With the last holiday weekend of the summer rolling out today, National Park Service crews are trying to get as much open as possible at hurricane-ravaged Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores. Nevertheless, there will be limits on what you can do if you're visiting either this weekend.
At Cape Lookout, you will be able to climb to the top of the lighthouse Thursdays through Saturdays, and Shackleford Banks is open for day and overnight use. And restrooms at Cape Village are open. But there's no water other than that available for sale at the visitor center.
While the lighthouse dock is open for business, South Core Banks north of the lighthouse is closed to public access, and no vehicles or overnight stays are allowed on the island just yet. The Harker's Island Visitor Center also is open.
Crews have flagged hazardous areas on the seashore, though it's suggested that you wear beach shoes to protect your feet from unseen hazards.
At Cape Hatteras, access to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands remains open only to residents already on the islands due to damage to roads and other infrastructure in this area. For updated beach access information for the park see the latest Google Earth beach access maps: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm
The Oregon inlet campground also remains closed due to damages from Hurricane Irene. The Wright Brothers National Monument and Fort Raleigh National Historic site are fully reopened. Coquina Beach and all its facilities has also reopened.
More than 100 Park Service staff from 27 parks in 18 states across the country have been mobilized as part of this emergency response to support assessment of damage to park facilities and resources and assist in reopening remaining facilities as safely and quickly as possible.
Damages confirmed so far to park and concession/permitted service providers in the Outer Banks National Parks include damaged rooftops, water intrusion either through flooding or roof leakage in numerous facilities, scattered debris and tree limbs, and missing or damaged boardwalks, signs, posts and fencing materials. Resource advisors are in the field assessing natural and cultural resource impacts as well.