Public meeting scheduled in Raleigh on beach driving plan

Posted April 27, 2010

— Triangle residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on a draft plan for beach driving along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The public meeting will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm. at North Carolina State University's McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman St. in Raleigh.

The plan outlines access for off-road vehicles at the seashore over the next 10 to 15 years. It is the latest attempt to balance environmental concerns and recreational access along the federally protected coastline, including the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Bodie and Ocracoke islands.

Public weighs in on beach driving draft Public weighs in on beach driving draft

The draft plan would permanently close parts of the beach to off-road vehicles. It would temporarily close other parts of the beach during nesting seasons and set limits on the number of off-road vehicles allowed on the sand.

Public meetings were held in Ocracoke and Buxton on Monday.

“It’s about restricting access not only to off-road vehicles but to pedestrians,” Lee Browning commented during one of Monday’s meetings. Browning was among the people opposing the plan.

Environmentalists said they hope the new rules will protect sensitive nesting areas.

"I like to drive on the beach. I like to fish. But in the long run, if it comes down to ORVs versus birds, I've got to go with the birds," Dennis Pohl said.

Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening in Kill Devil Hills at the Wright Brothers National Memorial First Flight Centennial Pavilion, 1000 Croatan Highway, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The final meeting will be held Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center, 1815 W. Mercury Blvd. in Hampton, Va.

Public comments on the plan are also being accepted online until May 11.

Beginning Saturday, all Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches will be closed to off-road vehicles between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., as part of a court-ordered consent decree. The restriction continues until Nov. 15.

The decree is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Audubon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife in October 2007, claiming that the National Park Service's interim management plan did not adequately protect nesting piping plovers and sea turtles. Dare County agreed to the order rather than risk the court closing the beach to vehicles altogether.

As part of the decree, the NPS may issue permits to authorize night driving on Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches within the restricted hours between Sept. 16 and Nov. 15.

Prior to Sept. 16, officials will announce the availability of the night driving permits and how to obtain them.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 29, 2010

    Cricket, of course I've been there. :-)

    You made the ridiculous "argument" that this activity should continue because people have done this sort of thing for a long time. THAT was your only reason...which is no reason at all...and the same "reason" that slave owners gave for buying humans.

    So...again I about a REAL reason to drive 2 ton combustion machines on fragile beach systems?

  • mustangyts Apr 27, 2010

    I have fished the beaches of the outerbanks my entire life. The birds do not nest right on the beach but within the dune areas that contain vegetation. If birds were to nest on the open beach, their eggs would be devoured by gulls. They seem to be nesting successfully somewhere, the number of birds has never seemed to waver. I have seen hundreds of nest in the wooded areas of Hatteras and Ocracoke. Its really not a beach issue.

  • Cricket at the lake Apr 27, 2010

    Herenow, bet you have never been there, to Hatteras Island, let alone ride down the beach. Have had this conversation before. Tradition means nothing to you but it is a lot to the locals, and we aren't talking slavery, for goodness sake, must it always come up? Why don't you go and see for your self what it is all about before you make your opinion?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 27, 2010

    Cricket, I sure hope you have a better reason than "tradition". That's the same reason people used for slavery, growing/smoking tobacco, suppressing women from owning land or voting, and a host of other things.

    How about giving us a real reason to continue to allow 2 ton machines on delicate beach systems?

  • fisherphil Apr 27, 2010

    The current NPS OVR plan, know as Ateritive F, bans all dogs from the aseashore during the summer, keeps the the points and inlets closed to both pedristians and cars year round, 1000m radius closure for all birds, even non-endangers ones like the abundant Oystercacher

    PLease read about this plan and let your voice be heard

  • Cricket at the lake Apr 27, 2010

    Any one else had enough of government intrusion and enviro nuts running this country? How about the tax paying law abiding citizens taking control back? How many Hatteras Island families had their land taken from them by the Federal Govt to make the National Seashore? And now they can't ride down the beach, an island tradition. What's next, no fishing offshore?

  • Mugu Apr 27, 2010

    Too many environmentalists trying to ruin our way of life.

  • michaelbarefoot Apr 27, 2010

    Heaven forbid should it turn into a Daytona beach!