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Cape Hatteras, Where The 'National Seashore' Concept Was Born

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Climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Outer Banks/Kurt Repanshek

Sun, salt spray, and sand are the main ingredients for a traditional Outer Banks vacation. Here on the North Carolina coast, where barrier islands bare the brunt of the Atlantic Ocean, families have been coming for decades to enjoy not only those aspects of summer but some of the best fishing along the Atlantic coast. The experience is so good that the National Seashore concept was born right here in 1937 when Congress authorized Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Stretching more than 70 miles from Nags Head south to Ocracoke Inlet, the seashore draws those interested in history (during World War II the waters off the national seashore were thick with German U-boats that time and again targeted, and sank, unprotected merchant ships), surfcasting (fishing is particularly good in the fall when drum and bluefish are running), or simply flying a kite and enjoying the surf.

Towns that dot the seashore'” Nags Head, Rodanthe, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras Village, and Ocracoke'”are all popular destinations. So picturesque and romantic is Rodanthe that it was the backdrop for a 2008 movie starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, Nights in Rodanthe. But the other towns are steeped in that seaside charm, too.

Visitors have a rich variety of activities to choose from: bird watching here along the Atlantic Flyway, shell hunting (winter and fall offer some of the best finds), fishing, of course, and solitude for early risers, late evening strollers, or simply walkers heading up or down the beach away from any crowds.

Campers have four campgrounds to consider'”at Oregon Inlet, Frisco, Ocracoke, and Cape Point'”and lighthouse lovers have three to admire'” Ocracoke Light, Bodie Island Light, and Cape Hatteras Light (though access is only permitted to the last two).

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Surf fishing is one of the top draws to Cape Hatteras National Seashore/NPS

History fans will find the restored Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station of interest. Crews from that station gained fame in 1918 when they braved burning waters to save 42 from the Mirlo, a gasoline-carrying British steamship that hit a mine planted by a German U-boat. The explosion ignited a layer of gasoline atop the ocean waters. According to historical accounts, the men rowed their surfboat through a 'œhellish environment that blistered paint on their boat, burned their skin, and singed their hair and clothing...'

If You Go

Plan far ahead to make lodging reservations, as Cape Hatteras has a deep and loyal following of vacationers. Spring and fall are the best times to fish; by the middle of summer fishing is best offshore. Winter fishing can be productive, but the weather is harsh and sometimes dangerous.

Winds that sweep across Pamlico Sound on the back side of the barrier islands produce excellent windsurfing and kite boarding. Many windsurfers and kite boarders use the Salvo Day Use and Haulover day use areas on Hatteras Island.

Ocracoke Inlet was the favorite anchorage of the notorious pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach). Blackbeard was finally killed in a battle near there on November 22, 1718. His decapitated body was thrown overboard into the inlet.

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Folks, we're going to shut this thread down. At the same time, I would have to agree that comments -- on both sides of this issue -- have gotten away from civil discourse, a disturbing development of late.

There are several ways we can handle this sort of problem in the future: simply do away with comments; ban those who can't discuss issues surrounding the parks constructively and without demeaning or disparaging others; require folks to use their real, full, names with hopes that will persuade them to be civil.

For those who haven't taken the time to read Traveler's Code of Conduct, here it is:

The blogosphere is a pretty free-wheeling place. As a result, it has developed a persona, right or wrong, of playing fast and loose with facts, with running roughshod over some posters, with allowing anonymity to serve as a shield for attackers. Some bloggers have called for a code of conduct for the blogosphere, and we at the Traveler support that movement.

As I mentioned recently, we view the Traveler as more of a web magazine than a blog. But that doesn't lessen the need for a code of conduct, both to guide the Traveler's writers and to let those who desire to comment on our articles to know there are limits as to what is appropriate.

For those who might immediately jump to the conclusion that we're implementing a measure of censorship, that's not the case at all. Rather, just as there are accepted norms for what can be broadcast and printed in mainstream media, there are accepted norms for the interchange of ideas on the Traveler. All we expect from you is a measure of civility. Here's how Colin Rule, director of the Center for Internet and Society, addresses the expectation of civil discourse:

So is it true that civility and politeness should go out the window when confronted with deep and intense feelings? Well, not to sound too much like "Mr. Manners," but I think it's at that point that civility and politeness come to matter more. When emotions get the better of someone, and that person uses language intended to incite and shock rather than reason, it creates an easy target for the other side; the most likely response becomes a similar provocative statement, and then the exchange becomes focused on the excesses of each statement rather than the issues at hand.

Beyond an expectation of civility there are times when, quite frankly, just as radio and television moderators feel a need to redirect their guests back to the subject at hand, it might be appropriate for us to steer the flurry of comments back to the topic at hand. And we won't hesitate to do that, as we have a very well specified mission statement that guides this patch of cyberspace.

With that said, here are some general guidelines that will guide the code of conduct for the Traveler (with the understanding that they could continue to evolve):

* The authors of posts take responsibility for their words.

* Abusive comments and personal attacks will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

* Those behind abusive comments and personal attacks will be contacted privately and asked to be more constructive in their comments. If the comments and attacks persist, the author will be blocked from the site.

* Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

* If a subject of a post feels they have been wronged or simply wishes to respond in a post as opposed to a comment, that will be allowed.

In general, we at the Traveler have been pretty tolerant of comments. That's been evidenced most recently by some made this past weekend that were allowed to stand. We do not want to sanitize this forum, nor do we want to create the impression that it tilts one way or the other politically or philosophically. Yet there is a line, one that should not be crossed, in the common decency of civil discourse. If all you can do is throw stones and slurs, take it elsewhere.

Anonymous comments will continue to be allowed because there obviously are times when whistleblowers want to shield their identity, when the topic is political dissent, and when the individual doesn't want his/her comments attached to the organization they work for. That said, we encourage those who do not fall under those situations to be up front with who they are and not rely on what's been termed "drive by anonymity" to attack someone.

Regardless of how you decide to identify yourself, you are expected to adhere to the points above.

Please take this to heart and think twice before you hit that "post" button. 

And if you paid any attention, Gary, instead of just casting apertions, you would have noted that I have not supported either side in this argument other than asking for substantiation of facts.  In fact, I was the only one to ask Beach to substantiate his claim Fish and Wildlife had found the management plan ineffective and when he produced a document, I pointed out it fell short of saying the plan was ineffective.

People here have a difference of visions.  Some believe the parks need to be more wilderness others believe recreation is a valid component.  That doesn't mean either side is "bad" or that sexual slurs need to be used.  Grow up.  Respect people and maybe they will  give your arguments more respect. 



ECBuck, maybe they can make you head realtor at Teabaggistan National Park.  You can help initiate the sale of the public land and naming rights to Cabellas, and they can rename it Camoland National Corporate Amusement Park.

In all seriousness, and sadly, even if this is just a poor attempt at satire, this exact scenario is playing out with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with these ORV groups. You guys can stick your heads in the sand and deny it, but these ORV groups are attempting to undermine the Park, and its overall mission.

I second Buxton's motion.  All in favor?

Ignoring the Tea Party and the harm their proposals will cause if they come to pass would be disastrous.  The foolishness and potential harm of it all needs to be exposed lest it actually come to pass.  Satire is an often effective means of exposing foolishness.

Thank you Rambler.  I'm amazed Kurt lets that filth stand.

I remember reading in the administrative history of CHNSRA how they struggled with naming and designation of the area because the island was so heavily modified by the CCC. I think I'll read it again today..

"The DOI, NPS and environmental groups led the public to believe that the purpose of the ORV rule was to bring CHSNRA into compliance with two executive orders from the 1970s.  In fact, the purpose was to institute far-reaching restrictions on public access by using ORVs as the scapegoat."

This is the unfortunate truth of what has happened.


I try to keep my personal politics out of the fray and hesitate to make assumptions about other's comments and political persuasions. But sometimes the best way to fight fire is with fire. I think Gary's comments are spot on and witty. It is cost Beachdumb and his ilk should experience. 

I am glad Beachdumb is so forthright, he makes my case stronger and I listen very carefully to what he is saying.

Gary Wilson, as a fellow liberal, I ask that you please stop posting rude comments regarding the teaparty. Your's are played out, generalized, not witty at all, and make us look bad.

Regarding this topic, If you want to see what a true wilderness area looks like and if ORV activity has an impact on the flora and fauna, look to Anza Borrego State Park and Ocotillo Wells ORV area. They share a border and are a good case study. I dont think many people could objectivley say that the ORV activity has had no significant impact on the area. You simply cannot compare the pristine wilderness of Anza Borrego with Ocotillo Wells. The impact is just too evident in the ORV area. 

Is that a data driven statement? No, but it is realistic. In my opinion, ORV activity and the culture is simply in contradiction to the accepted and legal definiton of wilderness.

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