Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Are We Properly Caring for Our Ocean-Based National Parks?

There was an essay recently that brought to my attention a startling figure: Even though there are nearly 1,700 marine protected areas in U.S. territorial waters, 99.9 percent of all our territorial waters were open to fishing in 2008.

Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions

Interior Department officials have been notified that a lawsuit will be forthcoming over decisions to designate critical habitat for piping plover at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

House Subcommittee Considers Bill to Relax ORV Rules for Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Today the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is scheduled to consider HR 6233, a bill that would reinstate the Interim Management Strategy for ORV beach use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are heated arguments on both sides of this issue, which has strong implications for wildlife management, beach access, and tourist spending.

The National Park Service's First Plane Was a Tough-As-Nails 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2

In the 1930s the National Park Service’s first plane, a 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2 piloted by legendary aviator Dave Driskill, shuttled passengers, mail, and other stuff to and from CCC camps in the Outer Banks. Now privately owned, it is still flying.

Hanna Forcing Evacuations, Closures at Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout National Seashores

Tropical storm Hanna's approach to the Carolinas has forced some evacuations and closures at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores, and more steps could be taken depending on the severity of the storm.

First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Call it serendipity, the fate of the gods, or simple biology, but it seems that Cape Hatteras National Seashore is undergoing an invasion of sea turtles. And that means more beach closures to off-road vehicles and pedestrians.

What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?

The spit of sand that buffers the North Carolina coast from the worst the Atlantic Ocean can toss at it carries a wide array of contentious issues that seemingly have no easy answers. And as with most contentious issues, there's no doubt a measure of spin when talk comes to access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
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How is Cape Hatteras National Seashore Faring Under Travel Restrictions?

How is life at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the wake of travel restrictions aimed at protecting shorebirds and sea turtles that nest along the coast? As with many matters, it depends on whom you ask.

Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?

What's in a name? That's a good question in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unsolicited bid to turn Golden Gate National Recreation Area into a "national park."

Park History: The U.S. Life-Saving Service

Fierce winter storms and shifting shoals gave birth to the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," where thousands of ships have foundered since record-keeping began in the 16th century. Beginning late in the 18th century, rescuers began patrolling the East Coast in search of such wrecks.

National Park Service Issues Beach Access Report for Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Users

The National Park Service Beach Access Report for June 12, 2008, provides detailed background and regulatory information concerning ORV use at the popular Cape Hatteras National Seashore under the terms of the consent decree signed on April 30. The Park Service is soliciting your opinion about modifying the format and content of the Beach Access Report.

Commentary: Who Runs the National Park System?

Who runs the National Park System? Is it the National Park Service, or communities that fuel their economies off the parks? That's a good question to consider in the wake of the moxie and clout that tiny Cody, Wyoming, summoned to turn the heat up on its golden goose, Yellowstone National Park.

Bird Nests and Closures Spurring Civil Disobedience at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

As more nesting plovers and oystercatchers lead to more temporary beach closures at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it appears more folks are acting in civil disobedience to protest the closures.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best

Perhaps you’ve noticed that Cape Hatteras National Seashore has made the top ten in Dr. Beach’s 2008 list of America’s Best Beaches. To put a finer point on it, Cape Hatteras Beach is ranked number eight.

National Park Quiz 3: Bridges

Bridges are among the most favored of all human structures. They serve us well, make a bold visual statement, and open the door to a storehouse of memories. Who doesn’t admire the elegant lines of a suspension bridge? Who can look at a covered bridge without thinking of a time when life was simpler and slower and friendlier? This week's quiz will find out how much you know about the bridges and bridge-related things in our national parks. Answers are at the end. No peeking.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Spawns Vandalism

A settlement intended to resolve conflicts between off-road vehicle users and breeding birds and sea turtles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore seems to be having the opposite effect. Vandals have torn down signs designating buffers around nest sites and business owners say the settlement will devastate them.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Won't Ban ORV Use, But Will Restrict Travel

A settlement over off-road vehicle travel at Cape Hatteras National Seashore will not ban ORV travel, but it will restrict it at times throughout the year, according to the National Park Service.

Proposed Settlement Filed in Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Case

Birds on Cape Hatteras National Seashore will get more protection from off-road vehicles under a proposed settlement filed in federal court. If Judge Terrence Boyle signs off on the 23-page document, seasonal restrictions will be implemented to see that ORVs don't trample bird habitat.

Tentative Deal Reached Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Management

A tentative deal has been reached in the matter of off-road vehicle driving at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, although specific details have not yet been released.

Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue

A federal judge has agreed to give the two sides in the dispute over ORV use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore another week to find a solution. Short of that, he seems ready to ban the activity.

Paper Calls For Park Service To Protect Wildlife From ORVs on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A North Carolina newspaper has, figuratively, tossed some gasoline on the simmering dispute over the National Park Service's failure to produce an off-road vehicle management plan for Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In an editorial the Raleigh News and Observer says the Park Service is deferring to ORVers to the detriment of wildlife.

Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Southern Environmental Law Center photo.
For years folks have used off-road vehicles to negotiate some of the farther reaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. And for years the National Park Service failed to develop a management plan for those ORVers. And now it's time to pay the piper.

Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be

For years, summer trips to Cape Cod were an annual ritual for my family. My parents had retired to the Cape, and our boys loved romping in the surf and building castles in the sand. Lobster feasts, game-fishing, and whale watching were added benefits, as were exploring the seashore’s lighthouses, roaming its dunes, and looking for sea creatures in its mudflats.

Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic

Southern Environmental Law Center photo.
Back in July I predicted that the managers of Cape Hatteras National Seashore would be sued for allowing off-road vehicles to navigate the seashore without a valid ORV management plan in place. Well, that lawsuit has arrived in court.

The Park Service's Historic Buildings Can Be Saved Without Resorting to Leases

It's no secret that I've been troubled by the National Park Service's seemingly quick reliance on the private sector to preserve historic buildings on its properties. The agency's ongoing efforts to allow a private developer to lease three dozen buildings at Fort Hancock in Gateway National Recreation Area are being done in the name of preservation. Yet there are parks that are managing restoration without resorting to privatization.

Judge Says ORV Traffic at Cape Hatteras is Illegal, But It Continues

A federal judge has said the National Park Service can't legally allow off-road vehicle traffic at Cape Hatteras National Seashore because it doesn't have an ORV management plan in place. And yet, Cape Hatteras officials say they have to consult with the Interior Department before prohibiting the traffic. What sort of message is the Park Service trying to send?

Leatherback Turtle Nests on Cape Hatteras

Whether it's the result of climate change or simply a growing and expanding population of leatherback turtles is for the scientists to determine. For now, just the fact that a leatherback turtle has left a nest of eggs on a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is pretty exciting news.

Paying to Enjoy The Parks

A National Park Service lifeguard watches visitors; NPS Photo
How much would you pay to hike a trail in Shenandoah, or Great Smoky Mountains or Sequoia? What do you think is a reasonable fee to take a dip at Cape Cod or Cape Hatteras national seashores?
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