do not have the funds to purchase a spotting scope capable of doing this and afford to stay at the beach. He then with his infinite wisdom states well lets look one up on the internet...

"Take away the snowmobiles, SUVs, ATVs, access, and any other thing that impedes the natural ebb and flow of nature in her own course. The result will be sustenance and provision for people for generations to come -if we will just leave it alone."

You must watch life after people (Great Show)... I agree but with one difference take away all access if you wish to really save these areas. Put restricting the pedestrian access on the agenda as much as the non pedestrian access and see how many people who access the parks support you then.

No controversy here, LOL.

The attempt by some to separate themselves from human behavior to "protect" nature is surely an interesting thing to watch. It really isn't a healthy avocation although it does give one the feeling of supremacy but often unhappiness in the end. Personal bias, anti-social, personal gain, government dependance, inability to relate to private sector ambitions and achievements while fully utilizing their comforts. The denying of cultural and historical records to pursue new cultural hoola hoop preferences that detach even more while avoiding the supremely humbling experiences that really define the greatest generation. Denigrating their father's and/or grandfather's challenges and achievements. Roll all this in with government and politics that ignore or attempt to deceive with comforting altruistic wordage and you have something pretty interesting.

These great places have the capacity to heal and restore us and that should be a realization that should be given equal footing with
protection of a resource, equal footing. Surprising lessons could be learned. I recognize the difficulty for those responsible for the decisions and pray that they find the wisdom...

I'm with Abbey- close national parks, seashores, monuments, and preserves to all motorized traffic (including cars). Plenty of national forest and blm land for everyone to enjoy however they wish, but some places should be unspoiled and preserved in their natural state for future generations. We're not doing enough to make that happen.

--Mark

I have only one thing to say because this article covers way to much territory, varying circumstances and period of time in which conversation flowed and promises were made (wether literal or implied).

If the tables were turned and the free and open access contengent were given free run of the parks, wilderness and recreation areas, I for one would be a strong advocate for the conservation and preservation of the resources involved. That would be the easiest thing I would ever have to do because I believe I have already been doing that my entire life. The Plovers, Turtles, Panthers as well as most all creatures would have my attention because they always have.
What makes anyone think that the free and open access contengent cannot be instrumental in doing what is good for the parks, wilderness and recreation areas without giving up the way in which they access and use portions of these areas. As long as there are two or more people using the parks, I guess there will be two or more theories as to what everyone should or shouldn't be allowed to do. It just seems in this case, one is open minded and willing to negotiate a suitable compromise and the other is 'my way or no way'. One can do nothing right and the other can do nothing wrong. One thing I learned early on is that no one is right all the time. But I wouldn't even try to tell some people that.

Ron (obxguys)

This is a very interesting discussion that goes to the core of the dilemma found in the mission of the National Park Service. Most of the issues and complaints about regulations in parks come from local people attempting to make a living off of the park. I do not begrudge them their livelihood, but how many National Parks have economic development in their enabling legislation? Is that why we have parks?

This reminds me of a situation I faced as a District Ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The National Park Service purchased over 3,000 acres of land that directly adjoined the Park for the protection of the Appalachian Trail. In the mid 1980s the plan was for the property to be managed by AT volunteers. The trail community did not want park rangers on the lands enforcing regulations. The idea was that this would be a protected corridor for the Appalachian Trail but free of National Park Service enforcement. Orders for my staff and I were to stay off this Park Service property. Once hikers were confronted by aggressive armed hunters, ATV's running through trout streams and the trail caused damaging erosion, trees were cut along the boundaries to expand yards and for firewood, and trash built up in illegal campsites the volunteers, State Officials in Richmond, Va, and the then Appalachian Trail Conference Office came to me demanding that the park rangers from The Blue Ridge Parkway do something about the threats to visitors and resources on these lands purchased so they would have National Park protection. We did step in and detailed additional rangers to the area to gain some level of compliance for resource protection. Today a written agreement provides for the Blue Ridge Parkway's rangers to provide law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue response to this area.

Although this may not have been as dramatic an example as the situations outlined in the original article, it does illustrate what happens in a National Park Service area that is not subject to regulations and enforcement. Unfortunately, National Park designation does not come with an automatic sense of respect from everyone. In an ideal world all people would hold sacred a special place that has been set aside for protection and preservation. In our world this does not happen. There are always those who do not see the impact of their own actions and are more concerned with their immediate gratification. Everyday it is a struggle and challenge for park managers to find balance between permitting access and public use of areas and conserving those same resources so they will be around in the future. In many instances such as with the Piping Plovers at Cape Hatteras, courts step in and order the National Park Service to take stronger steps to protect natural and cultural resources.

I know that I am biased after more than 32 years as a National Park Ranger, but I would rather see my parks over regulated so I know they will be there for my grandchildren and their grandchildren.

When the regs don't make sense, why should we? Lets say you want to burn wood found on the beach, the Park says its ok. Great. Lets say you like one piece of driftwood, and you decide not to burn it and you want to put it on your mantel. No way, its against the rules. Silly, Lame, Stupid!

Every time I’ve hiked along Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite, I’m reminded of the fight between preservation and shared resource use.

The National Park Service is the only Federal agency tasked with maintaining cultural and natural resources in an unimpaired state.

BLM, US Forest Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service all promote shared use of the resources they protect.

The Raker Act authorized a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley in 1913, before passage of the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916. If we couldn’t preserve a beautiful part of a crown jewel in the National Park system without the Organic Act and the regulations that followed, we desperately need those NPS rules and regulations to do so now.

Many people come from local areas and from around the world to see geysers and bison in Yellowstone or the giant Rorschach tests in stone of the Grand Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands. Local people were displaced by the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. Yet if the park hadn’t been established, it would have been clearcut and a big chunk of its recreational value destroyed. You wouldn’t have had all those visitors, and the ongoing tourist economy.

Subsistence hunting is allowed in Gates of the Arctic and certain other National Park Service properties in Alaska. Inholdings like Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Lassen Volcanic are common in National Parks. So there’s been some accommodation of the original landholders and nearby residents who depend on parklands for their livelihood.

As Repanshek points out, if you want to snowmobile or ride OHVs, there are many properties adjacent to National Parklands where you can do it. I think the problem comes when folks who’ve been pursuing certain activities for generations on those lands get told they can’t anymore. Human nature being what it is, they don’t want to change.

The thing is, if there were no regulations, thousands of others would pursue activities destructive to the resource the NPS is trying to protect. As it is, you can talk to any ranger at a park like Arches, and they’ll tell you the resource is being loved to death. Normal visitation and use within the regulations causes wear and tear.

Without the regulations, it goes far beyond that. The Wetherills looted artifacts from Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon for sale to collectors and museums before the Federal Government stepped in to stop it with the Antiquities Act of 1906.

That wasn’t the end of it. In late 2009, I followed sketchy directions to a wellhead in Northern New Mexico. That was the trailhead for Twin Angels ruin, built by the Anasazi around 1100 or so. The ruin and trail are managed by BLM, who also administers oil drilling leases. Left unprotected, there would be nothing left of the ruin – it would look like a cratered battlefield from pothunters’ illegal diggings. There are documented cases of ancient walls being bulldozed on less-protected properties to yield valuable artifacts sold to the highest bidder by pothunters.

Current Federal regulations give rangers the tools to go after abuses like that, and maintain the resource in that unimpaired state. Do you want your kids to inherit a world without natural resources to lift their spirits, or lacking cultural resources to show them where they came from?

"..giant Rorschach tests in stone of the Grand Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands".

Very nice! Can I use that?

Kurt, Bruce Bytnar and Mark Bohrer all added to my history lessons for this week and I bow to their knowledge and understanding. I find agreement with much of what they say. I would go as far as saying that I support what they say with one qualification.
I have ridden snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. I do not feel that this activity was detrimental in any way at the time. I passed within feet of a bison and did so as instructed and quite honestly believe that bison couldn't care less about me. In fact if anything I feel it was one of those mutual personal moments. I also snowmobiled outside the park in West Yellowstone a couple of times where we had a different kind of fun. I don't know if we were different then than those visiting now. Nor do I know if conditions have changed. So I will not venture to be an authority on this one.

I have also traveled the Blue Ridge Mountains and ridden the Everglades in an Airboat and snorkled on delicate reefs and explored caverns and canyons. Yes I have been blessed and hope everyone will be also. I say this so you will know that I have been exposed to natures wonders and I can assure you that I was always conscious of the delicacy of the environment surrounding me. I was taught to respect everyone and everything.
Now for my qualification. I have driven the beach at cape Hatteras for almost half a century now. So forget the talk about future Generations, I have taken my children and my children's children and their Great Grandmother on this beach. I can tell you that the beach is in the same condition today that it was 50 years ago with the exception of changes due to natural occurrences which I see as rather minor, all things considered. I certainly see no effects from orv use.

So my point is, every park is different and unique in its own way. Its uses are different as well as its suitability for certain uses. Cape Hatteras is different. But there are those that want to apply 'blanket science' and 'blanket restrictions' and 'blanket -------' . We all know about the plovers. We've known about them for years. I am getting a little tired of people saying I've got to get out of their way. A lot of beach excluded from use because one plover may have nested there once and may want to do it again. Never mind that he could just move over a bit where most of his buddies are nesting. Look at the NPS maps and explain that to me. We don't want all the beach and truth be known, that plover would probably say he doesn't mind, if he could talk to us. But I guess he only talks to Audubon, then they speak for him.

Just something to think about. It's not cut and dried.
Ron (obxguys)

Marjorie:
Sure, it's what those places are. Bicycle through any district of Canyonlands (especially the Maze) or hike GCNP or Arches and you'll definitely see it. I remember a formatiion you could see from the Maze overlook that reminded us of someone dangling a rubber chicken by the neck. Of course, nearby, you had the Nuts and Bolts.

In Arches, there was the stone alien waving at you. GCNP is more massive, but the stone characters are still there.

And don't even get me started about Bryce... ;-)

Mark Bohrer

This thread is full of fine examples of the thought processes of a certain segment of the human population which sees no difference between an individual person on foot and that person (or more than one) on a motorized conveyance. As if the speed, weight, noise and emissions of those motorized conveyances are no different than those of a pedestrian.

And why does every thread end up as a debate about the "free market"? But of course the old saying "to whom much is given from whom much is expected" is too Marxist for those who don't want to be stewards of the planet or their brother's keeper.

My understanding is that Drakesbad Guest Ranch is no longer an inholding but owned by NPS and operated by a contractor. I've read that the the public facilities at Death Valley are private inholdings and aren't subject to NPS regulations. There certainly are inholdings such as Wawona and Foresta within Yosemite, as well as the Yosemite West community that is reliant on Wawona Road for access. I remember passing by Wilsonia in Kings Canyon NP too. I guess there are some cases where the federal government didn't have it in them to force sales using eminent domain. That can be a scary thought as a property owner - that your property might be taken over by court order while having to either take a lowball offer or where the assessed value of your property is diminished because of the threat of eminent domain.

As for the oyster farm debate in Marin...

I enjoy a good oyster from Tomales Bay. I've enjoyed a Hog Island Sweetwater, Pacifics from Point Reyes Oyster Co or Tomales Bay Oyster Co. However - Drakes Bay Oyster Company is by far the largest oyster producer in California and I consider their product superior; I understand they can grow to a marketable size three times faster than Tomales Bay. Oysters grow faster there because of a more abundant food source coming in faster from the ocean. If DBOC were to close, it creates a dilemma because the farms in Tomales Bay are limited in how much they can expand. There's plenty of oyster production in Puget Sound and British Columbia, and that's probably what would pick up the slack - not Tomales Bay.

Life can be simple when you pick and choose your history and your regulations. Yellowstone National Park is a perfect example of the changing way we have interpreted the organic act. Enjoyment came first, well ahead of preservation. There were bear-feeding demonstrations with grandstands set up at the dump so that people could come and watch. Some geysers were permanently destroyed because visitors were encouraged to stuff things into them just to see the objects shoot into the air when the geyser went off. In the 60s, bears were still coming through the campgrounds nightly, their culture having changed thanks to easy pickings in trash cans. It's taken decades for the NPS to change that bear culture.

As our population has become more and more urban, parks have edged further and further towards preserving for us the picture we have in our minds of nature. They find one point in time, and declare that the goal, and then try to deny or avoid all the complexities of nature and our relationship to it. And since trying to keep changeable nature in one static time period is so difficult (impossible actually) regulations/restrictions have increased.

The reality of the situations in each of these parks is complex and this article does us no favors when it comes to helping us address those complexities. For example, it's easy to say that wilderness should outweigh oyster production in Drakes Bay Estero, Point Reyes National Seashore if you don't look at the entire wilderness picture in the seashore, or consider what oysters contribute to the ecosystem. The wilderness boundaries in this park unit seem to have been designated with a bias toward recreation, with a cherry-stemmed road running down to the edge of the estero, a parking lot and visitor buildings included. Data gathered by the NPS shows that visitors using these facilities are the cause of seal disturbances during the critical pupping season. Meanwhile, their data, and the secret cameras the NPS installed, show that the oyster workers do not disturb the seals at all. We also know that the oyster farm produces thousands of pounds of food protein in one acre, and is in fact one of the most carbon neutral ways of producing food that we have available to us. So what should we do?

I have a friend who works for the National Park Service who says "There are Nature's rules and there are Man's rules. We can't change Nature's rules, but we can change Man's rules." What man's rules should be continues to change as we change. If we are to make good rules and regulations, we need to have honest discussions about all the complexities we face. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Kvoth makes a very good point when stating that the park service picks and chooses what they want to protect and how.

Cape Hatteras is a fine example. The rulings for restricting activities that have been ongoing for nearly a century for protection of one threatened species. It is constantly brought up that Mans influence on the beaches of Cape Hatteras are the reasons for this species not thriving today. Well if it were not for the influences of man it may never have even been there at all. Man created dunes, drainage systems, artificial ponds, etc... that create an artificial environment that draws small numbers of these birds to the island. Remove all of these man-made influences and let nature take over these areas and you will see a very different result when it comes to this specific threatened species.

The same can also be said for all national parks. Was the intention of the National Parks not to preserve these areas in a natural undisturbed state? If so tear out all the roads, boardwalks around geysers, and buildings like hotels and such as these are all versions of access that is unnatural and lowers the pristine views and vistas that the National Parks were to protect. Groups will pick on and sue for what they believe to be true and sometimes they win. This allows the National Parks to be one of the largest Special interest groups around. it is purely at the will of special interest lawyers that these National Parks are under funded and overrun. Where they see something they do not like they will sue until it is corrected into their likeness and then alienate one group at a time eliminating more and more funding while pocketing the fees paid for by the NPS. It took many years, many mascots dujour, and failed attempts by environmental groups to get where the NPS is today. Say what you wish but do not tell me my way of accessing the park (which leaves no marks) is worse than building permanent access roads, docks, boardwalks etc... To me that is simply the pot calling the kettle black.

Matt Stubbs:
Say what you wish but do not tell me my way of accessing the park (which leaves no marks) is worse than building permanent access roads, docks, boardwalks etc...
Didn't the NPS build permanent beach access ramps? Also - isn't the concern that vehicle access might endanger wildlife? It's not solely about whether or not tracks will wash away. Vehicles also leak fluids including motor oil, washer fluid, coolant, etc. Tires pick up assorted debris and redeposit them. I don't know if these would be large impacts, but I wouldn't pretend there are no impacts that remain after the surf washes away tire tracks.

Sometimes "resource protection" means not leaving resources in a purely natural state, but concentrating access on more durable surfaces.

As I stated these things you pick and choose to list and more are bad for the environment, but no worse than building roads that have many times been accused of transporting vehicles and much larger qty's than beaches and allow all of the above mentioned bad things to gather and then be washed off during a rain storm at larger qty's.

You have a point but as typical you choose to only use it for your agenda. Now multiply all that you state by reality and figure out how much bad stuff is put into the park system by all the roads, boardwalks (pressure treated I am sure), sidewalks, runoff from walking trails, etc... in the national park system!!! Sure makes your point except using it in a way that reflects on how it is used against the Cape Hatteras beach goers.

Why does every conversation on this site always come down to CAHA? Weird.

Matt, you have to keep in mind that the Park Service does quite a few environmental studies before it builds roads, bridges, or trails into an area. They don't simply go in and lay them down where they might make the most logistical sense from an engineering point of view.

As I'm sure you well know from your experience at Cape Hatteras, they have to survey the area in question not only for sensitive species, but archaeological resources, along with all the other usual items, ie is the terrain suitable for the purpose envisioned, would the project in mind detract from the area, etc.

And each time the Park Service conducts these studies, the public is invited to suggest issues and topics that they believe should be studied before a decision is reached, and then the public is asked to provide comment on the proposed decision.

I don't think there ever was an intention that parks would not be developed to a certain degree. The forefathers of the national park movement had public enjoyment and recreation very high in their consideration not only of which areas should be included in the park system but how visitors could get around those parks.

And Kvoth is correct in pointing out that over the decades Park Service approaches to what is appropriate often changes. The bear feeds at Yellowstone are a perfect example. And isn't there a contradiction in the approach the Park Service takes at Cape Hatteras with threatened and endangered species (sea turtles and shorebirds) and that which it is taking at Big Cypress in allowing more off-road vehicle routes in the habitat of what might be the most endangered mammal in North America?

The goal of this article was to create a discussion, which we're very pleased to see that it has. Are there simple answers? In some cases, yes. In others, no. But we need to keep churning through these issues with hopes we can reach reasonable solutions.

With all due respect, is Mr. Stubbs really trying to compare the impact on a beach caused by vehicles to that of foot traffic? This type of irrational arguement is obviously intended to confuse the issue, not honestly address what the mission of National Parks should be.

When I have four legs, weigh a ton, and carry some 40 gallons of slowly dripping gasoline and oil around with me, we should absolutely return to this discussion. Til then could we at least attempt to recover the Twinkie wrappers blowing out the windows?

Wilderness rules are the worst. I am discriminated upon because I cannot physically hike more than a few miles. My bicycle does not harm the trail any more than hiking, or llamas, or horses, but I can't take it into a wilderness because it is mechanical. No more mechanical that a fly rod, but you can take them there.

My conversations turn to CAHA because I think of the arguements used for removing ORV's from the beach, not building a bridge, etc... used by persons in the recent past. Arguments like you cannot build this bridge in North Carolina because water runoff from it will cause issues to the environment, yet they insist that a longer bridge right down the road is the only way to go to protect the environment. Do your research on the area and see for yourself.

Y_P_W insists that things like ORV's leak oil and such on the beaches destroying the environment, well they leak the same on the roads and they gather waiting for the next rain to wash them into the environment!?!?!?!? Same Thing and both can be prevented, but only one is on the enviro agenda.

As far as Rob Reinharts comments I will state that my comparrison has nothing to do with weight. Look at an ORV trail it is bare or vegetation, same for a foot trail. Both cause the same type (notice the word type and not amount) of damage when large amounts of rain run down them. Because this is used against ORV's and it is a reason Enviros want them out of the parks I will say the same for people. Apples are still apples even if they are smaller.

In the end I will say I am venting about the way things are being handled in CAHA and the way I see things are handled elsewhere. It seems these same types of groups have one objective "LIMIT ACCESS" and many tactics, lawyers, and money to get it done. While our government sits on its hands and pays them to sue the NPS.

Kurt please show me the impact studies done to create roads in the National Parks!?

I would like to invite some of the preceeding folks who made reference to CAHA, the 'footprint' vehicles leave on the beach and trash itself, to join the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association in it's next Operation Beach Respect and highway cleaning scheduled for April 16th. For details, you can go to the NCBBA website. It is interesting that personal vehicles are used to remove debris from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area several times each year, totally accomplished by volunteer members. The trash and debris removed from the beach is partly trash brought to the beach, no doubt, but as much or more is from wash up. We at the same time, man the ramps and encourage users to pitch in an take off what the take on the beach plus one more piece of trash. CAHA has beautiful clean beaches. I suppose there could be some oil drippage but honestly, I don't see it. The vehicles I see on the beach are probably among the best keep vehicles around and for good reason. Sure the vehicles produce tracks but, just as footprints are made and paths result they are temporary. There is no permanent damage to anything. The tracks are just sand being relocated back and forth a matter of inches. There are almost always some there but they come and go. Just like foot prints. You can make BIG tracks out of them or small tracks out of them, if you want, we all know how that works.
I hope I have not offended anyone.

Ron (obxguys)
ncbba life
obpa

"The National Park Service is the only Federal agency tasked with maintaining cultural and natural resources in an unimpaired state. BLM, US Forest Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service all promote shared use of the resources they protect."

Sorry to be picky, but I have to disagree with you there. All four agencies maintain designated wilderness areas which are managed for their "unimpaired state" and natural qualities.

if limiting access protects the resource, then so be it. And I have done my research, many, many, times over.

As for bikes not being allowed and flyrods being allowed...a flyrod is not a mechanized means of transportation, which is explicitly stated in the legislation as not being allowed in wilderness.

Don't legal precedents allow for disabled access in the wilderness as an exception to "mechanical transport"? I've heard that off-road wheelchairs are allowed in Congressionally designated wilderness.

As for the issue of various vehicle fluids leaking - I realize that leaking stuff does eventually wash away regardless of pavement or not. However - I was just responding the contention that driving on the beach is somehow less destructive than hiking or horseback riding. If a drop of oil leaks out of a gasket or main seal while on the beach - that's going straight into the sand. It frankly is a more direct impact than a drop of oil getting soaked by asphalt. I'm just saying that every activity has impacts.

I'm wondering if there could be limits. Canyonlands NP has effective limits on the number of vehicles on the White Rim and The Maze via roadside campsite quotas. I would need a permit (with quotas outside of winter) to backpack in Yosemite, and now even need a permit to ascend the Half Dome cables. There was a time when one could just camp anywhere in Yosemite, with the result being degraded vegetation in meadows as well as damage to wildlife habitat. Now one must keep a vehicle on "durable surfaces", although the amount of parking has been an issue for years.

y p w,

I do believe that wheelchairs capable of going "off road" (e.g. bigger tires) are an exception to the mechanized rule.

"If a drop of oil leaks out of a gasket or main seal while on the beach - that's going straight into the sand. It frankly is a more direct impact than a drop of oil getting soaked by asphalt. I'm just saying that every activity has impacts."

Oil on the asphalt does not completely soak in and that explains why when you are driving on a road that gets rain after a long drought the road is slick as ice in spots. This accumulated oil and other chemicals (icemelt, etc) then gets washed off into the ecosystem. This in combination with any and all debris from the roadway is why I believe that it is the same if not worse than the beach. At the beaches we pick up debris that not only may have been left but also as Ron mentioned we also pick up debris that washes ashore. I bring trash bags out every time I go to the beach and I always bring them back off the beach full. The same cannot always be said for the roadways in the other parks.

Also there are much more cars in lets say Yosemite than on the beaches.

As far as Off road access for wheelchairs it seems like pacification rather than really solving the problem. When mentioned about doing this in Cape Hatteras I firmly believe this is pacification because I have used the carts provided for beach use and they fall way short of easing the transport of goods as the sand differs in texture and compaction causing it to be very hard to pull through with little more than beach towels in tow. I cannot imagine a person weighing any more than 50 lbs being any easier to push the 1/4 to 1 mile needed to access some points to fish.

Richard:
Canyonlands National Park permits your bicycle on primitive trails to places like the Maze District, which rarely see people compared to the Grand Canyon or the rest of Canyonlands. That's about as close as you can get to riding your bike in wilderness - and it's pretty close

Just carry plenty of water.

You’re right, Drakesbad Guest Ranch was a private inholding at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The original owner deeded it to the National Park Service in 1958, and NPS decided to maintain it as a ranch for visitors. The Warner Valley summer backcountry ranger, one of my park management instructors, works with the ranch managers and their guests to help them understand the reasons for regulations, and listens to their concerns. This exchange is important, especially with the burn risk from geothermal features, and tradition of private grazing and recreational use.

Both sides have valid views. Rangers want to keep park visitors from harm (and there are usually more than a few who ignore the signs and get burned). Visitors and longtime residents want to hike, ride and graze like they’ve always done.

Without the regs, warning signs and fences, there’d be a lot more people falling into Boiling Springs Lake. Since no one in our society takes adequate responsibility for themselves anymore, NPS would be sued regularly for the resulting burn injuries.

Laws and rules reflect the society that makes them. Our litigiousness and lack of self-responsibility mean lots of protective regulations.

It’s also a question of who we want to share our world with.

Do we want a mechanized world humming with industrial and personal electronic machinery, where we feel that Nature should get out of our way and be controlled?

Or do we prefer a balanced place where there’s room for other species besides us, and where Nature is allowed to have a role?

We’ve proved over and over again that we lack understanding of ecosystem interactions. We introduced mongooses on Hawaii to control the rat population. However, mongooses hunt during the day and rats are nocturnal, so that didn’t work.

Some species are keystones of their communities, where many other species depend on them for survival in those communities. When we extinguish one species, we alter that environment and the other species in it. We aren’t smart enough to know which species’ disappearance will topple our position in our environment. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we depend on Nature for our survival.

Food doesn’t just magically appear on grocery store shelves, nor does clean water automatically come out of the tap. That snowy plover at Cape Hatteras might be important to the overall ecology in ways humans don’t understand.

And it might be a slight inconvenience, but we can probably find an equally-beautiful beach to walk on, and allow the plovers their space too.

Almost no place on Earth is the way it was 100 years ago. We have to start where we are. Recent population and resource use trends are taking us to an unsustainable place. Preservation of National Park lands is a start towards reversing some of those trends.

Matt, regarding environmental studies and roads, there have been quite a few over the years.

One back in 2006 was done on a road in North Cascades National Park.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/10/house-passes-legislation-could-lead-national-park-service-rebuild-road-north-cascades-national-park4826

Interestingly, while that study convinced the Park Service that upgrading the road wasn't a good idea, congressmen from Washington state introduced legislation to order the Park Service to improve the road.

More recently, officials at Big Cypress National Preserve are doing environmental studies for off-road vehicle trailheads and access points, and, of course, they did the same to decide the Additions lands section of the preserve could handle 130 miles of ORV trails. The latter involved a full-blown EIS.

Last year officials at Mount Rainier National Park conducted an environmental review in the process of deciding whether to keep maintaining the Carbon River Road, which was prone to washouts.

A major one -- full-blown EIS -- back east involved the so-called "Road to Nowhere" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are other instances, but hopefully these will address your question.

Kurt Repanshek:
There are other instances, but hopefully these will address your question.
I don't think anything will truly address his questions until ORV access at Cape Hatteras NS has minimal restrictions. We all know that's his pet peeve - and that he injects Cape Hatteras into almost every discussion he engages in here on NPT. I certainly hope there can be a balance. It's the single-issue participant who seems to be the most vociferous - whether it's guns, off-road vehicles, climbing, etc. We all know where Matt stands. However - many of the "regulars" here engage with more nuance and taking balanced views.

We've certainly had interesting discussions/debates, but I would hope that there's a healthy dose of respect that other people might have differing views.

Fascinating comments here, as usual. :)

I'll throw in another vote *for* park regulations. Due to the sheer amount of humans, their toys, their trash, and their disregard for preservation (please note that I'm not talking about all humans, just the ones who ruin it for everyone else), regulations truly do protect our national parks. If people wouldn't trash/destroy wild places, we wouldn't need to regulate them.

And while the wilderness guide part of me thinks "no mechanized vehicles" whatsoever in any park is an intriguing idea, I honestly disagree with that viewpoint. Many, many people cannot see a national park unless they see it from inside a vehicle. It's not fair to say, You can't go in there just because you are infirm, too young, too old, too sick, whatever. Our national parks should be accessible to everyone who wants to see and enjoy (not destroy!) them. And, the technology (vehicles, etc.) exists, we use it, end of story. The point is, how do we wisely manage transportation and general park usage concerns? Therein lies the continuing debate and hackle raising.

YPW I am for regulated ORV use in the National Park Systems in fact I supported the Interim plan that was fair and reasonable. That was until the park was sued by special interest groups in an attempt to completely shut down ORV use until a plan that fit the special interest groups agenda was drawn up. Look up the court reports from Judge Boyle on Cape Hatteras and you will see that on several occasions complete ORV access was threatened because of these outside influences. The NPS had already signed off on the interim plan and it was established.

As far as Kurt question goes all those studies show the comments and arguments used by persons trying to stop the bridges on this coast are from those who do not have any other agenda but to do any and all to stop people from accessing these areas. Luckily the DOT took over and said enough is enough and stopped any more studies. New bridge by 2015 unless another lawsuit is in order?

Are ORV advocates not a special interest? What exactly defines a "special interest" here?

Thank you, Mark Bohrer (not verified) on March 3, 2011 - 11:37am for an excellent and thoughtful post here.

justinh:
Are ORV advocates not a special interest? What exactly defines a "special interest" here?
I guess the informal definition of "special interest" is "a group that lobbies for something that I don't agree with". A group that does agree with one's views is a "just cause". ;)

I got a little interested in what other NPS units allow vehicles on beaches. I personally haven't been to any beach operated by NPS that does, which would include long stretches of the Olympic coastline at Olympic NP, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, and the Marin Headlands at Golden Gate NRA, as well as Everglades NP.

There's a few beaches at Glen Canyon NRA, including Lone Rock Beach:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkID=62&projectID=19520

Little River Canyon National Preserve:

http://www.nps.gov/archive/liri/Rules/Atv/Atv.htm

Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland/Virginia, which are formed of several barrier islands. Permits are really expensive though:

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http://www.nps.gov/asis/upload/OSV08-2.pdf

ORV access at Cape Hatteras was only threatened because for nearly 40 years the NPS had not developed and implemented an ORV management plan as was required by an Executive Order issued by Richard Nixon, if the Seashore, or any NPS area was to allow ORV use. Legally, Executive Orders are law. Basically, without an ORV management plan, ORV use in any NPS area is illegal. I think most courts and most people would feel that nearly 40 years was a more than reasonable period of time to develop and implement an ORV plan and come into compliance with the Executive Order. If an ORV plan had been implemented at Cape Hatteras, as was attempted back in 1978, the implementation would have been a lot easier than it has been. The term "special interest group" keeps being used by some as if it was a bad thing. I guess that depends on whether or not that special interest group agrees with your special interest group or not. ORV advocate groups are special interest groups, so are fishing groups, birding groups, wilderness groups. Why call the kettle black? The real issue here is change. We as a species tend to hate change, particularly if it personaly imacts us as an individual.

YPW, Cape Cod also allows ORV use on beaches. Cape Cod and Assateage both have had ORV management plans for years.

I used special interest groups to differ them from the NPS on who makes the rules and when. It helps not having to list all of them each time.

All of you cannot wait to jump on someone to input your view on their words just as you accuse others of. Spin as you will.

Cape Cod does allow ORV's and also closes down completely for plovers. They also do not implement 1,000 meter buffers.

Funny how in 1978 this supposed ORV management plan just disappeared? Probably with Hoffa somewhere :)

"I guess the informal definition of "special interest" is "a group that lobbies for something that I don't agree with". A group that does agree with one's views is a "just cause". ;) "

Good one you have proven my point as it was not the ORV access groups that sued the park because the REG-NEG was not going there way! Thanks

Ryan and y p w excuse me from jumping in on this forum to address both Matt Stubs and Ron comments on ORV controversy here at CHNS.

Matt and Ron most likely are members or supporters of 3 extreme special interest groups who have had considerable input concerning ORV access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 3 organizations are NCBBA (North Carolina Beach Buggy Association) CHAC (Cape Hatteras Anglers Club) and OBPA (Outer Banks Preservation Association). All three organizations like to point out that all visitors (pedestrians included) are being excluded from their Park however all these organizations efforts at increasing access only concern ORV access. The 3 groups were all represented in the failed attempt at negotiated rulemaking. Matt and Ron are spoon-feeding these groups POV in as many NPT comments they can.

Matt might be right that you can not find one of his tire tracks but be assured when management of the seashore beaches are finalized there will be considerable areas of ocean beach (the toe of the dune to the tide line) that will have: deep ruts in the sand, parked cars, burnt oil, transmission fluid and engine coolant bubbling into the sand and a potential car for every 20 feet of beach. If that is your idea of a National Park beach come on because the NPS is proposing plenty of this type of year round ORV access and additional ORV areas to be open seasonally. The supposedly willing to compromise ORV groups are outraged by these proposals and have repeatedly threatened to sue the NPS over their very lenient proposals for ORV use in CHNS. These same ORV groups sued the FWS over critical habitat and won the first round in court (bet their lawyers received a nice fat check from the government).

Matt says he can’t afford a spotting scope. Strange, owning and maintaining an ORV cost a lot more than a spotting scope. Cape Point the place in the park that both birds want to nest and people fish has been closed during nesting season since 2005.

Ron doesn’t see much difference in an ORV trail to a remote destination (1 1/2 mile walk) and a foot trails. It is not just the large deeply rutted trail ORVs leave behind that I have to walk on but the shear number of people cars and equipment that ORV access encourages that offends me. Then I have to wonder if it is so important to provide ORV access to places in the Park maybe we need to pave more roads for the visitors that don’t have or can’t afford an ORV. Where do you draw the line is a question that concerns NP everywhere.

The conservationist’s logic behind the presenting protocols that restrict access is basically the same as Ron’s. If birds are harassed (like unrestricted ORV use) off of the sites they have nested on before (Oystercatchers and Plovers show strong site fidelity) they won’t nest there or will nest somewhere that won’t restrict access to the places fishermen want to fish.

I have had 50 plus years to recreate on CHNS beaches. Walking to many places with my fishing gear now requires some effort (and a dose of ibuprofen). It is an experience I hope will be available for many future generations on a remote National Park beach in the Outer Banks of NC and not some small eroded token piece of the Seashore that the ORV groups choose for me after they have cherry picked the few remaining wild places in the Seashore they deem only to be accessible by 4 wheel drive.

SS1
Yes I am a member of a couple of the organizations you mention and support them because I believe in their creed. I am very proud to associate with such a fine group of people. Please note that I have never hidden who I am, who I associate with or what my beliefs are. My comments start with my name, I sign with "Ron (obxguys) which happens to be on our family car license plate and I,on occassion, list the organizations of which I am associated. Nothing Anonymous about me. I also firmly believe what I say and, to the extent possible and practical, try to back up my beliefs with common sense statements and evidence. The points of view, though shared by some others, are mine, come from my mind, from my research and my experiences.

Now, you made reference to Matt, myself, the organizations I belong to and statements or points of view. You seem to know us and the organizations amasingly well. I am impressed. You have the edge on me as I do not know Matt. I do not attempt to speak for organizations as they are made up of many people with varying points of view. I only speak for others when authorized and requested to do so. So this is just me.

You state that "all three organizations like to point out that all visitors (pedestrians included) are being excluded from their park however all these organizations efforts at increasing access only concern orv access". You are wrong. Though emphasis appears to be for the orv segment, the pedestrian segment is definately included. The NPS policy refers to pedestrians almost as much as it does to orv use. And who walks those dogs, Pedestrians do. I am very concerned about the pedestrians and their pets.

Your rant about the vehicles destroying the beach and the previous law suit will not even get a response from me.

I did not say there isn't much difference between orv trails and foot trails. I simply implied that tracks are temporary wether made from tires or foot prints. This is what happens when you try and repeat something out of context. Big problem in this country.

You mention more roads, not me.

Are you saying I have harassed or am for Harassing Birds ? I will say that I would like to see a little more discussion about how the beach can be shared. I like the birds there and I have to question just how much space they actually need as a buffer to make them comfortable. I know "birds of a different feather" but I see birds all over the beach and they have no problem being in close proximity to us. Awareness is the answer, not exclusion. Harassment ? I don't think so.

I too have enjoyed as many years on the beach and I want to continue to teach and watch my grandchildren as they learn about the unique place that is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That includes fishing because as long as those little boys and girls want to, I will do all in my power to see they have that opportunity. Not to just fish, but to do it as I have and where I have. For, the folks that surf fish the obx are some of the true fishermen and women of this country as well as lovers of God's creation. And yes, I want to continue to drive them to the points and inlets and I will hope they will someday carry on the work of the organizations which you apparently have no use for. I hope they will be ever mindful of the birds and turtles and all gods creatures. And, I hope, some of the people they have to contend with in life are more reasonable than some we are contending with today.

Ron (obxguys)
VB & KDH
ncbba life
obpa


"Matt and Ron most likely are members or supporters of 3 extreme special interest groups who have had considerable input concerning ORV access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore."

Answer NOPE I simply like taking my family to a secluded beach and get away from it all.

"The 3 groups were all represented in the failed attempt at negotiated rulemaking. "

Well we know from where you come because technically speaking all groups in the REG NEG are failures as the entire thing ended without a decision. The real winner are those that pocketed money from the armchair enviros and SUED the park system...

"Matt says he can’t afford a spotting scope. Strange, owning and maintaining an ORV cost a lot more than a spotting scope."

Again answer is NOPE I own a truck used on my property and the maintenance is routine of any vehicle (I maintain it myself along with the other two vehicles, kind of like fighting for things I believe in, Not just handing it over to someone else to do my dirty work)...but I guess we are all lumped into one big group. I think we are referred to as Americans. You know it used to mean freedom.

"Then I have to wonder if it is so important to provide ORV access to places in the Park maybe we need to pave more roads for the visitors that don’t have or can’t afford an ORV."

First it is not just important, but required to get my kids out to the point. Believe it or not my kids love going to the beach so I choose to bring them there.

"Where do you draw the line is a question that concerns NP everywhere."

Where indeed do we do this, because the park system has set a bad precedent by allowing construction around OLD Faithful, to and from the Half Dome, Roads into any and all park systems, And I could go on and on and on and on. Again why is it OK for access here to require construction and not OK there. I argue it is of the perception of the person using the park. Does the decking and boardwalks around Old Faithful take away from the natural beauty? Heck Yes but that is not what people came to see they come to see water shooting high in the air. Was the Mount Rushmore so ugly that we needed to carve faces into it? ETC...

"I have had 50 plus years to recreate on CHNS beaches. Walking to many places with my fishing gear now requires some effort (and a dose of ibuprofen)."

I too would require Ibuprofen, but I cannot bring my kids there as for the last few years they have closed the point off during the time my kids are available to attend. The last image of the point is my Daughter before she was one on the point in 2007 playing in the sand. Walking in not an option for a family, young kids, older generations, handicapped etc... So Oh well let them stay home.

"It is an experience I hope will be available for many future generations on a remote National Park beach in the Outer Banks of NC and not some small eroded token piece of the Seashore that the ORV groups choose for me after they have cherry picked the few remaining wild places in the Seashore they deem only to be accessible by 4 wheel drive"

No this beach as of the finalizing of the DEIS Alt F will only be accessed by someone with a spotting scope and biology degrees. Then and only then will they realize that a bird who has less than a fifty percent mortality rate (less than half of the babies survive to fly) cannot thrive on the constantly changing environment of Cape Hatteras.

Ron I have read considerable information from the 3 ORV access organizations. I find the information disseminated by these organizations biased and at times pure propaganda for the singular issue of ORV access in the National Seashore. I don’t say this to offend you as a matter of habit I try not to offend people and apologize if anything I said in my other post did.

I also find it ironic when I see CHAC, OBPA and NCBBA decals on vehicles on the same bumper as stickers that suggest piping plovers are best fried or the bumper sticker of the picture of the bird giving the finger saying “Identify This Bird”. I commend NCBBA for their organized beach clean ups.

I’m not sure how me hiding my identity or you identifying yourself has anything to do with this discussion. I have good reasons for keeping my identity anonymous.

I have no problem with you speaking your mind and appreciate your tone, which is considerable more civil than most of the other members of ORV advocacy organizations you are a member of.

I respectfully disagree with you about ORV access organizations advocacy for pedestrian access only areas. As far as pedestrian access goes all the organizations mentioned have advocated for less area to be designated as a vehicle free area than what the NPS proposes. The small percentage of the Seashore beaches that the ORV advocacy groups proposed in the reg/neg to be vehicle free were for the most part areas that are so eroded that they had been classified by the park as unsafe to drive on for years. I do not believe all the truly scenic and dramatic places in the Park need or should be ORV accessible.

Walking pets on the beach is a separate issue from vehicle free areas. I don’t want to walk with or without my pet on heavily used ORV beaches.

As far as my, “rant about the vehicles destroying the beach” I stand behind what I have said. Having driven an ORV on the beach many times in the past I speak from experience and observation. The beaches from Ramp 4 to Bodie Island Spit, from Ramp 43 to Cape Point and Ramp 55 to Hatteras Inlet on any nice weekend will look exactly as I described. The information about lawsuits was to address Matt’s contention about environmentalist suing the government. My point being suing the government is a practice both sides engage in.

I see a big difference between foot trails on the beach and ORV trails. Once the ORV legislation is finalized the ORV tracks become permanent unless that legislation is changed.

I don’t think many ORV users intentionally harass birds or nesting turtles (some do and are organizing others to do the same on local message boards). If you drive or walk to where resting shorebirds (oystercatchers, skimmers, terns and plovers) and they flush you have harassed them. If a sea turtle crawls up on the beach to lay eggs and vehicle lights cause her to abort (false crawl) that is harassment. Most professional biologists would agree.

I have worked with both sides of this issue and to be blunt the people I find the most unreasonable are the 3 ORV groups I referenced and their members. I’m willing to provide (compromise) places and times for you to access remote places with a vehicle? Would you consider any of these places on the CHNS beach that could be vehicle free? If you do I hope you relate that to the organizations you are a member of because they clearly do not.

I hope one day to walk out on the National Park Seashore and show my grandchildren how to wet a line and have them look around and view a beautiful beach undisturbed in as natural a state as possible unfortunately for me that won’t be possible on the beaches with 1 car for every 20 feet of shoreline.

Southern Shores 1

I am not one particularly interested in jousting, therefor I will depart with this.
I can easily understand your point of view and I try not to let things get personal in these discussions. I do confront organizations when put on the defensive.

I have two questions
Do you not see, that the noted organizations, have reacted strictly in defense? To prevent Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife from taking from them a way of life on the Islands that precede you and I.
Do you really think that what ever policies are established at this point, Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife will accept it and not pursue effectively the total elimination of orv use on the Islands?

The title of this article is "Give Us A National Park. But Please, Not Its Regulations".
Many of us are thinking "We Have A National Park, Now Please, Don't Change Its Regulations".

I already know all the arguments concerning regulations in the legislation, acts and ammendments so please humor me and not go there. You know where I'm coming from, please give me a little latitude.

Hope everyone has a great Spring, I think we could all use one.

Ron

"Ron I have read considerable information from the 3 ORV access organizations. I find the information disseminated by these organizations biased and at times pure propaganda for the singular issue of ORV access in the National Seashore. I don’t say this to offend you as a matter of habit I try not to offend people and apologize if anything I said in my other post did."

I will simply ask does the three party enviro groups suing the park qualify as unbiased as they choose single species management. Before the plover they tried to protect Ghost crabs and then they got there poster child.

"Walking pets on the beach is a separate issue from vehicle free areas. I don’t want to walk with or without my pet on heavily used ORV beaches."

This statement makes me smile, because I have never seen a person walk to the point by choice! I also wonder what is in your mind a heavily traveled orv beach? I am guessing on vehicle would disturb you beyond belief, but thounsands of signs and miles of string does not affect you at all as you have not ever mentioned the negatives of this. If you believe walking with or without a pet is a seperate issue please reread the ALT F of the DEIS again. Both are not allowed in the areas marked.

"I see a big difference between foot trails on the beach and ORV trails. Once the ORV legislation is finalized the ORV tracks become permanent unless that legislation is changed."

... of coarse you do and how is anything permanent on this beach. A storm will smooth all sins.

"My point being suing the government is a practice both sides engage in."

Of coarse you will say this, but that does not change the fact that they sued the park system to stop orv driving on the beach. If in fact you understand the dynamics of this area so well what is your opinion on the affects to the small businesses on Cape Hatteras that this consent decree has caused.

"I have worked with both sides of this issue and to be blunt the people I find the most unreasonable are the 3 ORV groups I referenced and their members."

This is because they are the only ones losing here. An Armchair Enviro from oregan who donated 50.00 to a website loses nothing.

"I’m willing to provide (compromise) places and times for you to access remote places with a vehicle? Would you consider any of these places on the CHNS beach that could be vehicle free? If you do I hope you relate that to the organizations you are a member of because they clearly do not."

I too compromised by stating many time I have and did support the interim plan. I guess our support was not good enough. So we got sued out of the negotiations. There are many areas that are vehicle free, but youre issue is like mine we want the same areas and like me you cannot get there either. Compromise of your type eliminates me from brining my family to the areas I love. I will not subject my kids to 1.5 miles walks in the hot sand. If you do so with your grandkids so be it the world has a place for people like you it is called Pea Island. Heck even this area is bird free.

"1 car for every 20 feet of shoreline"

With this we all lose because neither of us wants this, but thanks to the lawsuit we are there. at least one of us will still access the beach if we choose while the remaining beaches are closed to you for birds. Think about that as I drive over the ramp...

matt stubbs:
Does the decking and boardwalks around Old Faithful take away from the natural beauty? Heck Yes but that is not what people came to see they come to see water shooting high in the air. Was the Mount Rushmore so ugly that we needed to carve faces into it? ETC...
Like I said - sometimes the best way to minimize the impacts are to build a more durable surface. The other alternative would be to build dirt trails. It could certainly be like what happened to Kendall Vanhook Bumpass when he took reporters to the Bumpass Hell section of what's now Lassen Volcanic National Park. For those who aren't familiar with the story, his foot busted through a thin crust and his leg had to be amputated after getting severely burned.

The Mount Rushmore project was started before the NPS had any part of it.

I do not see any difference in making access easier in one place with permanent structures such as roads, parking lots, boardwalks, etc... and not allowing access in another that does not cause permanent damage (in fact nature recovers each day from the ruts and tracks).

You specifically site an incident caused by the lack of access boardwalks etc... This incident can happen anywhere in the park system. Like when asked about public transports to the beach I give the example of someone having a health issue or my kids cuts his foot on a shell. Where as I had transportation to one have a first aid kit, two be able to get them off the beach. Are they going to provide Defibulators on posts?

So in the end I agree completely with your post , but will state that when looked at more closely it sure does mirror most of what I am stating.

Ron to answer your questions

“Do you not see, that the noted organizations, have reacted strictly in defense? To prevent Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife from taking from them a way of life on the Islands that precede you and I. _”
No more so than Audubon and Defenders reacted to the ORV organizations actions with the exception that Audubon and Defenders members have acted considerable more civil than the side you support. I don’t believe today’s recreational ORV use as a way of life on the Islands and perceive that statement inaccurate both historically and culturally. The historical pictures of OBX (besides my own 50 year history) are proof enough for me.

“Do you really think that what ever policies are established at this point, Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife will accept it and not pursue effectively the total elimination of orv use on the Islands?”
I have no idea what those groups will pursue in the future however the groups you mentioned have never said or suggested either publicly or in written comments that they have a goal of, “total elimination of orv use on the Islands”. From my experience they do not. Their singular goal is the sustain viability of specific species.

“I already know all the arguments concerning regulations in the legislation, acts and ammendments so please humor me and not go there.”
OK.

My displeasure is with the ORV organizations that want the great majority of the recreational resource to be ORV accessible. They are the groups that will not compromise with my recreational needs.

My displeasure is with the ORV organizations that want the great majority of the recreational resource to be ORV accessible. They are the groups that will not compromise with my recreational needs.

The DEIS effectively will close several areas to ORV use permanently. These areas are not that popular with the protected birds. The areas they claim to be open close immediately once birding season starts. These areas are under no circumstances guaranteed to be open. In fact when 80% of visitors make their reservations to come to Cape Hatteras they do not have a clue if they will even be able to be on the beach.

"I have no idea what those groups will pursue in the future however the groups you mentioned have never said or suggested either publicly or in written comments that they have a goal of, “total elimination of orv use on the Islands”."

Please read it in writing for yourself...

Conservation groups have asked for an injunction to suspend beach driving -- see attached motion that was filed by plaintiffs in US District Court on February 20, 2008. Attorneys working for Dare County are reviewing the motion and will respond appropriately. 2/21/08 [more]

See this link
http://www.co.dare.nc.us/Announce/CHORV/NPSORV.htm

"“I already know all the arguments concerning regulations in the legislation, acts and ammendments so please humor me and not go there.”
OK. "

If indeed you did know then you would not have made the statement about these groups not wanting to close the beaches... notice I leave out ORV because you fail to see that these closures are for all.