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Cape Hatteras National Seashore Gains Approval For 29 New Public Access Points To Beaches


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.

Alternate Text
Map of new access points to be developed. NPS graphic.

The projects:

* 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



I sense we're drifting away from the topic at hand. Perhaps another subject, such as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways draft GMP, is worthy of some comment since this topic seems fished out.

According to some, the people who accept these jobs are fools and those who don't are leaches living on welfare.

Yep, and those that work to improve themselves are smart and get ahead. Handouts, not work, increase income disparity - as evidenced by the largest disparity we see today in conjuction with the largest level of entitlements ever.

It becomes abuse when employers use that kind of job to hire good people on the cheap who, in today's job market, cannot find anything else and are forced to accept anything they can get. One more wedge driven into the income disparity of America.

The fraud and misrepresentation comes from those who support the status quo.

But it all depends upon one's perspective, I guess.

According to some, the people who accept these jobs are fools and those who don't are leaches living on welfare.

Ah, well . . . . .

But we digress. Meanwhile, on Cape Hatteras, ice coats the beaches. Anyone for surfing?

abuse of this type of employment opportunity

Abuse? Someone voluntarily entering into an employment agreement isn't being abused unless there is some fraud or misrepresentation.

Thank you Buxton and Old Ranger, I learned much from your posts. If I can digress for a minute, Perpetual seasonal, on the issue of seasonal and temporary employment hires in the private and federal sectors, there is a very interesting article in the "Nation" magazine (December 16th issue), titled "Holiday Crush". Really well done by author Gabriel Thompson, it is a description of her "brief stressful life as a warehouse TEMP in Southern California's Inland empire, the beating heart of America's online shopping frenzy". An interesting read, it touches on both the private sector and federal agency abuse of this type of employment opportunity. She has also written a book on the issue, "Working in the Shadows". Your concerns about TEMP employment are gaining some national attention.

I don't know, Old Ranger. Your post sounds like more liberal enviro wacko talk.

Thank you Buxton for your calm, reasoned responses. I think I'm beginning to get a clear picture of the nature of the conflict at Cape Hatteras. If Beachdumb is representing the ORV user groups and their tactics, then they appear to shout down opposing views, call those with other prospectives liars ("not telling the whole truth") and crazy ("delusional"). It doesn't sound like there is much hope of a reasonable exchange of ideas and differing thoughts. I also checked the Cape Hatteras web site and found that, contrary to beachdumbs assertion that kite flying was prohibted, that kite flying is only prohibited within and above all bird closures. That sounds like a reasonable limitation to me and is far from a complete ban on kite flying. After all isn't all visitor use prohibited within resouorce closures. So Buxton you have a ring of truth to your messages. Thank you again.


"Buxton, in those 40 years have you ever been to the nothern part of Hatteras Island? "

"There is a 13 mile stretch of the seashore that hasn't had ORV on it since 1977. The wife and I enjoy walking there a lot, you should try it sometime."

You know the answer to that question as the only road out of CHNS and Hatteras Island goes through the "northern part of Hatteras Island". The 13 miles of no ORV zone is all administered and managed by Fish and Wildlife not the NPS. It is a national wildlife refugee (PINWR). It is a great place to surf, fish, bird watch and walk as are other VFAs in CHNS.

"You also may not be aware that beaches in front of the villages are seasonally closed to ORVs for as long as I can remember. You should also be aware that there are other stretches of beach within the park that have been off limits to ORVs for a long time but I know that these are inconvenient truths."
You don't really think anyone that lives here doesn't know that the villages beaches are packed with visitors and driving there is a safety issue besides a recreational conflict and closed to vehicles now for 7 months of the year ( Oct 31- April 1) . What you most likely don't know is that the beaches that were closed to ORVs in the past (other than the seasonal closed beaches in front of the villages that were closed from May 16- Sept 16) were all temporarily closed to ORV use because of unsafe driving conditions not because they were dedicated pedestrian only areas. The problems for visitors expecting established VFAs was these beaches were continually being lobbied by the ORV groups to be opened to vehicles and many of the beaches that visitors thought were pedestrian beaches were reopened to ORV use before the final plan established permanent year round VFAs. Currently the ORV groups are trying to reverse a good portion of VFAs that were designated in the recent ORV rule to be reassigned as ORV accessible beaches.

"Those tire tracks in the sand are erased every tide and storm, you should try low tide."
Im guessing this is just more sarcasm and you are not really suggesting that I only go to the beach at low tide after a big storm so I can enjoy a beach void of tire tracks. Most ORV users drive just above the high tide line where tire tracks get deep and remain until there is a very large, prolonged and severe weather event. For those ORV access users driving below the high tide line be aware that is a good way to get your vehicle stuck and then have an incoming tide destroy it (happened many times) in addition to it being inconsiderate to those that are fishing with rods spikes buried in the sand or individuals walking on the low tide beach.

" I was not appalled that the beach was closed, but was with the line hundred yard line of barricades and NPS in bullet proof vests and assault rifles. This was upsetting and led to my learning about that organisation."
There were widespread threats of civil disobedience, even messages on local chat boards suggesting visitors bring their guns, park bathrooms and buildings were vandalized and some even burned. The actions of ORV advocates involved suggested that this was exactly the correct response by NPS mangers. I think that because the NPS responded this way it did is the reason there was no violence.

"Their motto since it's inception in 70s is "Preserve and Protect Not Prohibit". I still donate every year, but calling them politically powerful is laughable. They don't stand a chance against the dark side. They have been able to do little if anything, unlike the really politically powerful groups like Audubon and DOW."
Not only are these groups extremely powerful but they are singly focused on gaining as much unhindered ORV access as possible they also have partnered with powerful local government (Dare County) who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting their efforts.
(Calling Audubon, DOW and NPCA the "dark side" is some creative hyperbole.)

"The park has been maintaining pedestrian access for years also. What is your point?"
The Park had only been maintaining limited pedestrian access in front of the villages from May to September.

"I don't see walking mentioned or gauranteed in the EL either.."
Walking doesnt have to be mentioned because there was not an executive order that required a walking plan. For there to be ORV use it has to be regulated (designated routes and areas) and managed with an approved plan which is why CHNS finally developed an ORV plan. The 3 ORV groups (NC Beach Buggy Association, Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, and OBPA) are all actively trying to change the final ORV rule. There is still a bill floating around in Congress to try and do that.

"Rmackie, dirt bikes and dune buggies have never been allowed at CHNSRA. The new management plan prohibits camping, beach fires, kite flying and dogs off leash"
You are mistaken in the past dirt bikes were allowed and so were dune buggies if they had a valid license and were street legal (think it is still that way). Beach fires are still allowed by permit with regulations, camping other than in designated areas has never been allowed, dogs have always had to on a leash and kites are permitted (at least Kiteboarding Kites).

Beachdumb I have gone back, edited this post and double checked what I said. If I made any mistakes I would appreciate knowing what they are.

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