Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore soon will have 29 new access points for exploring the seashore's beaches under a plan stemming from its off-road vehicle management plan.
The projects, ranging from parking lots and off-road vehicle ramps to handicap accessible boardwalks, were outlined in the seashore's Construction of New Development that Facilities Public Access Environment Assessment. After nearly two years of planning, the project list was approved in mid-November by the National Park Service's Southeast Region office.
The new access areas will create or improve 15 parking areas, 1 paved and 2 unpaved roads, 5 off-road vehicle ramps, 5 foot paths, 11 accessible boardwalks, and the elevation of an existing flood-prone road section. These access improvements will facilitate ORV and pedestrian access to areas of the Seashore and increase access for visitors with disabilities while minimizing conflicts between a wide variety of recreational users in the seashore, park officials said in a release.
The improved access points will protect the seashore's natural, cultural, scenic and aesthetic aspects as well as address mutual concerns with local communities and governments who expressed concerns about potential safety issues with road shoulder parking along NC Hwy 12.
* A 10-car parking at the former site of the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Bodie Island
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Coquina Beach on Bodie Island
* Additional access road from NC-12 to fee station at Coquina Beach
* An ORV ramp and 10-car parking area 0.5 miles south of Coquina Beach (New Ramp 2.5)
* A 10-car parking area with foot trail to Bodie Island Spit at Ramp 4
* A 20-car parking area and handicap accessible boardwalk at Ramp 23 (Salvo)
* A 10-car parking area about 1.0 mile south of Ramp 23 with foot trail to the beach
* An ORV Ramp 25.5 with foot trail or boardwalk to the beach
* A 5-car parking area and foot trail to beach (beachside) at soundside Ramp 48
* An ORV Ramp 32.5 (Little Kinnakeet) with a 10-car parking area and foot trail to the beach
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Ramp 34
* A handicap accessible boardwalk to sound at Haulover Beach Parking Area
* A 15-car parking area west side of highway at/near Kite Point
* A 15-car parking area at soundside access #59 with foot trail from highway to beach
* A 5-car parking area west side of highway at/near soundside access 60
* A 50-car parking area at the former Buxton Coast Guard Station with handicap accessible boardwalk
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Lighthouse Beach
* A 3-car parking area at Loran Road w/ new handicap accessible boardwalk to the beach
* An elevated section of Lighthouse Rd to address flooding at ramps 43 and 44
* An unpaved IDR between Ramp 45 and 49 w/new ORV Ramp 48 to the beach (Ramp has been moved from 47.5 to 48)
* Widen Ramp 49 and add connector road and 5 car parking area to Billy Mitchell Rd. near Frisco Campground
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ramp 55 parking area on Hatteras Island
* An unimproved 20-car parking area near the Pole Road/Spur Road intersection
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at/near north ferry terminal parking area on Ocracoke * An ORV Ramp 59.5 at north Ocracoke
* A 5-car parking area at the west side of highway entrance of Borrow Pit Road
* An ORV Ramp 63 across from Scrag Cedar Road
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ocracoke Pony Pens
* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ocracoke Day Use Area