With the clock ticking on a nest of sea turtle eggs, Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials on Monday closed Cape Point to off-road vehicles.
The closure comes as the fall fishing season is beginning to heat up off the cape.
Cape Hatteras Superintendent Barclay Trimble said the temporary ORV closure runs from an area located two-tenths of a mile south of Ramp 44 to Cape Point.
"This section of beach is temporarily closed to ORVs for a sea turtle nest protection area," he said in a release. "The area remains open for pedestrian access. The nest reached day 55 of the 'hatch window' and the area will remain closed to ORVs until the nest hatches."
According to the seashore biologists, the nest was laid on July 30 high on the beach near the toe of the dune.
"Efforts were made to find a route around the backside of the nest, but the configuration of the duneline prohibits this action," the seashore release said. "Normally, depending on the condition of the nest, the protection measures are installed between day 50 – 55 to protect hatchlings that may emerge at any time. This nest was given the greatest amount of time before the closure was installed as specified under the terms of the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan."
The seashore has experienced a record number of sea turtle nests this season, with 252 nests counted so far.