Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby rmcallaway » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:12 am

Larry, I don't know if you and your readers are aware of the access issues at Cape Hatteras National Seashore or at Biscayne National Park. Yesterday, Congressman Walter Jones (NC) had his bill HR 4094 brought up for a hearing before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. If your readers are concerned about access to not just Cape Hatteras, but all National Parks and public lands I urge you to write your Congressman, Senators and the members of this subcommittee in support of HR 4094.

Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan (both from NC) have submitted Senate Bill S.2372 in support of Access to Cape Hatteras.

If you are unaware of the history of access I urge to watch the video "Piping Mad" - it is a little old and the situation has changed to some degree (not better, but worse) - however the video does a good job of describing the situation.
Piping Mad can be found at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=593797982139 for your facebook subscribers, a quick youtube check will bring the video up in two parts.


There is a video of yesterday's hearing available on the Outer Banks Preservation Association's website - I also urge you to watch this as well - it is actual quite entertaining and not dry at all. OBPA'a website is:

http://obpa-nc.org

video link located at http://obpa-nc.org/joomla/ near the top of the page
"Be Content: The Sea Hath Fish Enough" - Thomas Fuller

http://dailyfishwrapper.blogspot.com/

http://ateandbait.blogspot.com/

I also admin an open facebook site Surf Fishing North Carolina
http://www.facebook.com/groups/323592257724735/
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby Brian » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:40 am

I understand the situation, however, Cape Hatteras is a National Seashore, which means it is controlled by the National Parks system. It is this way for a reason. Now, don't get me wrong, I am an avid fisherman, and have a vacation booked in Rodanthe in exactly one month. However, I've seen first hand how people that vacation there regard the wild beaches. I can't tell you how many times I've seen kids playing in areas roped off as turtle nesting sites, or how many people I've seen acting like A$$es on the beach in their off-road vehicles, not all, but enough. Sure, they are having fun, and I've heard the comments "it's just a stupid bird" or "it's just a stupid turtle", but these stupid birds and turtles have their place in the natural order of things, and with their numbers dwindling, it is only fitting that we as the only species on earth that has the power to decide the fate of all other species on earth, protect them when things become as dire as they have been in the past. I am happy to give up access to ORV use on the beach and to fishing in order to help along a creature that is experiencing survival difficulties. It is time that we become a little more observant and respectful of our environment and wild places. Especially when it comes to national parks. They were created in order to give preservation to the most awesome, unique, wild, rugged, and beautiful places on earth both for wildlife and also for the people of our country to observe in awe. They weren't created to give people a playground for off road vehicles or for fishing access.

Not long ago, roads were torn out, cabins were torn down, and walking access was restricted in California around giant Sequoia trees in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks. Many people weren't very happy, but again, this area was protected both for the enjoyment of the people, and the preservation of the area and species unique to the Park. In this case, they found out that all of the roads, buildings, and foot traffic were damaging the roots of the trees, and preventing them from receiving the correct amount of water in summer months. They also discovered that smaller brush fires in the summer allowed the forest to regenerate more sequoias and other species, so they stopped putting them out. Was it a hamper to the people trying to find a vacation spot, yes, but again this park was created for the preservation and enjoyment of the sequoia tree and it's surrounding wild areas, not as an amusement park for the people to decide what to do with. When park managers found that the people going there in droves and walking too close to the trees were actually doing more harm than good, they acted. Just like in this case. Again, I understand that this reduces the possibility of catching a trophy red-drum from the beaches of the national seashore, and yeah, it is a bummer, but again, it is up to us to put our differences aside and do what is right for all based on the fact that this is still a national seashore, in essence, a national park. Believe me, had it not been for the protection of the National Park system since the inception of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, then Hatteras Island would be nothing more than Ocean City or Virginia Beach from top to bottom, and not the beautiful windswept island that many of us have come to love.
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby rmcallaway » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:09 am

The correct name for the park is Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area - the Recreation Area is a very important aspect of its name. The people of North Carolina and more importantly the people of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands donated the lands with the understanding that beaches were for recreation and that access would not be denied. Take a look at this passage from the legislation that established Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area

§ 459. Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area; conditional establishment; acquisition of lands
When title to all the lands, except those within the limits of established villages, within boundaries to be designated by the Secretary of the Interior within the area of approximately one hundred square miles on the islands of Chicamacomico, Ocracoke, Bodie, Roanoke, and Collington, and the waters and the lands beneath the waters adjacent thereto shall have been vested in the United States, said area shall be, and is, established, dedicated, and set apart as a national seashore recreational area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and shall be known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area: Provided, That the United States shall not purchase by appropriation of public moneys any lands within the aforesaid area, but such lands shall be secured by the United States only by public or private donation.

Brian - the people of Hatteras Island and the users of the National Seashore have a long history of being good stewards of the environment and have no interest in doing harm to the wildlife that live on the island. The current rules concerning ORV use on the beaches are draconian and not based on good science. In a 1972 Federal Executive Order, amended by another Order in 1977, the National Park Service was required to publish regulations concerning use of Off Road Vehicles, known as an ORV Management Plan, for all recreational areas throughout the country. The Park Service working with local and state feedback, created an Interim Management Plan for ORV use. This plan effectively utilized the expertise and knowledge of the National Park Service to implement well managed corridors of access inside the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. This cooperative arrangement was effective for everyone involved – the National Park Service, local residents, and the environment. In October 2007, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service over beach access in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA). The lawsuit, filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center, was generated by Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society. After the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina Northern Division, intense negotiations began between the United States Attorney representing the National Park Service and the environmental groups. The local people were not allowed in the negotiations. An agreement between the National Park Service and the plaintiffs was agreed upon in 2008 and accepted by Judge Terrence Boyle. The current NPS rules are mostly based on the framework of the 2008 Consent Decree and as a consequence the people of Hatteras Island have suffered excessive economic hardship in lost tourism and recreational users of the National Seashore have been shut out visiting the most popular fishing spots accessible only by off road vehicles.

The wildlife was doing just fine prior to 2008 and fortunately our legislatures listened to the people who decried the unbalanced approach to access management by the park service. Environmental groups tried to "fix something that didn't need fixing. Now We The People need to fix what they broke.
"Be Content: The Sea Hath Fish Enough" - Thomas Fuller

http://dailyfishwrapper.blogspot.com/

http://ateandbait.blogspot.com/

I also admin an open facebook site Surf Fishing North Carolina
http://www.facebook.com/groups/323592257724735/
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby Brian » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:39 pm

All I know is that I saw information from state agencies in North Carolina that said last year only 17 chicks survived on the entire seashore, and only 4 of the surviving chicks survived long enough to learn to fly. With that said, this was somehow a reason to celebrate according to officials. To me that is alarming given the size of the National Seashore. I think it is important to do a couple of things. First, I do not support fully closing all beaches down for good. However, I do support closures during certain times of year for nesting/hatching of both Plovers and Sea turtles. I think the number one thing that needs to happen is more patroling by National Park Service law enforcement. This way, when someone is making sand castles in an endangered turtle nest, harassing threatened sea birds, or "showing off in their ORV on the beach", there can be hefty penalties thrown their way. And I do believe that the residents of OBX do care for their environment, I think it is mostly visitors doing any damage to the environment. For now, I have to go with supporting the part time closures until we see more information suggesting that ORV use is not the cause of the dwindling population of Plovers on OBX. If it doesn't work after some time, then they need to start more studies. Unfortunately, I don't think the evidence will come around in just 4 or 5 years. Sometimes it takes time for animals to re-colonize an area that has been for a long time, unfavorable to be in. I've seen suggestions that most of the dunes on Hatteras island are not natural, and this pushes the nesting sites too close to the beach which gives the birds a much higher chance of losing their eggs due to overwash from storms at sea, I've also seen suggestions that pollution is the cause, and I know that some of the rivers flowing into the sounds around the Outer Banks are terribly polluted. All of this is possible, and I think that this is just the start of things. And again, if this does not work, then I support re-opening the beaches to access, with more enforcement against harassment of wildlife and destruction of beaches. I just think it is the only responsible thing to do in this case. That and bring about more scientists and more studies to get all of the facts behind the reasons the birds are disappearing.

Take care, and happy fishing.
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby rmcallaway » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:58 pm

Brian - I do not really want to turn "Questions for Larry" into a point - counter point discussion on the nesting success of Piping Plovers at Cape Hatteras - all I am asking that his concerned readers take some time to view the sites I indicated - suffice to to say - the numbers you've seen are numbers for within the confines of the Seashore's boundary. That doesn't count the birds nesting and having chicks on the dredge islands in the sound and other areas that are not in the park.

The science for the "Interim Management Plan" in place prior to the 2008 Consent Decree was based on sound science. It was a workable plan that balanced the needs of the nesting birds and turtles with the recreational activities of the fishermen.

As far as visitors misbehaving, if laws are broken, then laws should be enforced. Most people have cell phones and can report the misdeeds of others to the NPS if the situation warrants. However, I've got to say that in all the years I've visited Hatteras (30+ years), I have never seen an event that warranted the need for heavy law enforcement. Most visitors are not interested in breaking the rules, disturbing turtle nests or harassing birds or other wildlife.

Tight Lines and Fresh Bait!
"Be Content: The Sea Hath Fish Enough" - Thomas Fuller

http://dailyfishwrapper.blogspot.com/

http://ateandbait.blogspot.com/

I also admin an open facebook site Surf Fishing North Carolina
http://www.facebook.com/groups/323592257724735/
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby Questor » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:08 pm

Can you summarize this down in fishing terms?
1) Is fishing closed on Cape Hatteras?
2) If it's still open, is there enough left for a quality angling experience?
3) If it's closed, what's nearby that's good?
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby rmcallaway » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:05 pm

Fishing is not closed, access to beaches are severally restricted. review link - it will show you how to bring up a Google Earth image of open beaches

http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/o ... le-use.htm

All North Carolina beaches off good surf fishing. If you can't make it to Hatteras, then try any of our beaches. Cape Lookout, Topsail Island, Carolina Beach are all very good- just not as good as the Cape Point located on Hatteras. There is no better spot on Earth to surf fish.
"Be Content: The Sea Hath Fish Enough" - Thomas Fuller

http://dailyfishwrapper.blogspot.com/

http://ateandbait.blogspot.com/

I also admin an open facebook site Surf Fishing North Carolina
http://www.facebook.com/groups/323592257724735/
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Re: Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby Brian » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:25 pm

rmcallaway wrote:
> Brian - I do not really want to turn "Questions for Larry" into a
> point - counter point discussion on the nesting success of Piping Plovers
> at Cape Hatteras - all I am asking that his concerned readers take some
> time to view the sites I indicated - suffice to to say - the numbers you've
> seen are numbers for within the confines of the Seashore's boundary. That
> doesn't count the birds nesting and having chicks on the dredge islands in
> the sound and other areas that are not in the park.
>
> The science for the "Interim Management Plan" in place prior to
> the 2008 Consent Decree was based on sound science. It was a workable plan
> that balanced the needs of the nesting birds and turtles with the
> recreational activities of the fishermen.
>
> As far as visitors misbehaving, if laws are broken, then laws should be
> enforced. Most people have cell phones and can report the misdeeds of
> others to the NPS if the situation warrants. However, I've got to say that
> in all the years I've visited Hatteras (30+ years), I have never seen an
> event that warranted the need for heavy law enforcement. Most visitors are
> not interested in breaking the rules, disturbing turtle nests or harassing
> birds or other wildlife.
>
> Tight Lines and Fresh Bait!


Point taken, I hope that whatever comes of this is a win/win. Looking at it from your point of view, it sure would suck to have all of the beaches that you have loved fishing on closed one day, especially beaches that have produced the world record Red Drum. I hope the best for all in this situation.

Brian
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Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Postby Olivio » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:45 pm

Thanks for sharing these links to Cape Hatteras ORV management.
Cape Hatteras is in North Carolina and thus is in the Southeast. Can someone with mod powers please move them to the correct area?
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