Recent comments

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 22 weeks ago

    God bless this wonderful country that allows such a freedom of speech even for uninformed persons such as "Snowbird". He is allowed his opinion without regards to it's merit.

    The shame of it all is that this we also have a freedom of litigation which allows lawsuits no matter how ignorant and unformed they may be.

    That category fits the DOW and Audobon, who imo have no real concept of the beaches, wildlife, park service, or people who inhabit and PROTECT and PRESERVE the very areas that they are trying to close. If they had a clue (which they don't) they would see that the very people whose access they are trying to prohibit are the real stewards of the seashore.

    How much money does the DOW and Audobon pull by promoting these ill-founded lawsuits? I bet they are giving themselves a good salary. What a scam they are.

    Good luck to the OBXers,

    Steve C.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Get real, Ride a bike? on sand? and with all the tackle you would have to carry, oh but you would say we don't need the tackle cause we would be out to hurt the poor little fishes. You should really learn to think your way through life instead of FEELING everything. If you were to think intelligently about this whole thing you would see that we conserve and protect the flora and fauna of the outer banks as well as recreate. Like I said, GET REAL!!!!!!!

  • Researchers Say Meteorite Impact Created Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Boy, talk about finding a needle in a hay (salt) stack. Geologists have been hunting for coesite and stishovite evidence at Upheaval Dome for years to no avail. Finding shock quartz in Jurassic sandstones fills an important part of Upheaval Domes puzzle. The paper will make an interesting read. Great News!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Former environmentalist: I truly feel sorry for your doomsayer comments...pathetic but also sad! Nobody wants to lock stock your playland but only to see that there is a fine balance between man and wildlife, a masterplan that can be implemented to please all responsible parties at the Cape. Your crocodile tears don't slay me for I have seen enough damage in my own backyard from ORV's...and that angers me with tears.

  • House Parks Committee To Hold Hearing On ORVs on Federal Lands   6 years 23 weeks ago

    I definitely agree with Jack Gregory's (retired law-enforcement ranger for USFS) statement:" irresponsible off-roading has become such a menace that it is now the single greatest threat to the American environment". You can just see this about anywhere in the American landscape: from majestic mountains, to the expansive deserts, to are fragile wetlands and to are beautiful coastal beaches...a pitted chewed-up landscape from extreme excessive usage from reckless ORV drivers. Such disrespect for these special places tends to portray us as society of reckless irresponsible stewards of the land...or poor custodians of the earth if you will. Matthew Schwartz's photo caption for this article speaks well for my comments.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    As a 55 year old ecology concerned person, I have been turned from that frame of mind by the actions of who I considered my friends. I “had” always been concerned for the environment and been wary of my affects on the wildlife and natural aspects of my surroundings. BUT, I have been duped and I now find out that by “my” years of monetary and material contributions to the many various environmental groups (including the Audubon) I have, in fact, caused the problem and find myself faced with no longer being able to enjoy what I was trying to protect. From the times when my parents took me to Hatteras and over my lifetime I had enjoyed the beaches of the Outer Banks. Being able to go swimming, snorkeling, bird watching, windsurfing, fishing and shelling at Cape Point, along the beach and the other beautiful inlets. I remember many a night sitting out on Cape Point and at Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet watching the fantastic sunsets, shooting stars and of course just sitting and enjoying the sounds of the lapping waves and watching the birds. Only if you have been there do you know that is only possible by access by vehicle. So it looks like those days are numbered and the ability to enjoy what was available to many for generations will only be available to those elite that are empowered to go out and enforce and control nature by shooting and trapping those animals they determine don’t belong. That leaves the beach and the unique and very special places that are only accessible by vehicle enjoyable by no one. I have been duped and brainwashed that I would help preserve these places for future generations and instead I am about to be barred from ever going there again. It is so sad and it is amazing that it could come to this. So for my final 30 years on this earth, the environmentalist have pushed me over the fence and I really can’t care anymore about what species may or may not survive at the sacrifice of humans peaceful enjoyment of our surrounding. I was foolish thinking that a group of humans with an agenda would really be helpful in maintaining an area for everyone to enjoy. It is obvious to me that it their plans are to revert areas to the conditions before man was on the earth by keeping them from it, what was I thinking, but it is my own fault.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    First off, I must ask why such involvement from some people when they fully admit they've never even been to the beaches at the frontline of this debate? To me, making statements/claims and observations about the ongoings of the CHNSRA seems to be a stretch given that you've never witnessed the acts you've accused people of. Most concerning is the labeling and generic branding of all ORV's as being oil dripping machines.

    You keep asking an obviously loaded question about how ORV's can be good for the evnironment - yet the same can be asked of you concerning other conveniences you utilize every day. When visiting Yellowstone (or any other "park") - do you not travel on their roadways? I am sure the EIS for that project clearly stated that it's construction was detrimental to the habitat. Why was it allowed? Simple - it was for the betterment of the public (including you). Obviously, this is a overly simplified comparison, however, the point remains the same ....... sometimes things are done for the betterment of people as a whole knowing that a resulting impact (large or small) would/could occur.

    Same goes for these beaches. One would be foolish to think that ORV useage is BENEFICIAL for the environment - but using such as example as a bullet point for your agrument is no different then my roadway comparison above. And who gives you the right to dictate what level of interference or damage is acceptable? More so, what doesn't work in your favor is the argument concerning the extent to which ORV usage damages the beach and the surrounding environment.

    Already, its been pointed out that: A) pedestrain traffic does more damage and with the possible closure to ORV's, an increase in dune damage/disruption significantly increases as people will grow tired of having to walk from specific access points to navigate the beach and actually utilize the protective dunes as a short cut to beaches. B) storm swell and the ensuing beach migration typicall of all barrier systems cause more damage/death to the piping plover (and other animals) population and nesting grounds C) predation continues to be the most obvious cause for the lacking plover population D) no explination is being given by those who don't support ORV access as to why such a plan would benefit native species when it's clear that such hasn't worked on Pea Island.

    Being that I have spent a significant amount of time on the beaches of OBX (mostly at the Point), I challenge your claim that we are the cause of damage you are looking to control. To the contrary, I find that those of us who utilize the beach for fishing and recreation do so because we have a great respect for the wildlife and the ecosytem of the area. As has been said many times, we all charge ourselves with being guardians of the beach - whether that means picking up debris/trash or monitoring the actions of our fellow beachgoers.

    These beaches are unique in many ways, ways that have been enjoyed by generations of my family as well as families around the world. And who gives you the right to say your concerns are any more valid then ours? Whose to say your hobies outweight mine? It's as simple as that.

    The real issue here is finding a way that agrees with your beliefs and one that agrees with those of the ORV supporters. Considering much of the area already has restrictions in place - I believe our side to have been compromising thus far. However, I don't think our side is not willing to discuss and develop a reasonable plan either beyond the one currently (referring more to the restrictions) in effect. That being said, I believe asking for year round beach closures is asking way too much and isn't a compromise or discussion at all.

    Additionally, it needs to be considered that such a harsh stance concerning beach closures not only affects those who vacation and enjoy the beaches, it will also destroy the livlihoods of those who depend on it. This area draws a HUGE portion of its visitors as a result of enjoying the beach and when you compromise it's availability - you no longer appeal to the masses. Just with the closures being discussed, you can ultimately alienate those who come here to fish (which is a large base of the tourist dollar) and the asscoiated businesses.

    You state we are being selfish in our views, yet our concern lies in a large part with the community as whole. Your stake in this revolves around a bunch of conveluded and unsopported data over a bird .............................

    Will
    Southern MD

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    It's always painful to read comments like some of those above that advocate the loss of access to ORV users at Cape hatteras national Seashore Recreation Area. And yes, that is it's proper name. The Dept. of Interior dropped the "recreation area" part, not Congress. Whats sad is that the extreme majority of persons that wish to ban access do so with no real knowledge of CHNSRA, it's environment or the nature of beach use by those that enjoy the Seashore. Shorebird, your refrence to "the cape" and incessant discussion of wetlands and development establishes you as someone totally unfamilliar with this area and the issues at hand. I live here (Buxton, N.C.), I work here and I fish here. I do so by way of 4x4 vehicle and must as I suffer a 45% permanant partial disability negating any and all thoughts of walking any distance in the sand. So, if I may, a brief tutorial.

    We live on an island that at Buxton is roughly thirty miles out to sea vs. the mainland. The Island goes from a few hundred feet to a couple miles wide and back to a thin strip as you travel from one end to another. We have but two options in terms of access to our homes. One by ferry to Ocracoke, the other via Hwy. 12 to the north. Hwy 12 passes through Pea Island before crossing the Bonner Bridge connecting us to Bodie Island and then by way of yet another bridge, the mainland. I mention Pea Island and the Bonner Bridge for several reasons. One being that Pea Island is a National Wildlife refuge that contains dune systems and wetlands. These were created not by nature, but by the CCC in the 1930's. Pea island also happens to be the site of the largest migratory bird slaughter I know of. Recently, USFWS gassed thousands of Canadian Geese because they were overtaxing the man made ecosystem and complaints about goose poop were being brought up by "McMansion" homeowners up in the developed areas of Duck, Corolla and Nags Head..far to the north.The road Ive been told that spoils Pea Island is our one real evacuation route and ironically preserves the wetlands and birds covered by the MBTA. Without road clearings and work to preserve the dunes, the wetlands will be destroyed.
    Plovers dont do well there either in spite of no ORV traffic. The same is true of the Bodie Island side of the bridge, but more on that later.

    Hatteras Island is a bit different in that a few villiages scattered along about sixty miles of Rt. 12 dot the seashore. These villages are bounded landward by CHNSRA and are extremely limited in development. As with Pea Island, most all of the wetlands and dune systems are man made. Have a look at Google earth..you might learn something. We have the luxury of being surrounded by an extremely active environment that remains unpredictable every day of the year. In terms of wildlife, we have the sea, the sound, and a thin strip of sand that hosts an amazing variety of birds, reptiles and mammals, crustaceans, fish, shell fish and some sea turtles too. And we care for them all.

    Im sure that when most folks read about whats going on here and see the term ORV (Off Road Vehicle) they include motocross bikes, ATV's, and dune jumping sand rails and the like, but thats not what happens here. All vehicles on the beach have to be licensed vehicles, driving on the dunes is prohibited and speed limits are in force as well; 25mph but most do much less because of the nature of the beach. This is not even remotely like driving on Daytona Beach. And unlike beaches to the north, no mechanical device is needed to scour the beach of trash in the morning. We, the ORV users, didn't take a week to clean up the styrofoam from the ceiling fans, we got the vast majority of it up in one day. It was a day later that the first volunteer environmentalists showed up to help out. Less than 20. Because less than 100 ORV's occupants had already done the work. I was there and took bags of that stuff off the beach. It was NPS that asked the tackle shops for help and brought bags...and they got it. But then, that's what we normally do. We sit at the point where the Labrador current and Gulf Stream collide therefore we get alot of stuff washed up on our beaches from elsewhere, so we clean it up, by hand, on our time, and at our expense.

    As for the birds, what do I say? We're on the EXTREME northern end of the Plover wintering grounds and the EXTREME end of the southern end of their breeding grounds. Plovers breed in areas of frequent overwash. Please come to this Island in a storm and show me where that isn't. Yes isn't. Frequent overwash means chick mortality. That has nothing to do with ORV use. In fact it's the native Ghost Crab that is responsible for the majority of chick mortality regardless of bird species. ORV use has gone down over the years, bird enclosures have been established earlier, have been larger and have been in existance for a greater perion of time and yet bird numbers dont expand. The Black Skimmers and Least Terns that DOW, SELC, N.C. Audubon are complaing about not being in the park nested last year on a newly created dredge spoil island near Hatteras Village within a couple hundred yards of the Park boundry, But since those birds didnt follow the rules and nest within the Park, they dont count. Neither does the largest tern colony on the east coast because it's on top of a certain store at a shopping center well outside of the bounds of the Park. Last time I checked, when wild animals breed where we tell them to, because we wont count their numbers if they dont, it was called a zoo.

    The fact is thats it's the ORV users that care for this National Recreation area. Birds have wings and will nest where THEY want. Larger closures for longer periods has resulted in increased vegetation thereby limiting breeding grounds not by ORV but by the sea. It was ORV users that begged for the moving of turtle nests that were in "The Narrows", a section of beach regularly overwashed. The nests werent moved and the turtles drowned. Two of them(nests). They werent in our way, just in a place we knew they wouldn't survive. I challenge anyone to prove that on any "given day of year" you can find 2000 vehicles on the limited amount of beach we have left open to access. I was on the Point today and within the nine or so miles I could see less than twenty vehicles on the beach. Most of what is Plover breeding area was still under water and the entire beach still bore remnants of the almost complete innundation that occured over the weekend.

    The attempt to close human access to these beaches is a travesty and an insult to those of us that do so much to care for this amazing place. Our economies will be destroyed all the while predator populations will soar, vegetation will increase, bird populations and suitable nesting areas will decrease.

    I could go on but it's late and I have to go to work to a job, a living that some would seek to eliminate here. Because of my handicap, its about the one thing I can do. I can barely do that. But saturday morning, I will venture out on the beach once again to be in a beautiful environment where I have no power to change a thing. I will see Willets, Gulls, Ospreys, Terns, Gannets, Pelicans, Sanderlings, Cormorants, Oystercatchers and cetera. I will be at peace. And I will think of all the children that you would wish to deny this.

    No, you dont have a clue, you dont understand and paint us with a broad brush thats entirely based on perception tainted by false data and data that has been excluded.

    Take the time to know us before you condem us. We have just as much right to Life, Liberty and the Persuit of Happiness as do you.

    Jeffrey

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    The damage from a nor'easter will do far more damage to the beach than the orvs can do in five years tell me how many of these happen every year?

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Just a couple of points
    1. Foxes are not native to Hatteras Island. They migrated over the Oregon Inlet Bridge.
    2. No matter what you call this unit of the NPS, it is still subject to the same management policies as any other NPS unit. Calling it a recreation area is not going to suddenly make the endangered species act, migratory bird act, or any other legislation go away.
    3. The enabling legislation does not give special rights to local residents.
    4. I was personally appalled one day at the point when the fish were running hard and it was packed shoulder to shoulder several vehicles deep. Now, I admit this isn't my idea of a day at the beach but-whatever floats your boat. No, the appalling part was the poor man who had the gaul to have a heart attack at the point. What was awful was asking folks to move so we could perform CPR. You see the problem was we were taking up valuable fishing real estate and folks were actually stepping over him as he was having his heart attack to get to his front line spot. The fishermen were actually offended we were in their way! Now, some of you will say that didn't happen. Fishermen (and women) will always help each other. Yes, a few were concerned but most were interested in taking his spot. I'm sad to say, this didn't happen just once but several times. It was about that time I decided that it was time to move to a different park where maybe folks cared if someone was having a heart attack.
    ORV groups have helped in cleaning up the seashore, but so have environmental groups. Environmental groups have supported educational information and efforts, and so have ORV groups. But I can tell you one thing the environmental groups haven't done that the ORV groups have done...ORV groups or their members have made threats against NPS staff members. Employees of the seashore have become prisoners in their own homes because ORV groups and their members have made personal attacks against them including posting fliers with directions and phone numbers to employee’s homes in the towns in the seashore. How can you have open dialogue in that type of environment?

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird and all who oppose ORV access at CHNSRA:
    1. It's damn near impossible to fish there without an ORV, particularly at the best spots.
    2. Access was promised to the locals and tourists when the land was given- that means fishermen, surfers, bird watchers, EVERYBODY.
    3. You can't take a boat, primarily because the closures limit pedestrian access as well, ie you can't get out of your boat. That means no more bird watching, by the way.
    4. The amount of birds killed by orv's is insignificant compared to predation and overwash.
    5. 99.9% of the beaches on the east coast are off limits to orvs- can you not just leave this one alone, or are you not willing to compromise?
    6. I was there the day the picture at the top was taken. I've rarely been around better people. It was a lot of fun- you should try enjoying our national parks. Isn't that what they were created for, not to be inaccessible refuges?
    7. Unless you're a visitor to CHNSRA, why do you care? The safety of plovers? Come on, what makes a plover any more special than the cow that died for your shoes? Why do you see fit to glamorize one animal and kill others to protect it? As a sportsman, I have respect for ALL animals, even though I'm intelligent enough to see that some will die for the benefit of humans, and others will no longer live where habitat is unsuitable (plovers at CHNSRA, the squirrels that used to live where your house sits, etc.).
    8. If orv's are the plight to birds, Pea Island should be covered with them, but it isn't...why not?
    9. Please quit trying to impose your ideals about acceptable forms of recreation on other people... I promise not to try and shut you out of your favorite ____________, whether it's a mountain, beach, stream...whatever.
    10. His name is TOM Higgins, not Tim.
    Bird Dog

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Thanks Big Red for your in put! You sound like a reasonable and decent man. I bet your one damn good sportsman too.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    I still don't understand how people can be so glued to there ORV convictions and yet feel so threaten when someone pops the simple question about preservation and conservation of wildlife...such as at the Cape. Some automatically label you as a extremist, a tree hugger and a environmental freak of sorts....a typical response and stance from the anti-environmental hate groups. I oppose to any massive vehicle corridor on most wetlands, beaches and bay inlands that are that close to waterfowl and wildlife (such as at the Cape). I have seen to much damage towards are wetlands, beaches and marshes over the years to think differently. I remain open minded to a balance approach to the Cape Hatteras long overdue environmental problems...especially regarding the OVR's.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    RangerChris,

    In a sense you are correct there is a place and a time for everything.

    Now for the part about this seashore being designated a Wilderness area. Never has been except in changing statements but not in reality.
    One must remember that this seashore was given by the people of North Carolina 98% free of charge to the Federal Government with a few strings attached as has been stated above in other post.

    A couple of these documented strings were that it would be forever open for recreational use as well as wildlife preservation.

    That the residents of the island would have rights even above and beyond those that we were to enjoy so as to maintain their heritage and livelihood.

    Pea Island which makes up a full one third of the CHNRSS on the other hand was to be a pure wilderness area but this has been intruded upon by allowing a main highway and walkover beach access by all parties during all seasons of the year.

    When taking all things into consideration one must also realize that all access from one end of the island to the other was by beach road (surf line) before there was a park and after the formation till the late fifties when the paved road system was install (which still constantly shifts position)and beach road usage still occurs today in emergencies and washouts over vast stretches.

    Now to answer Snowbird.

    Orv's are neither good nor bad for the beach environment unless improperly used just as your auto is neither good nor bad for your home base environment. Both pollute, both ruin the ecology and both use precious resources in abundance and yes both kill, even when properly used according to our laws. If an animal gets in their path no matter whether it's an endangered Plover on the beach or a Hawk that flies into your cars windshield no matter where it occurs the animal is just as dead.

    As far as delicate ecosystem we have no access to this as when driving on the beach we are limited to in practically all places a corridor of less than 150 ft from the low tide line in 90% of all areas and this area is constantly over washed in many cases. True the Cape Point, Oregon Inlet spit and Hatteras Inlet spit has slightly more than this but this only takes in an area of less than 2 total running surf miles proper and these areas are no greater than 250ft in depth once again from the low tide line.

    I think one of the biggest problems is the lack of an implementation of an equitable even and fair plan encompassing the items in my previous post.

    Snowbird you assumed that I was one conscientious sportsman. I'll take that as a compliment and yes I do love wildlife of all kinds and yes I do fish and hunt and also drive on the beach when fishing the surf but in a responsible manner. I think that when it comes to surf fishermen you will find that 99% of them do the same as I do!

    Now some people will look at the photo that leads out this article and will see a mass of Orv's crowded around Cape Point and yes it's the same at Oregon Inlet's south beach. I look at the same photo and see something different. I see a mid summer gathering of individuals that come to the pictured area from all over the country to see and be seen. They mostly have no regard for wildlife or the environment because they haven't been taught that access is a privilege and not a right.

    Now if you look closely you will notice there is maybe two or three people fishing out of the whole group group you see. Most are there to party and swim!

    You won't see any locals or the folks I fish with or 98% of the guys and gals that fish the real fishing season from mid September to late May in the above photo because once again 98% of us don't like crowds and anything over four or five vehicles in a half mile or mile is a crowded.

    The locals have a name for these people "Turon's or Skippie's" and it means what it infers, but alas they pay taxes just like I do.

    Sincerely
    Big Red

    PS: Where you see those people and children swimming I have personally seen 6 to 10ft bitter sharks caught and released in that very same area while uniformed adults watched their children swimming. Go figure people. I don't even wade anymore past knee deep anytime of the year.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Justwannafish:

    A good story, yes, that doesn't get told enough. I've seen lots of ORVers pick up lots of trash.

    Unfortunately you forgot the other story that doesn't get told as much: the cargo ship that held all those bags of Doritos, and all the people who got to help clean that one! Too bad I missed it! :)

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird, if you look closely to the picture with the ORVs tight up against the water, have you asked yourself why? If you look you will see just behind the ORVs a row of carsonite stakes(symbolic fence) look carefully and you will see no ORV tracks in there. That fenced off area is the area reserved for the nesting shore birds. We give the birds way more beach than they want to use. The NPS has done a very good job of balancing the use of the beach. It is a shame that DOW & AS want to force an injunction to close what little beach we have left to fish in. The area depicted in the photo is Bodie Island Spit, or the north side of Oregon Inlet.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    I want to know if you live in today's United States without using any fossil fuels? Do you grow all our own food, generate your own electricity, and produce all the goods you need for survival?

    Didn't think so...

    My tax dollars pay for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and I'm going to recreate as I see fit while being a responsible steward and following park rules. Environmental extremist assults against the rights of the middle class Americans and access to our national parks need to stop now. Piping plovers aren't successful at Hatteras because the noreasters and ocean overwash destory their nest, not ORVs. If the piping plover can't evolve, then all the money, rules, and regulations of humankind won't save it. I have as much a right to drive to Cape Point and fish as you have to sit in starbucks, drink a latte, and post on your blog.

    The surf fishing community at Cape Hatteras has done more to promote protection of the barrier islands, conservation of coastal fishing resources, and preservation of the Hatteras and Ocracoke Island lifestyle than DOW could dream about. The current NPS resource closures are more than adequate to balance the recreational and resource stewardship duties of the park. The Defenders of Wildlife is just money machine to enrich the pockets of a few by restricting the rights of many. If DOW really cared about educating people on conservation, they'd halt the suit, honor their responsibility to take part in a constructive negiotiatied rulemaking process, and spend their political capital where they can truely make a difference.

    Understand, it's public sand.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    The story that never gets told follows:

    Last April, a huge storm overturned several containers on a freighter off the coast of North Carolina. These containers held boxes of ceiling fans. The ceiling fans were packaged in styrofoam. Now, as you may know, styrofoam floats and on a good Nor'easter, guess where the styrofoam goes? (A Nor'easter is a strong storm with a prevelant wind from the North East for thise of you not farmiliar)
    Anyway, thousands of cubic feet of styrofoam landed on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area. A mere week later, most of the beach was clean of all debris except debris too small to be picked up by the human hand. The areas that were not clean were, you will never guess, the areas closed to ORV's.
    So what happened, did the oil dripping ORV's just crush the debris? No, the sportsmen and beach goers who enjoy the area got out of their ORV's, took trash bags donated by the local tackle shops, picked up the debris along with any other trash they could find, put it back into their ORV's and removed it from the beaches.
    Now, Snowbird, this is how the ORV's benefit the local eco-system. This was absolutely not the only time this has ever happened, in fact, it happens after every large storm. It also happens after large holiday weekends. The people who use the resource regularly, respect the resource and protect it more than any well intended person a thousand miles away could ever hope to do.
    There absolutely should be rules governing the use of ORV's. There are idiots in every venture known to man. The key is to enforce the regulations in place and create a real policy for ACCESS. If you have ever seen the sunset from Hatteras Inlet spit or Ocracoke Inlet, you know it is a place to revere. If you have ever watched your 65 year old father land and release his first Red Drum, you know that access is needed for people his age to enjoy the resource.
    The real protectors of this habitat drive ORV's. The bad news is, they are not as vocal as the well intended groups who only see Bubba in a truck. The next time you pick up a piece of trash on Hatteras beaches, help a baby turtle to the water, help a tourist get their vehicle free from the sand, release a beautiful fish, have someone make a picture and post it on the web. Post it everywhere, Audobon, D.O.W and every where else. Then see how many pictures of people doing something for the local environment contain an ORV with a rod rack on it.
    If any of you doubt the reality of what I just wrote, meet me on Ocracoke May 10th and we will fish for a week. During that time, we will take a trash bag from my ORV and fill it with any trash or debris on the beach, we will catch a few fish, tell a few lies, watch some beautiful sunsets and who knows, you might understand our side too.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    We do need a healthy balance here.

    The National Park Service, (i.e., management at Cape Hatteras NS) is responsible for an ORV plan, and as Judge Boyle this summer pointed out, nationwide ORV plan requirements have been on the books since Nixon was president, so the NPS and National Seashore don't really have an excuse for not having a plan in effect 30 years ago.

    Judge Boyle pointed out, also, that since there is no ORV management plan on the books at Cape Hatteras NS, then ORV use is illegal at the Seashore. That said, everybody who is operating an ORV at the Seashore is in violation of the law. The judge didn't order the NPS to shut down the beaches, so the NPS didn't. And the NPS isn't enforcing the judge's ruling.

    One thousand vehicles at Bodie Island Spit on Memorial Day weekend is far too many vehicles and people in one place--a rather sensitive place, at that. So there should be some limit on the number of people and vehicles that can be in one place at one time, especially in the sensitive places like Bodie Island Spit, Cape Point, etc.

    Some of the economy does depend on ORV use, and it should be allowed, but not "just wherever there aren't closures." I don't know what the rulemaking committee will decide, but there should certainly be more regulation and oversight on ORV use at the Seashore than there is now. As it is a Seashore, and supposed to be protected as a "primitive wilderness," we should endeavor to be responsible with the resources we have--with a priority on the natural resources.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Big Red: You made some interesting proposals but yet no one has answered my question: Give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment? Also, you mentioned the catastrophic conditions some of the wildlife is place under...referring to the photo links. Who's responsible for this out-of-whack environment? I have my own personal opinions regarding this. I assume your one conscientious outdoorsmen who truly cares about the Cape and it's holistic environment. I have worked in marshland and inland bay park setting for some 25+ years and do know something about the delicate ecosystems that it has and how easily it can be destroyed by careless and ruthless planning from over zealous developers and slap happy politicians. I have seen the onslaught of this type reckless development destroy one marshland habitat after another. The development is called: Redwood Shores of California!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird,

    It's time you opened your eyes to the real world!

    When the D.O.W and the National Audubon Society became involved a few years back and through the intervention of the S.E.L.C it began to put pressure on the CHNPS. The world there changed as they filed and threatened lawsuits and demanded certain actions be taken.

    It no longer was about the protection of wildlife it suddenly became an issue of a cause that became a cash cow to the above groups.

    However you made some valid points in your post even though slightly misguided.

    1. There does need to be a O.R.V usage plan in place.
    2. Certain areas need to be off limits during limited times of nesting and mating to all.
    (By this I do not mean that these areas should be construed as justification for year round habitat creation for a migratory species)
    3. There needs to be a daily, monthly or yearly usage fee in place based on individual head count.
    4. There needs to be a reasonable O.R.V daily, monthly or annual fee in place in addition to the personal usage fee.
    5. Along with the four above there also needs to be a required usage course in place that is mandatory of at least four hours before any and all
    individuals are permitted access to the park.

    Now back to the reality!

    Snowbird above you made the following comment: Sunshine, you forgot to mention one thing: the preservation of wildlife for all generations to come...not just for the fun frolicking beach hogs alone.

    That's a fantastic idea Snowbird but when idealism hits reality head on and the D.O.W and the National Audubon Societies as represented by the S.E.C.L and money and politics take over strange things happen!

    Below you will find the links to a couple of very disturbing photos taken at Cape Hatteras just before Christmas. The photos depict what has happened and is still happening at this moment there. The innocent fox pictured ( which by the way is native to the island as is the Raccoon ) did not survive and neither did HUNDREDS of Cats, Raccoon's and other animals all because they were a danger to the non native migratory Plover's according to the three groups above.

    [img] www.stripers247.com/images/fox7.jpg [/img]
    [img] www.stripers247.com/images/rangerfox2.jpg [/img]

    These photos underscore that the O.R.V are but a small part of the problem that exist now.

    Sincerely
    Big Red

    PS: The fox above had pup's and later that day when found they suffered the same fate!!!

  • Grand Canyon National Park Officials Release Transportation Plan EA   6 years 23 weeks ago

    If the transportation option available is taking shuttles - people will take the shuttles. Zion National Park does it perfectly - a little sign is posted that says "Parking lots full. Please take shuttle." And people take the shuttle.

    I currently work for the Sierra Club but before that i worked as a Grand Canyon tour guide and i know for a fact that many people who signed up for these tours did it - not b/c they prefer to be cramped into a small 12 passenger van with a bunch of strangers or for the "gourmet" turkey picnic - but rather, because they did not want to drive. Who wants to sit in traffic on their vacation, in a park nonetheless??

    The National Park should be implementing Alternative C - immediate and aggressive implementation of a shuttle system from the town of Tusayan into the Park.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    big oil and gas dripping ORVs?? i dont know about you but if my truck was leaking oil id fix it before id take it to the beach but thats just me. look fellas we all need to be fair here. on one hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who don't give a flyin sh** about the environment and will leave the beach a dump. on the other hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who assume that EVERYONE who drives on the beach is in this category. both probably make up 1% of people who drive on the national seashore... it is what it is.

    Believe me, i'll be the first person to confront someone leaving any kind of trash on the beach. and if i could stop someone from driving like a complete idiot putting people and wildlife in danger than i would certainly do that, too. but to say that we need to close the beaches to all ORVs is a little bit extreme, if not ridiculous to me. People have been driving on beaches ever since vehicles had that capability. they arent "big oil dripping" monsters as some of you have referred to them as. NO KIDDING THEY AREN'T CLEAN. but we've come a long way in terms of making these things as clean as possible. you don't hear of anybody suffocating in New York City like in the '70s do you??

    as an avid surf fisherman, i am all for the conservation of endangered animals, including the plovers. but to say that we are a realistic threat to these birds just isn't right. Foxes, for example, are a much more formidable threat to them than we are.

    one other thing i would like to touch on is some of the businesses on Hatteras Island that WILL go out of business if the beaches were to get closed to ORVs. There are several tackle shops on the island that have depended on people fishing the national seashore to keep their business going ever since they opened. is it really fair to them especially, to close the beaches to ORVs because of a handful of people who treated the beach poorly?? You don't have to answer that, i think it speaks for itself.

    If anyone disagrees with anything i've said i would like to know. Again, all i want is for people to be fair and realistic here.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Yap! Once you start labeling those (as "extremist") who oppose you Mr. Metzgar in defense of ORV's at the Cape, your points of view begin sound more like your in favor of less preservation for wildlife. I think your distorting the facts about the "effectiveness" of the Plover Recovery program at Cape Cod National Seashore...and it's so call glut of birds. Maybe the glut of Plovers has a lot to do with it's shrinking habitat. What about the glut of human species and there oil spewing ORV's at the Cape (which I think is very valid issue). Can you give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment at the Cape. May I recommended that you read some of Rachel Carson's books like: Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Rocky Coast and finally The Sea. Just perhaps maybe you can find a small inkling to read a few of these precious books and truly see and feel the power of the sea and why it's so important to conserve and protect a few special places like Cape Hatteras...and not ruin it with more ORV's!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Let's be fair here. If we are going to block off Hatteras to all but walk-ins, let's also do that for ALL National Parks. Auto pollution, asphalt, truck fumes, dripping oil, tourists, litter, etc., etc. are just as noxious in Yellowstone as Hatteras.