ORV Group Loses Latest Challenge To Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Management Plan

Alternate Text
A federal judge has refused to toss out the National Park Service's off-road management plan at Cape Hatteras National Seashore/Kurt Repanshek

In a conclusion that has been reached in many other court cases across the country, a federal court, ruling on a case involving Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, has found that resource protection trumps recreational interests. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle also found that the National Park Service did not rely on shoddy science when it developed an off-road management plan.

The lawsuit was brought by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance, which long has argued that the ORV management plan is too restrictive, a detriment to the local economy on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and, quite frankly, that the Park Service acted arbitrarily and capraciously. Too, the group charged, the plan runs counter to the national seashore's enabling legislation.

In tackling that last argument first, U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, ruling last Thursday, wrote that, "While the Seashore's Enabling Act does specifically mention recreational activities, Congress' intent as to the priority of natural resource protection over recreational use on the Seashore is quite plain: no plan for the convenience of visitors should be implemented if it is incompatible with the preservation of the flora and fauna of the Seashore. As CHAPA concedes, the Seashore's Enabling Act and the Organic Act are not in conflict on this issue, and indeed 'over twenty years of federal court decisions confirm that conservation is the predominant facet of the Organic Act.'"

More so, the judge pointed out that, "While CHAPA contends that NPS should have further considered ORV management in areas deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational use, CHAPA has not pointed to nor can the Court identify any basis for such claim. ORV use is not a recreational activity explicitly mentioned in the Seashore's Enabling Act, and the final rule exhibits that the NPS did extensively consider ORV use on the Seashore, as it designates more than twenty-eight miles to year-round ORV driving routes as well as forty-one miles to partial-year ORV use."

Throughout his 23-page ruling Judge Boyle again and again turned back the group's charges, finding that the Park Service did not act capriciously or arbitrarily, did use best available science, and did consider the economic consequences of the various alternatives considered in coming up with the ORV plan.

A holistic analysis of the process reveals that NPS engaged in a careful and detailed study of the Seashore, its wildlife and vegetation, and the visitors and residents who utilize the beaches to arrive at a plan which is based on the factors that Congress intended be considered and was not preordained or afait accompli. CHAPA itself was a party to the consent decree, which was a step toward compliance with Executive Order 11644 and 36 C.F.R. § 4.10 requiring that all ORV use on the Seashore be pursuant to a final rule or special regulation. CHAPA and its members participated fully in the rulemaking process, as is evidenced by the number of comments submitted to and considered by NPS in its formulation of an FEIS and final rule. It is clear from the record in this matter that NPS sufficiently considered all viewpoints when determining how to regulate ORV use on the Seashore, bearing in mind that NEPA evinces a "national policy ... to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment."

Under the seashore's ORV management plan, areas along the 70-odd miles of beach are either closed, seasonally open, or open year-round to ORV use; the Park Service has been working on developing new parking areas and beach access points along Highway 12, and; a new trail is to be built to allow pedestrians to walk down through the dunes to the beach.

The plan also provides for a "seasonal night-driving restriction ... established from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. during turtle nesting season, although areas with no turtle nests could open to night driving from September 16 through November 15." Additionally, it calls for an "alternative transportation study and would encourage the establishment of a beach shuttle or water taxi."

Overall, the approved plan allows for 27.9 miles of year-round designated ORV routes on the seashore, 12.7 miles of seasonal routes, and 26.4 miles of vehicle-free miles. The rules also outline vehicle requirements, permit requirements, nightly ORV restrictions, speed limits and more.

Outside of court, an effort has been under way in the Senate to order the National Park Service to reconsider the ORV plan. The measure, S. 486, was sponsored in 2013 by U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and Richard Burr, a Republican, both of North Carolina. As initially introduced, the bill would have eliminated the Park Service safeguards for beach-nesting wildlife and pedestrian beachgoers to favor instead trucks on park beaches, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. In committee action, though, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, tweaked the measure to require the Park Service to study how wildlife protection measures might be modified to provide more vehicle access while still protecting wildlife and pedestrians. It has not been considered by the full Senate.

Similar legislation (H.R. 2954), though, has passed the House of Representatives.

Comments

Thanks Kurt for your analysis. Judge Boyle is familiar with the long term history of CAHA and has finally put the EL into is proper legal perspective with respect to NPS resources and ORV access. The ruling does not address "recreational conflicts" associated with ORV access and how ORV use impairs some users "primitive wilderness” for this park.

CHNS enabling legislation

"Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area."

The new ORV rule reflects the public comments received from the ORV/fishing community and their organizations as standard protocol by NEPA guidelines. In the public comments concerning the ORV rule ORV users put priority on those places where the fishing was historically best (inlets, capes and spits) with full knowledge that these places were also the prime nesting, resting and foraging areas for "unique" avian resources. They then calculated what areas of the park were so eroded that vehicle safety regulations had kept ORV use out of those areas and reluctantly agreed during the failed regneg meeting to make those areas potential VFAs. Their criteria for choosing those places were areas that were of marginal ORV potential.

I am not trying to be patronizing but I honestly sympathize with ORV users where the new ORV regulations deviate from their recent history of finding places in the Seashore to park their vehicles and recreate. It was obvious back in the early 70's that historical use of CAHA was changing and that the "primitive wilderness" was being compromised. The increase use of ORVs expanded into areas of the beach that had not had seen that type of sustained use before. I was on the beaches surfing and fishing with my friends in the late 60's and with my parents before that. Unless we were near Cape Point we didn't see vehicles on the beach and the majority of visitors accessed the ocean beach without a vehicle. Before the ORV rule there were no capacity regulations for how many vehicles could be in a section of beach. Unless you saw these beaches in early 2000's it is hard to imagine how many vehicles were crammed into Bodie Island Spit and Cape Point in the summer and the insane tailgating that went on. Those places looked like something out of a MTV video. In hindsight it was obvious that ORV management should have been done long before. This gradual fundamental shift of use went unaddressed by the NPS for reasons I don't know. Even under the current ORV rules it would be difficult to guarantee any area in the Park would stay remote by anyone standards because the new ORV regulations allow one vehicle per 20 feet of beach (more in the Cape Point area), another reason why the VFAs are so important to those of us that value remote places and the past historical conditions of the Park.

The problem is there isn’t enough of the pie to go around anymore to give a handful of visitors the privilege to drive to remote sections of Park beach. The ORV rule is an incredible fair compromise for ORV use.

Wow, the there is so much untruthful spin by both Kurt and Buxton I'll have to fully respond after the Dramamine kicks in.

Boyle is biased and know one expected him to rule against what he delusionally thinks is his plan. I've been in his court room several times on this subject, so I know what I'm talking about. I don't see where the ruling says the science is shoddy or not, instead he just points out there is too much to review.

Buxton, what about the 16 miles "primitive wilderness" VFA called PINWR? Conviently ignoring that along with ignoring birds on dredge and spoil islands.

The USFWS's FOSNI is why the NPS didn't change anything. It was only after the bullying by the Audubon and DoW that started this mess.

Buxton, is right that on some holiday weekends is was crowded, especially at Bodie Island spit but permits would have curtailed that.

The National Park Service discovered a least tern nest on Sunday that has closed the ocean beach in front of nine houses on Pamlico Court on the very north end of Avon.

The Park Service established a colonial waterbird pre-nesting area north of Avon in the spring, but this pair of birds nested just south of the pre-nesting area. The buffer distance for a least tern nest is 100 meters, which is about 328 feet or a little longer than a football field. Therefore, the resource closure extends in front of about nine oceanfront houses on Pamlico Court in northern Avon.This is the first time that anyone involved in the beach access issue can remember that a resource closure for nesting birds has closed the beach in front of houses in a village.Outer Banks Group Superintendent Barclay Trimble said yesterday that he had already fielded phone calls from Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, and at least one rental manager.He said the Park Service has closed the ocean beach just up to the toe of the dune, so that the occupants of the cut-off houses can cross over the dune and then head south along a narrow path between the dune and the closure to gain access to the open beach just south of Pamlico Court."It's not an easy walk," said Beth Midgett, rental manager for Midgett Realty, who visited the area yesterday. The company handles two houses affected by the closure. Both are occupied this week.One, she said, is on the southern end of the closure and is not as much of a problem as the other one, which is the very first house in northern Avon. That house, she said, is occupied by a family with a grandmother who has mobility issues and cannot manage the walk in the deep sand behind the dune to the ocean beach that is open."They are not at all happy," Midgett said, noting that they had been planning all year for this vacation and chose the oceanfront house for the easy access.According to park biologist Eric Frey, the average incubation time for a nest is 21 days and chicks usually fledge in 19 to 20 days. The closure for unfledged chicks is 200 meters, which could mean more oceanfront closures in a few weeks for northern Avon.Even if the nest is not successful, the closure will remain in place for two more weeks to see if the pair of bird will try again with another one.If the nests hatches, Trimble said, "We'll just have to see where the chicks go after that."At any rate, the oceanfront closures won't end anytime soon and could extend into August.The least tern is not a federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act. It is listed by the state of North Carolina as a "species of special concern." The state said when the Park Service was formulating its new off-road vehicle plan that it did not intend that the protections for these birds be as extensive as was being proposed. The Park Service said it had an obligation to protect the species of special concern.Jan Harvard and her husband own a home on Pamlico Court and split their time between Rocky Mount and Avon."It bothers me that they (the Park Service) just go on and on with these closures," she said yesterday. "It seems like they're trying to ruin the economy of Hatteras Island.Certainly, Beth Midgett noted, this oceanfront closure will have economic consequences for the owners of the houses that are rentals and for the companies that handle them.This morning, Midgett Realty was calling the folks who have the houses rented in the coming weeks to inform them of the situation. And, at the height of the rental season, they're aren't many other rentals to which they could be moved."It was just a stunner for them," she said.Midgett then made another point about the contentious issues that surround the park's ORV rule and final plan and the opposition to it by many who think there should be more reasonable access for all."This has never really been about beach driving," she said. "It's about access, and it's just out of balance."

A national park, and especially a National Seashore should have primitive wilderness, and the fact that this is one of the FEW places in the entire NP system that allows ORVs, makes this local culture that whines about this issue so much seem extremely pathetic. They are the epitome of the lazy american.

"OHH my god, they are making us walk...it's so unamerican."

Given the complex issues (and emotions) involved in the debate over recreational use vs. wildlife protection at this park, it seems the best we could hope for is that various groups would be willing to recognize (not agree with) the positions of other groups.

From that perspective, the location of the one specific nest described above by Beachdumb is unfortunate, because it adds fuel to the argument that beach closures for the sake of nesting wildlife threaten not only ORV use, but also the larger local economic base for the Cape Hatteras real estate market. I'm not familiar with the specific area involved, so I'll accept Beachdumb's description of that situation.

The ORV groups may have lost the latest court case, but a potentially more serious challenge to the park's efforts to manage ORVs is found in the political arena, as described above in this story. It would be ironic if this one nest Beachdumb mentions becomes a successful "poster child" for a political campaign to overturn the NPS management plan on the basis of the plan's "damage to the local economy."

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Beachbumb what about the 56 miles of Cape Lookout National Seashore, next barrier island in line south of CAHA that pretty much allows ORV driving everywhere? What about the entire beach in Corolla north of where the paved road stops that you can drive on? Why don't you vacation at those places where beach driving is allowed? Why do you think they don't allow driving on the Wildlife Refugee (PINWR)? And in case you haven't noticed there are plenty of people accessing the Refuge’s beaches by walking. And like the NPS the National Wildlife Refuge restricts visitors from entering colonial bird nesting areas. It is standard procedure, except in you and your buddies’ narrow frame of reference.

What is your point about the NPS beach in Avon being closed, do you think it should be managed differently than the rest of Park just because there are weekly house rentals adjacent to that beach? How does that relate to the intent of the EL. Did you cut and paste the entire article from the biased very pro ORV local online newspaper called the Island Free Press? Be honest and admit you are delighted the tern nested where it did.

Instead of ad hominem attacks on Judge Boyle why don't you explain how the EL doesn't mean what a federal judge believes it to mean. I don't believe just because you set in the courtroom it gives you special insight into Judge Boyle's mind or is evidence of collusion with environmentalists. I believe you like many of the ORV aficionados have an incomplete history of Cape Hatteras and conveniently ignore pertinent legislation that doesn't fit your personal agenda. Your lame excuses about bad judges are because you can't get your way.

Cape Point got just as crazy as Bodie Island, the hook in the south beach was wall to wall parked ORVs causing traffic jams at the Frisco Campground ORV ramp and the south end of the Pole Road to Hatteras Inlet would back up like a freeway ramp. Many many times I have been fishing at Cape Point and could smell transmission and clutches burning up and radiator steam from overheated cars. For you to deign this either means you were not there or you’re conveniently forgetting it. I witnessed all this first hand, it was a zoo. And that is just the issue with traffic all those people have to be policed by the NPS, they are partying, illegally camping on the beach setting bon fires in the middle of the ORV route, with that many people that were allowed to freely come and go by vehicle n the Park anytime of the day or night there were serious law enforcement concerns to consider. It was no way to run a National Park. Thank God there are a handful of miles now under the new ORV rule (the one you want to throw under the bus) where this nonsense can't go on anymore, unless you all get your way. Because this isn’t just about resource issues restricting access with you all, you want most of the VFAs as well.

Who is spinning now?

Beachdumb, I've quoted below what the judge wrote about the science. Call it what you want, but it speaks for itself.

The record reveals that NPS relied on scientific data to support its findings regarding the protection and preservation of wildlife, as well as its own data regarding visitor demands on the Seashore. CHAPA has identified no study or data which would invalidate or call seriously into question NPS 's conclusions, and thus the Court will not look behind the agency here, in particular in regard to areas within NPS's own expertise.

Court will not look behind the agency here

Yes, speaks for itself, judge did not look. So how he can determine it was shoddy or not? But your article spins this differently, doesn't it?

For what it's worth, the Cape Lookout NS is taking public comments on ORV useage. I already submitted my own decree in which I stated that i'd like to see the entire seashore made off limites to ORVs, and that a true wilderness experience be crafted. I reference the Olympic Wilderness Coast as an example of what could be on the Atlantic. I google earthed over this entire area, and it looks like there is very limited development on Cape Lookout, and it's a much better place than Hatteras in those regards. Peaks my interest actually, after reading about it. The potential is greater for a great wilderness experience than what can be found on Cape Hatteras. So much of our coastlines are ruined by over development, and it's sad to hear that heavy handed industrial tourism is reaking havoc on Hatteras. This court ruling, actually is another win in reigning in the industrial tourism era that has really affected many National Parks around our country. Let it die a slow painful death, arrow by arrow.

Here is where you can comment:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkID=359&CFID=7115185&CFTOKEN...

Beachdumb,

You would help your case greatly if you could provide a link to where the USFW deemed the management plan ineffective. If the plan IS effective, the argument is preservation vs recreation which will probably never be settled due to differing visions. On the other hand, if the plan IS NOT effective then the "preservation" folks have little to stand on.

Driving down island...

Driving on the beach is a great way to explore the island and get away from every day life.

extremecoast.com

Many people come to the National Seashore to escape the pressures of urban life and to experience the beauty of nature in isolation. The best way to do this is to travel down-island into the park's most remote areas, which are usually only accessible with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Before you explore the island in search of its wonderful mysteries and the awesome solitude it provides...

Some parks have a different view and management strategy, but CHNSRA has a very different view. Why is that?

Beach,

Without something specific brought to him by the plaintiffs, which they apparently didn't do, it's not the judge's job to do their job for them. But as he noted, the NPS has the scientific expertise to deal with the issue, he does not.

And he also pointed out that the NPS had the data to support its conclusions. Indeed, Judge Boyle specifically wrote that, "the Court concludes that the NPS's decisions were based on sound scientific data..."

Interestingly, he also took the time to write:

In its comments on the DEIS and specifically regarding buffer distances, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service stated that the buffer distances described "reflect our current understanding of the biological needs of these species." As noted by the federal defendants and intervenors, CHAPA's challenge to the underlying science ofthe FEIS appears to be a veiled attempt to argue that recreational interests, specifically ORV interests, should have been assigned more weight in NPS's analysis. (emphasis added)

This FONSI was based on a much less restrictive management plan.

http://www.nps.gov/caha/parkmgmt/upload/CAHA_IPSMS_FONSI_Final071307.pdf

As indicated at page 30 in the Finding of No Significant Impact Interim Management Strategy “There are no significant adverse impacts on public health, public safety, threatened or endangered species, sites or districts listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or other unique characteristics of the region.

Most of the literature as published in the new management plan are significantly out of date. Many citations are over 20 years old and most are not related to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The public does not have access to the literature reviewed in this essential report and most of the citations are so insignificant they cannot even be found in major university libraries that have extensive environmental and natural resource publications such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Nowhere is a specific science basis, study or data, ever presented, or published for a given bird management option, established solely for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. Closure boundaries are overly restrictive at CHNSRA and are not used at other NPS properties. There has been no administrative or science based explanation given to the public for these uniquely restrictive closures.

Beach,

You said " USFWS found no significant impact based on previous resource management practices, so these new excessive restrictions are not nessecary."

Can you docuement where USFWS made this finding?

Long document that I have only scanned but can't find that conclusion. Perhaps you could point me to it.

Page 75:

After reviewing the current status of the breeding population of the Atlantic Coast population ofthe piping plover, wintering population of the Atlantic Coast population of the piping plover, the wintering population of the Great Lakes population of the piping plover, the wintering population of the Great Plains population of the piping plover, seabeach amaranth, and loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the environmental baseline for the action area, the effects of the proposed action and the cumulative effects, it is the USFWS’s biological opinion that implementation of the Strategy, as proposed, is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of these species.

Sorry Beach - that says the the NPS actions aren't likely to have a negative impact on the species. It says nothing about being ineffective or having no beneficial effect. As I understand it, the purpose of this report is determine if some action will be detrimental. Thus the only conclusions can be "yes it is detrimental" or "no it is not".

The NPS plan may not be beneficial, but I don't see evidence of that in this doc. Thus it would appear we are back to "conflicting visions".

EC, from page 76, I believe:

Assuming a worst case scenario for NPS implementation of the protective measures described in the Interim Strategy, the Strategy will conserve the piping plover at CAHA.

Call me dumb but doesn't a FOSNI = "no it is not" detrimental?

NC State and USFWS uses a 150 meter buffer for nesting plovers but NPS uses a 1000 meter buffer, doesn't this seem a bit excessive?

A lot of us feel these new closures sizes and regulations are punitive. The NPS has presented no evidence that they are not...

FONSI=Finding of No Significant Impact.

In this case, the USFWS has determined that the proposed NPS strategy at Cape Hatteras would not be detrimental to the species in question. As to the buffer zones, from the document you linked to (page 21):

(Chicks) may move hundreds of yards from the nest site during their first week of life (e.g., see Table 1 in USFWS, 1996a), and chicks may increase their foraging range up to 3,000 feet before they fledge.

My understanding is that this kind of movement is very rare and that's why USFWS still only recommends a 150 meter at the most.

I hesitate to ask where you get your aviary expertise and understanding from.

My guess is the "Tea-baggers Aviary Playbook for Concerned Profiteers".

Rick, don't claim to be an expert but I have researching and following this issue since 2005. I've read lots ornithology papers regarding the species found at CHNSRA. I think bird watching is enjoyable and I wanted to be able to identify species at the seashore.

Gary, I am not part of the tea party but I think the thier principles of lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government are as American as Apple pie. This issue is a classic example of too much regulation and government getting to big.

Actually legislating beach restoration by kicking the ORV's off half the beach will probably cause less chaos, and alleviate the strain on Park Rangers. This is an act of government getting smaller, not bigger. What's the alternative? Developing this section of beach for the teabaggers so that they can then bring in MORE government infrastructure, and MORE costs to the tax base as a whole.

This country already pays a LOT to support your average outer banks resident everytime a hurricane hits. Keeping the beach undeveloped, and perhaps allowing plants, and animals to thrive in sections of it is a benefit, not a hinderance to taxpayers. What is really being subsidized here? Hmmmm... could it perhaps be oil from overseas to run ORVs and Industrial Tourism! Get it right. Using gas to recreate on a beach IS SUBSIDIZED from our federal government. Takes many of taxpayer dollars to have those big warships and usher our oil interests around the world. Beach walkers are obviously doing a lot less harm than your average ORV driver when you factor in the actual costs between the two.

Superintendent Barclay Trimble today allowed the modification of a buffer around a least tern nest in north Avon that had closed the ocean beach in front of about nine houses on Pamlico Court.

I guess it's not really about protecting the birds is it? Last year a tern nest was the same distance from a ramp, they closed it and said the law prevented any exceptions. NPS is so hypocritical.

Beach, just curious, not to throw gas on anything, but how far were the houses from the beach?

I don't know why people drag in these ad hominem arguments all the time. Why does having a different perspective on NPS regulation of this beach area make one a tea partier?

The blog comments in The New York Times are much the same. Quite often, one reads:

blah, blah, Koch Brothers, blah, blah, Fox News, blah blah, Rush Limbaugh, blah, blah, Clarence Thomas, blah blah.

As soon as I see that formulation, I move on to the next comment. Not because I'm afraid of ascertaining the writer's point of view, but rather because, having read 500 similar comments on The Times's online discussions, I already know what it's going to be. In fact, these keywords (and there are similar ones coming from the right, such as Benghazi, Hillary-Pelosi-Al Sharpton-Al Franken, and death panels) are a useful signaling device that one is well-advised to move on.

Kurt, I am going guess about 250' with the top of dune midway. The beach is fairly wide in this area too, at low tide you might have another 300-400' from the dune to the water. NPS won't tell the public exactly where a nest is located but they usually don't nest on the ocean side of the dune. Which is why allowing a pedestrian or ORV corridor seems reasonable to me.

If the NPS had just defended and implemented the thier 2007 management plan, which everyone had approved including the NPS/USFWS FOSNI, they would have not wasted millions to get where we are today. Some of that money has and is still today lining the pockets of the eco groups and lawyers. This new plan dramatically increased LE and biologist resources, infrastructure, and the overall budget of CHNSRA. This was a huge waste of taxpayer money that was not necessary.

Can you provide proof that the budgets have raised because of this simple act? I somehow HIGHLY doubt this. You always talk as if you have authority on the subject, but you never seem to supply documents that showcase that what you say is accurate. Considering there were budget cuts across the board at National Parks, I somehow very much doubt your claims. How many biologists were added to the park? I've read that they are enhancing a few access points to make a beach more walkable. That's nothing gigantic in terms of revenue.. And can you show how LE has to be greatly enhanced by making half the beaches vehicle free? Sounds like that instantly makes it easier on their end to patrol.

A huge waste of taxpayer money is frivolous lawsuits filed by Industrial Tourism types.

Even the traveler had an article about the budget at this park:

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/12/budget-constraints-mean-no-...

Gary, I won't supply you any more information. According to you everything I say is in accurate and is influenced by industrial tourism, tea party, Koch bothers, big oil and all the other liberal talking points. If your so smart, prove me wrong.

Gary - oil from overseas subsidized?? Thats laughable. Could you please cite one example where oil was going to become unavailable to the US and we had to send our "big warships" to keep the oil flowing? Of course not. But it is a convenient part of your Tea Party rant. I can't believe Kurt lets your foul-mouthed defamation stand.

I will absolutely agree, however, about not subsidizing redevelopment. Shut down federal flood insurance. Wait, that's a Tea Party idea so now you will probably reverse your position.

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Actually the Park would not need near as much LE infrastructure if ORV use were not allowed. The ORV permit fees should pay for the extra expense they cause the Park.

The 07 plan was an interim plan that dealt only with ORVs and resources. Environmental groups quickly challenged the 07 plan as being inadequate. When they went to court the ORV and Dare county lawyers (who had intervened on the Park’s behest) immediately threw in the towel and helped form a different resource plan (consent decree) to which the government lawyers readily agreed. After the fact the ORV leaders involved came up with all kinds of excuses of why they agreed to the new plan. I think it says something when you have paid professional DC lawyers representing you and they recommend making a deal. Did they know something the rest of us didn’t? I believe it was way more complicated than a biased judge as they claim.

The final ORV plan considered other concerns not addressed in the 07 plan some of which were NP aesthetics, recreational conflicts, the NPS general management plan and primitive wilderness as discussed in the CAHA's EL. The Park considered many comments that were submitted for the final rule. Some of the comments were addressed directly and answered in public NPS documents that were available on line because I recognized direct quotes to comments that I wrote and were addressed, concerns that were not considered in the 2007 interim protected species management plan Beachdumb is referring to. The VFAs that Beachdumb complains so much about are a result of those comments and others. I am glad I live in a democracy where the rights of the minority are protected. In this case I think it was the rights of a silent majority that were protected.

I don't know if Beachdumb is aware of this process or if it is just simpler for him to complain about taxes, a bad judge and environmentalist with undo influence than to actually acknowledge the full story. The final ORV rule was quite different than Beachdumb and his ORV friends wanted because the NPS followed NEPA guidelines not because they didn't.

Can you provide proof that the budgets have raised because of this simple act?

From the 2010 Green Book

"Funding is requested to support the implementation of a court orderd Consent Decree (CD) mandating the protection of wildlife species while providing for and manageing, recreational off-road vehicle (ORV) use n the park's beaches."

Beachdumb,

First, the FONSI addresses impacts the the species, not the local population. In other words, you could extripate the species from Hatteras and it probably wouldn't be over-all detrimental to the species (except for the loss of genetic diversity).

The nesting buffer for piping plover in the plan, is 75 meters, not 1000 meters. The 1000 meter buffer is for mobile chicks.

The nesting buffer for piping plover in the plan, is 75 meters, not 1000 meters. The 1000 meter buffer is for mobile chicks.

As far as I know they don't differentiate between a nest and mobile chicks. If there is a nest it gets a 1000 meter closure. Spring to summer is nesting season for plovers so the 1000 meter closure seems to be the most widely used.

I am not aware of there ever being a 75 meter plover closure ever established. Maybe for wintering plovers? Pre nesting closures as far as I can tell are far bigger than 75m?

Ecbuck, take off the blinders, almost all of the oil we get from Saudi Arabia and Iraq is subsidized. The US military has protected the Saudi penisula in the Gulf for many decades. It costs US taxpayers billions a year. Big oil also receives major tax breaks, but the Obama administraiton has closed those loopholes a lot more than what occurred during the Bush/Cheney Oil Co reign.

Industrial tourism is in a sense subsidized as we'll. Obviously those that drink the tainted tea will take offense to my comments. It's not a shock that beach dumb can't back up almost any thing he claims.

Buxton, I can tell you're composing your comments on Word or WordPerfect, thereby generating those formatting tables that head your posts.

Here's how to remedy that glitch: copy what you write in Word or WordPerfect and paste it into a bare-bones text processor like Notepad or Wordpad (you should have both of them if you have a Windows computer). Then copy that text and paste it in here. The header of formatting material should disappear in the process.

I hope that helps.

Gary,

Do you realize how little of our oil comes from Saudia Arabia and Iraq? Do you realize oil is fungible? From whom did we "protect" the Saudi penisula for the purpose of oil?

And big oil receives big tax breaks? Hmm tell that to Exxon/Mobil. Their effective income tax rate in 2014 was 48% vs the 35% statutory corporate rate. On top of that they paid an additional $66 billion in other taxes which was twice their net income. Subsidized?? You need to stop drinking the kool aid.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/34088/000003408814000012/xom10k20... page 53

Ecbuck,

That is a fair question. No I don't have any documentation that shows allowing ORV use on the Seashore's Beaches takes more law enforcement resources. I suppose some insight could be gained if we compared Seashores that don't allow beach driving to those that do. I know that CAHA has to maintain the ramps for ORVs (small expense) and I believe the LEOs need more vehicles and rangers to police the beach where vehicles are permitted than beaches where vehicles are not allowed. Maybe the same thing applies to resource protection.<p>I did a fair amount of beach driving a few years back and I would routinely see LEOs policing ORV beaches, once in 50+ years of recreating on CAHA beaches have I seen a LEO accessing the beach on foot, I wish they would. My anecdotal information suggest to me it would take less LEO's to manage the beach if ORV use was not permitted. I believe it would be cheeper and easier to manage CAHA if ORV use was not permitted, not that I am advocating for that.<p>The ocean beach of CAHA is really quite small in square footage and ORV users take up quite a lot of it, considerable more than when I park my car and walk over carrying a small cooler and one fishing rod. I think it fair their ORV fees help the Park pay it's bills.

ORV permit money collected is being used to fund boardwalks, parking lots and other improvements for the VFAs. I am on the fence about this, since one "user group" is funding another "user group".

The NPS made managing ORV more expensive by enacting all these new restrictions and regulations. I think a better model for managing ORV access is Padre Island National Seashore.

Maybe Gary can lobby the NPS to stop thier Industrial LE practices and make them patrol and monitor species by walking instead driving thier big oil powered ORVs. LOL!

Big Oil tax breaks? That's all our corrupt governor Parnell does here in Alaska. He was handpicked by $arah Palin, and it unfortunately is obvious in his record. This blinders-on right wing rhetoric is far from the topic of the thread, but only a pure blind ideologue would deny our military efforts defending our sources of oil OR the tax subsidies given to the oil companies.

Beachdum, if it was ever declared a wilderness, then that would surely be the case. The park service would also have to travel by foot. Maybe that is what ultimately needs to happen. That's how it happens in all the backcountries of most National Parks. It seems evident your experience of the NPS is almost entirely in just one unit - cape hatteras, which seems like one of the worst ran units in the entire NPS, especially when you hear about the rampant ORV use. Doesn't sound like it's an actual National Seashore, but a State Recreation Area, at least that's how people like you treat it.

Rick B, it's pointless butting heads with Ebuck. He's clueless.

Recent news:

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2014/06/26/US-importin...

Gary, finally we agree on something, over the past 6 years the OBX Group NPS has ruined America's first National Seashore Recreational Area. They have sold out to the progressive enviromental terrorist organizations.

Is that anything like the conservative anti-environmental terrorist organizations?

OK, folks, time to move along, I think. Surely everything substantive has been touched upon, no? Check out the story about flooding at Denali....

Rick B, it's pointless butting heads with Ebuck. He's clueless.

Saudi Arabia is less than 10% of our oil consumption and we haven't faught a single war to protect Saudi Arabia. Who is clueless?

OR the tax subsidies given to the oil companies.

Rick - I provided the numbers and their source. Refute them. Tell us how a company paying 48% effective income rate PLUS $66 billion in other taxes is being "subsidized".