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April Fool's Story On Cape Hatteras Not Funny To All Readers

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The issue of access on Cape Hatteras National Seashore is among the most contentious in the National Park System. The presence of species that are recognized as threatened by both the federal government as well as the state of North Carolina requires the National Park Service to manage the seashore in such a way that protects and benefits these species.

Unfortunately, that management approach has not been welcomed or supported by all. There have been reports of harassment of seashore personnel, vandalism on the seashore, economic hardship, and long-time beach-goers who are finding it more and more difficult to reach long-treasured spots on the cape.

Traveler's attempt on April Fool's Day to take a pause from the heated atmosphere that has swirled about the seashore fell flat with some readers, including those at the Park Service. Recognizing those concerns and objections, the story has been taken down.

While the intent was not to further aggravate the situation, it regrettably appears to have done just that in some corners.

Traveler has long served as an open forum for the exchange of information and opinions about this controversy, and will continue to do so.

Comments

SS!
Great post and I agree but for a few areas.

Please clarify the following

"The areas that were closed off to ORVs in the past had nothing to do with resources or visitor conflicts."
What are you referring to the concent decree of the closure s bfore that for the same plovers and such? They have been closing the beache for resources for years before the CD was sued into place.

" While I don’t agree with the level of protection and reduction of
access I found the environmentalist I spoke with concerned with birds"

 as they should be it is their job. Simply put these are the foot soldiers and volenteers of thier movement and tend to have a less agendas and are not privey to the upper echelon of their organizations.

" I’m not so sure that one can say with certainty that 40 years of driving does not have any permanent damage"

Can be stated both ways!

The ORV users are just going to have to realize that they are going to
have to share the beach in a way they did not need to 50 years ago.

From every trip I have ever taken to Cape Hatteras (well over 100) I can say with 100% certanty I have never encountered one pedestrian who walked out to Cape Point  or to the northern tip of Okracoke! So my question is when have we not shared? Remember sharing is a two way street.


Greg I agree with some of your points. ORV users are not running wild in tricked out ORVs getting air on the National Park Beach.  The beach is incredible small compared to western desert parks and is crowded with vehicles for a good part of the year at popular locations. ORV users would be the first to report this type of behavior should they observe this.

I agree the Park has changed in the last 50 years.  More and more people are using the Park and placing demands on the resource that need to be addressed to fulfill overarching reason the Park was established.  IMO this necessitates restrictions on all users particularly ORV users if for no other reason than the amount of space an ORV takes up when compared to a person.

The areas that were closed off to ORVs in the past had nothing to do with resources or visitor conflicts. Those areas were closed because the beaches were so narrow as to be considered unsafe for vehicles.  We used to camp in NPS campground in Frisco because we could walk to ramp 49 and walk south on a beach that didn’t have ORVs on it. We had been doing this for a long time when in 2003 this beach was opened to ORVs. The park ranger we talked to told us the ORV groups had pressured the NPS into opening this area up to driving.  We wouldn’t camp there anymore.

My family doesn’t like  to recreate on beaches that have tire ruts and cars passing us by every few minutes. The carsonite post stuck in the sand every 50 yards to keep vehicles out of the dunes are every bit as ugly as the temporary bird fencing to me.

We all know it is not about the birds. People are fighting to close this all over the US that
do not have a clue as to the use of OVR's at Hatteras.

I have had some in depth discussions with environmentalists who are for the resource restrictions in CHNS.  While I don’t agree with the level of protection and reduction of access I found the environmentalist I spoke with concerned with birds, sincere and not having some clandestine agenda of kicking people off the beach.  I have to wonder how the
ORV access side would feel if they were constantly called liars and worse. It is not a good way to negotiate from my perspective.

“It is far from that and as one who has been beach driving for over 40 years I can say there is no permanent damage done. The tracks in the sand are always erased by mother nature and the high tides.”

It is true a couple of months of no driving and the ruts etc are mostly gone and the beach looks like a beach again.  I’m not so sure that one can say with certainty that 40 years of driving does not have any permanent damage.

“I would venture to say that the majority of the OVR use is by people that take care of the environment and love natures work.”

I totally agree. The ORV users are just going to have to realize that they are going to have to share the beach in a way they did not need to 50 years ago.


For those that are not familiar with this issue of OVR use at Cape Hatteras. It is not dune buggies runing wild. It is families and fishermen using their four wheel drive vehicles to access the beach. There are very few access areas [ ramps] and the large majority of OVR users are very responsible. The beaches are cleaner than the public beaches which do not have vehicle access.
S.S. - I hate to tell you but thing have changed over the past 30 years. Even before the consent decree there were areas closed off that were not for years. Not saying that this is a bad thing. Yes years ago it was wide open but few had four wheel drive then and the beaches were deserted for years. Some restrictions are not bad but this has gone way too far. 
We all know is is not about the birds. People are fighting to close this all over the US that do not have a clue as to the use of OVR's at Hatteras. They think it is another desert four wheel drive area full of specialized vehicles destroying dunes and everything in their path. It is far from that and as one who has been beach driving for over 40 years I can say there is no permanent damage done. The tracks in the sand are always erased by mother nature and the high tides.
I would venture to say that the majority of the OVR use is by people that take care of the enviroment and love natures work. That is why they visit this wild place.


"You and the “Free and Open Access” people are more offended by ORV
restrictions than pedestrian restrictions just count the “Free and Open”
bummer stickers on ORVs compared to street vehicles if you don’t want
to admit it"

First do not pigeon hole me I am for access only. Second there are no vehicles allowed on the beaches that cannot also operate on the streets so your point does not make sense. I also do not expect to see bumper stickers on peoples rear ends as they walk out on the beach so again your point is confusing.

Well since they do not care for plovers as much in the Southern shores shall recomend all ORVs head up there. This will weed out the individuals who use their ORVs for running around and tearing up the beaches versus the ones who actually use them to acces the prime fishing anf recreating locations. That should free up some space on Hatteras island for me. Thanks for the invite.

I have heard from a few that the signs and string do not affect the pedestrians as the closures are for ORV's I will get a ranger to walk me into the closures and show me the line I cannot cross (300 meters versus the ORV 1,000 meters) I will report exactly how far I am allowed.


Amazed,

I’m not against ORV use in the Park.  I’m just against ORV use most everywhere in the Park with the exception of a few token reservations for the non-ORV accessing visitor.

I’m probably more offended by the symbolic fencing (line and strings) than you. You and the “Free and Open Access” people are more offended by ORV restrictions than pedestrian restrictions just count the “Free and Open” bummer stickers on ORVs compared to street vehicles if you don’t want to admit it.

Who says I don’t think better access could be provided and still protect the resource.

As far as Southern Shores and NPS property goes National Park property is always held to a higher standard than state property when it pertains to the environmental concerns. I guess you will shoot the messenger for that one too.


seriously SS! that is your perspective and you are against ORV's on the beaches. Good job on the freedom of speech usage.

“Free and Open Access” is also for pedestrians. We are also being closed out of the park.

"CHNS is still a great
place to visit in the spring and summer. If you visit it will be crowded
but you will have wonderful beach adventures coupled with dramatic historical experiences
in the Seashore."

You are correct with the limited beaches open it will be more and more crowded and pretty soon the open beaches will reflect that of Virginia beach with towels after towels and people being forced to trample on another to get a spot. Please though come and enjoy the experience of taking photos next to signs and string surrounding miles upon miles of closed beaches.

I pray that one day that enviros will realize that the southern shores is a better place for plovers to nest and they do as was done in peaisland and create a false environment. I really hope they do this in front of the houses to allow a species to thrive in a once forbidding area.

Does this level of protection cuase alarm to anyone that maybe by preventing these birds from living in a natural environment with predetors (local or not). What happens when they leave the confines of the Cape Hatteras bird sancturary? Are the enviros that insisted on this level of protection here doing the same all along the routes of travel? This reminds me of the debate on whether or not to raise these birds in captivity?


From my perspective the
economic hardships created by the Consent Decree that was issued by a Federal
Judge that all the parties agreed to is overstated, visit the Food Lion on
Hatteras Island in the summer, it is packed with people.

I am not condoning the
consent decree. There are businesses that have been negatively affected by the
temporary bird closures that restrict access to Cape Point in the spring and
early summer that have valid issues. The real estate fiasco probably has a much
greater impact than the temporary resource closures on the overall local
economy.

It is curious that so
many people are concerned about economic hardships that have no economic interest
in the Outer Banks. I believe their real concern is ORV access in the National
Park and use economic issues as a way to further their personal agenda.

The NPS ORV policy of the
past “Free and Open Access” (which is code for no ORV restrictions or ORV
access fees) is not appropriate now and has not been appropriate for 30 or more
years in the National Seashore.  A
modern ORV plan is long overdue for this park. Cape Hatteras National Seashore
might have recreational area attached to its official name but NPS considers it
as one of the NP’s ten National Seashore, not some hybrid national ORV recreation
area. That dog will not hunt.

CHNS is still a great
place to visit in the spring and summer. If you visit it will be crowded
but you will have wonderful beach adventures coupled with dramatic historical experiences
in the Seashore.


The thing with satire is that it's usually done by someone that's separated from the real life pain.  That's the part that enrages.  From the enforcers that are doing their jobs (they have jobs) directed by those detached from the grounding reality.  All, except those being effected are secure in their positions and for the most part detached and can't relate.  That is the roll the Gov't plays in so much of this.  Anyone been aware of the discussion about "Big/ Small government and which is better?


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