Seasonal Guidelines Instituted To Protect Nesting Shorebirds...At Gulf Islands National Seashore

Though it might seem the only stories about nesting shorebirds in the national parks revolve around Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there are nesting shorebirds at Gulf Islands National Seashore, too, and officials are implementing seasonal guidelines to protect them.

Gulf Islands Superindent Dan Brown says the 2011 shorebird nesting season is under way
in the Florida District of of the seashore. Among the species of nesting birds are least terns, snowy and Wilson's plovers, and black skimmers.

Areas where birds are nesting will be closed to the public and marked accordingly. These closed areas represent a very small percentage of the seashore and officials request that you divert activities to other areas of the park, Superintendent Brown says.

"If you find yourself besieged by birds, it means that you are near an unmarked nesting area or young chicks," a park release said. "Please leave the area by back-tracking your steps - these eggs are very small and may be hard to see."

Since birds and the chicks are often struck by vehicles as they wander onto or fly across roadways at the seashore, posted speed limits are being temporarily reduced to 20 mph in those areas where birds are nesting in close proximity to the roadway.

"By observing posted speed limits and watching carefully for birds flying across or feeding along the roadway, you can help to protect the nesting colonies," the seashore statement said. "By August, nesting will have been completed, and normal use of the road will resume."

Seashore officials also urged bicyclists, walkers, and joggers to temporarily avoid areas along the roadway posted as closed for nesting shorebirds. Any intrusion into the nesting area causes the birds to take flight, leaving their nests vulnerable, the seashore said, adding that the parent birds will often dive at the intruder in an effort to drive them away from the colony.

Alarmed birds may then fly low across the road and into the paths of oncoming vehicles

"We believe we can protect the nesting shorebirds and allow them to reproduce and flourish while minimizing the impacts to the visiting public," said Superintendent Brown. For additional information on park programs and resources, you can contact the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at 850-934-2600 or visit the seashore's website at www.nps.gov/guis

Comments

Are we over reacting? If not then they should come and shut down the school today. I find it hard to believe that the beach version would be that different and in fact have witnessed otherwise.

We attended a function at my childs school last night and there was a killdeer (Plover type bird) nested in the center court of the school. They allowed the kids within 3 feet of it and have been doing so for at least four years that the bird has been there. This school just recently finished both a building renovation as well as a major landscaping redo and the bird still returned. Originally the function was intended for a solar system watch, but with this bird drawing so much attention derailed the beginning and turned it into a lesson on nature and respect. Funny if my son was over 1,000 meters away he would never had seen this.

Funny but I suddenly had an idea that this may not be about the birds?

The killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), one of about 40 Charadriinae species, is abundant and capable of exploiting a wide range of agricultural and urban/suburban habitats. The plovers that nest on the beaches at Cape Hatteras are not killdeers, yet you've claimed that they can be treated the same way we treat killdeers simply because they are Charadriinae. This leaves me wondering just how far you might like to carry that line of reasoning. What do you have to say, for example, about the management of champanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and humans, all of which are Hominidae?

Methinks maybe Mr. Stubbs has been infected by the Utah environmental ethic: "Multiply, multiply and pillage the earth."

"The plovers that nest on the beaches at Cape Hatteras are not killdeers, yet you've claimed that they can be treated the same way we treat killdeers simply because they are Charadriinae. This leaves me wondering just how far you might like to carry that line of reasoning."

When did this happen? Did you read this into my statement? I did not intend this, but will state that several of the species of concern in Hatteras come to the same sand bars we park our boat on and they sit within 15 feet of my kids and dogs? Does this mean if we move these birds away from the beaches they become more tolerant? I simply was amazed that my son along with his classmates were allowed to interact with a species so similar to one that cannot tolerate being near us "Hominidae".

"What do you have to say, for example, about the management of champanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and humans, all of which are Hominidae?"

There are many who believe we should be caged in zoos and small areas so as to not cause damage to the precious creatures around us. Personally I think letting chimp and such on the beaches would not deter from my experience at all and in fact may be better company.

You get the last word on this one, Matt. That reference to chimps on the beach tells me all I need to know about where this thread is headed.

OK, a couple of plovers did their dance and scraped the sand just north of Cape Point (Hatteras). NPS closed it. Fishermen told to leave the point. The plovers probably got to watch them go by as they left. One fisherman said their driving by didn't seem to bother the plovers at all. Doesn't matter. One warm day, a month earlier than last year, one little path to the point per NPS, two plovers, and here we go. I can only imagine that there are some people cheering. They got exactly what they want. They got exactly what many have been saying they would get. Hope they're happy.
Couldn't wait a few hours to see if the plovers would move over just a little. No, that wouldn't make sense. Wonder if those plovers are saying ' if we knew we were going to cause them to have to leave, we would have just slipped over there a bit. No problem. After all the national park people are giving us just about the whole point as it is.'
The NPS may have wasted a lot of time and effort establishing the preseason closures and orv routes. Forget those neat little maps, you know, the "plan your trip maps". They did those fishermen a lot of good Friday.
I know, just get over it. It's ok, you can say that, but don't expect these folks to like it.
Kurt, you might want to check before you make that trip to Hatteras. May not be able to see the best parts with the way this season is starting.

Ron (obxguys)

Pictures are worth approx One Thousand Words...

Now that will be the last words... Please note the organization at the bottom.

Cape Point is not closed. Mr. Stubb’s picture is not of the current closure that is temporarily closing ORV access to Cape Point.

The current NPS press release concerning this issue: "Cape Point temporarily closes to ORV access. Deputy Superintendent Darrell Echols announces the temporary ORV access closure of the popular Cape Point area in accordance with the requirements of the consent decree. On March 18, 2011, just south of Ramp 44 along the ocean shoreline, National Park Service staff observed Piping Plover breeding behavior which resulted in the closure. The width of the beach is very narrow in the area commonly known as "the bypass" and the required consent decree buffer of 50-meters to the north and south resulted in the full beach closure. There currently is not an alternative ORV access route to Cape Point. Because of the steep beach slope, pedestrians would be allowed to walk through the inter-tidal zone to access Cape Point.

For more information on beach access, see:
http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/off-road-vehicle-use.htm
or call 252-472-2111.

Please, Fact Checker, don't confuse us with FACTS.

Fact Checker Please refer to this site for my reference pic. And please do not use a name you do not understand.

http://wheatseyeonhatterasislandnc.blogspot.com/

First you say...
"Cape Point is not closed."
Then youy Quote...
"Cape Point temporarily closes to ORV access..."

Which is it?

I suggest there not be anything posted anymore that can be used to argue the CAHA folks side of things....thus, please close down the site...thank you.

Ryan has been trained well... This is the same attitude the enviros have to Access and is how we got here.

Ryan I understand your frustration with your CAHA point. I apologize. It is difficult for me to read misleading comments and not rebut. I don’t begin to know how to explain to someone who doesn’t get the difference between closed as in no one is allowed there and ORV access is temporally halted to get to that destination. I guess for some people walking is simply not part of the equation.

Fact checker can you not read the signs posted this last Friday on Cape Point, south point Okracoke on Sat and today between ramp 45 and ramp 49... Please reread the sign and let me know where it states you (unless you are a scientist counting the birds) can walk? Are you not a pedestrian?

It must be nice to ignore the facts in front of your face and continue like nothing is happening or wrong. I am sure that this does not affect you as you sit in your armchair pointing fingers.

This is helpful as it explains why we are in the situation we are in. The facts that someone cannot read a sign tells me that maybe the intention was only to limit ORV's and that they are using the wrong signs?

Is walking an attitude? An "enviro" attitude?

I just took a look at the website Mr. Stubbs cited and found this headline over the whole thing:

Wheats eye on Hatteras Island, N.C.

An ongoing prospective of life on Hatteras Island as well as the destruction of Americas first National Seashore by the court, the Park Service and environmental groups.

Doesn't sound like a very well-balanced approach to trying to work out reasonable solutions in cases of disagreement.

But that aside, I'd hate to see Traveler (or any other access point) shut down a discussion just because they disagree with one side or another, or because some people interested in the subject aren't always diplomatic. Doing something like that would be playing into the same Me First And Only attitude that is paralyzing our government and many of us right now. America was built upon the idea that reasonable people may reason together -- and disagree together -- until we finally are able to reach reasonable solutions.

I can't tell you how many times in my life I've finally had sense enough to stop shouting and actually listen to something someone else was trying to say. And when I've done that, I've sometimes found a flashing light switching on and have had to realize that if I'd listened earlier, I might have learned something different fromt the dogma I'd thought I believed.

But at the same time, I do think Mr. Stubbs and the author of this website are missing a very critical point. The website shouts that it is trying to "preserve Cape Hatteras for future generations." Yet at the same time, they are also pushing to allow practices that, in the judgement of those responsible for the Cape's management, may be potentially harmful to that very very objective. Those who seek short-term gain from our resources usually are failing to see the big picture. It's the same mentality that led to damming of Hetch-Hetchy and attempts to plunk a dam down in the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon only a few years ago.

When dealing with something as delicate and still mysterious as an ecosystem, it's far better to err on the side of long-term preservation. And that is exactly what NPS people are trying to do. We have to think years -- or even centuries -- into the future.

It's vitally important that park managers have full support from the public as they work to resist calls for development, for wide-open and unregulated use, and all the other myriad pressures that fall upon them.

It's important for all of us to maintain PERSPECTIVE of the Prospective uses of our park lands. The real danger of destruction of America's parklands, including CAHA comes from those demanding unrestricted access, development, and other potentially destructive actions.

I'd be about willing to bet that if someone does some digging they'd find dollar signs hiding somewhere in the dark back corners of this website. If we follow the dollars, will we find someone here who sees a financial reward in all this?

Mr. Dalton,
I just couldn't contain myself. So please forgive me.
I doubt Wheat will waste his time responding to your post so I will take it upon myself to comment on his behalf and I don't know the gentleman personally. However, I have come to respect he him and his knowledge of the Outer Banks a great deal.
If your remarks concerning the "website" are directed at him, you might be way out of line. I challenge you to find an untruth in any of his writings. And as to his motives, I hope you have something to back up your statements or you are simply a self proclaimed non issue as far as I'm concerned. If you decide to investigate him further, I am confident you will find his motivation is in his love of Cape Hatteras and it's people and history. That is all the motivation many of us need. That and the desire to see the right thing done.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings but it needed to be said.

Ron (obxguys)

I love the outer banks, too.

My comments were not aimed at anyone in particular. His website simply seems to be one more example of a special interest trying to exert itself and sway opinions using emotion to forward an agenda rather than objective science.

When anyone uses inflammatory words like "destruction," I believe they are going beyond reasonable discussion and entering into the realms of extremism. Extremism rarely solves anything. Usually it just further clouds already murky waters. When I read farther into the web's contents, I found many more examples of the same kind of extreme rhetoric.

In their efforts to protect a valuable resource "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations," as required by the NPS enabling legislation, our managers have no choice other than to use great caution.

To me, this website reflects not so much a "love" for the place, but some very short-sighted desires that threaten to damage the very thing the writer claims to "love." That is why I commented that its author seems to have lost sight of the need to look far, far into the future.

First you say this...

"When anyone uses inflammatory words like "destruction," I believe they
are going beyond reasonable discussion and entering into the realms of
extremism."

But you also said this...

"The real danger of destruction of America's
parklands, including CAHA comes from those demanding unrestricted
access, development, and other potentially destructive actions."

And his website is misleading...:)

" If we follow the dollars, will we find someone here who sees a financial reward in all this?"

Please see Auduobahns land sales of land given to them so they would protect it from development... I found the MONEY.

There is a huge difference in what "destruction" means. When destruction refers to physical destruction of a place by tire tracks, tearing down or cutting vegetation, invasive species, or vandalism, it is not hyperbole. But when the word is used in trying to gain emotional support for actions that might limit what the person wants, it is an entirely different useage.

Any word can be used in an inflammatory way in one sentence and not in another. It depends upon context.

I guess you are trying to refer to "Audubon" in your last sentence but I have no idea what you are writing about.

My mistake I only read what you wrote and not what you intended. Being how you used the word destructive before clarifying that it is used in the realm of Extremism.

I assure you I am not extreme on any account, but I do take my family out onto the beaches of Cape Hatteras to get away from it all as you probably do in your National park of your choice. Since we are not afforded any other form of transportation we either must walk or drive our personal street legal ORV's to the destination to get away from it all. Walking is acceptable and has been done by myself many times, however when my family (wife and kids 6years old and 3 years old) is inclined to get away from it all on the beaches of Cape Hatteras walking is not an option. This is not because they are not capable, but more so that the sand is well over 100 degrees, the walk is nearly a mile at times, and the gear needed at the least is a cooler and shade structure. If in fact you have ever had kids you should understand this fact. If you have not had kids then I cannot express enough to you how difficult draggin them 1 mile each way across 100 degree sand for them to spend time on a beach not covered with people, towels and toys. I have fished from the beach, but I mostly enjoy my families company and I might even kayak in the surf. The point I am trying to make hear is that if this is extremism then yes I am, but I guess in some ways we all are.

As far as the last statement I meant the audubon and if you search audubon,property sales, and disputes on google you will see many examples of them selling land given to them to protect. Some instances they sold to developers they were intended to protect the land from. They even leased oil drilling rights on their land in the gulf coast.

Hey Lee Dalton, It might be time for me to lay off this stuff for a while. I was trying to cover too much territory in too little time. I was looking at Kurts article on Big Bend National Park, got to thinking about our comments and posted a note there by mistake. Should have been here. If you care to read it, please save me the time of rewriting by looking at it over there. Hope you understand.I was not trying to bring you into something over there.
Best to you,
Ron

Thanks, Matt. That is certainly a reasonable reply and I do understand where you're coming from.

The points I was trying to make were that 1> The NPS is always in a very tight spot and simply cannot in any way please everyone. 2> If we are to make any kind of progress on anything, we need to sit down and reason together and not shout at one another. And 3> When it comes to preserving any resource for the future, all decisions made now should be made on the side of caution because damage done today may not be reversible in the future.

I'll research Audubon. To be honest, I have heard some rumblings somewhere of what you've mentioned although I have not followed up.

Your experiences with your family are not much different than some of mine. We had a family favorite camp spot that we loved. But one day we headed out there and discovered the Forest Service had closed the area to all vehicle access because ORVs were tearing up the surrounding countryside. We had never had our tires off the established road, but had seen the damage so we understood. But it hurt like the dickens to be people who had always followed the rules only to be locked out by the irresponsible actions of others.

I keep preaching -- and perhaps I'm only preaching to the choir -- that instead of attacking the people responsible for managing our public lands we all go to work and attack the scofflaws instead. If we can hunt them down and corral them, maybe some of those closed areas might someday be reopened.

Good hunting, Friend! And keep smiling.

Lee I do understand Matt’s and Ron’s frustration. There are extremist on both sides and I think they are obvious. Some more facts I have uncovered.

Wheat it appears is or was an employee of Red Drum Tackle in Buxton NC. Buxton is in
the confines of CAHA and is closest to the contested “Cape Point” area (nesting plovers, skimmers, oyster catchers and terns and world class surf fishing). Wheat’s boss represented the powerful national fishing lobby ASA (American Sportfishing Association) at the regneg both of which have a considerable financial interest in keeping Cape Point open to ORV access.

Matt could walk in the tidal zone, drive his ORV to a different place in the park to recreate, park his vehicle in one of the many parking lots and walk the 100 yards to the beach or take his vacation in the early fall when Cape Point is open to ORV access and the weather outstanding. There are many places to swim etc in CAHA that don’t require a mile drive or walk.

(Fact Checker, Please take this in the manner it is intended).
Boy, don't you just love that comment made by Mr. Bob Janiskee a couple of weeks ago. It went " But, why would he want to". Hope some of you saw that. It was a classic.
I'll be a while getting over that one.

Thanks Bob,
Ron

For all of those who differ it is only that we differ slightly. Look deep down and we all have the same intentions. We the ORV crowd have preserved this beach for more than 80 years. Those who now speak so lowdly were silent until the lawsuit brought down the hammer on the NPS for failing to adopt a rule.
"Matt could walk in the tidal zone, drive his ORV to a different place in the park to recreate,"

Yes I could and yes I do, but when you pigeon hole those who wish to get away from it all into a corner that kind of ruins the experience. Kind of like Yellowstone only having Old Faithful with the remainder preserved for future generations.

"park his vehicle in one of the many parking lots and walk the 100 yards to the beach or take his vacation in the early fall when Cape Point is open to ORV access and the weather outstanding. There are many places to swim etc in CAHA that don’t require a mile drive or walk."

Please reread the fact I have a family and we want to get away from it all. Common sense will prevail once you realize that.