Local News

More shoreline closed after vandalism

Posted May 11, 2008

— Fifty more meters of beach in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are off limits to people after park rangers found vandalism to signs that mark off buffer zones set aside for certain breeding birds and turtles.

A park ranger on patrol discovered that 12 posts with "Area Closed" signs had been broken at ground level and that several closure markers had been pulled out at the shoreline. The signs marked an area that had been established to protect a tern colony, approximately 1.7 miles east of Ramp 49.

Under a consent decree that settled a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the act of vandalism required park officials to expand the closure area by 50 meters to the west.

"I urge everyone to consider that future acts of intentional vandalism to resource-protection areas will result in greater expansion of the buffers," park superintendent Mike Murray said. "These expansions are not discretionary under the consent decree."

Rangers found two sets of footprints along the edge of the fence that extended from dunes to ocean. No footprints or tire tracks went into the actual closure area.

No tern birds appeared to have been disturbed by the vandalism, park officials said.

The lawsuit settlement requires the National Park Service to establish wide buffer zones to keep out vehicular and foot traffic when piping plovers, American oyster catchers and other seabirds are nesting or breeding. It also bans driving after 10 p.m. from spring through fall to protect turtles.

The first beach closures required by the consent decree started on May 5.

Area leaders argued that such restrictions will hurt the area's tourism-dependent economy. Some business owners said they have already seen a downturn due to the restrictions.


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  • GulfWarVet May 13, 2008

    I just returned from a week on the OBX. You can't tell me there was an over crowding issue with regard to fishermen along these shores. The beaches beckon, 'open and no waiting'.

    My wife and I walked and walked and walked... and there were WIDE open spaces, open to access for folks to recreate. I don't understand all the fuss. If it comes down to your favorite fishing area being affected... FIND ANOTHER ONE or find a new hobby until this mess blows over.

  • Finz Up May 13, 2008


    No you are not gonna walk like everybody else because you aren't gonna be able to walk either which is just how those folks intend for it to be. Closure means closure albeit by truck or by pat and charlie. I'm sure you don't care either way but I and many others do care.

    The birds right to exist does not trump my right to drive on the beach and fish because my driving is NOT the cause of their failure to exist in the first place.

    The official name is Cape Hatteras Recreational Seashore. It is a recreational park not a wildlife refuge so you can put your trump card back in the deck.

  • haggis basher May 13, 2008

    "haggis,When those islands are eventually closed to ORV's how are you gonna gain access to watch them? Walk? Swim?"

    I'll walk like everyone else does. And if its too far then I'm sure the Birds won't mind. Basically it comes down to the birds right to exist easily trumps your right to drive on a beach to go fishing for fun.

  • Finz Up May 13, 2008

    mama 81

    Who is mad at wildlife? Is wanting to share the beach with the birds conducive to being "mad at wildlife". How much protection is enough for these birds whom we have been sharing the OBX with for decades with no problems. I know people down east who have plovers nesting in their fields. Are the whackos gonna start demanding we rope off fields next?

  • rocket May 12, 2008

    MaMa I'm not surprised that you agree with Rev. You both display clear ignorance on the issue as a whole and are both willing to spout off from your soapboxes.

  • ladyblue May 12, 2008

    This will just have yet another economic impact on an area that contributes so much to the state through tourist tax dollars.

    I hate to say this but the economy is hurting everywhere right now with all this gas and food increases. Inflation is rapid everywhere in NC it seems.....as well as the US. I don'[t that there has been enough time to do an impaact study.......without considering the weakened economy at the present.

  • oceanchild71 May 12, 2008

    Apparently a lot of you have never been to this area. You talk about walking on these beaches? FROM WHERE!!!!!!!! There is nothing around. To get to the beaches, you must drive one way or another. There is the occasional parking lot, but they are few and far between. If everyone who wanted to use the beach were restricted to using the parking lots, then everyone would be bunched up right near the access and not everyone would be able to go because those parking lots would fill up so quickly!

    Don't get me wrong. I have been called a "tree-hugger" before. But this is ridiculous! This ruling goes too far. Yes, there are some dumbazzes that act out of line, but how about enforcing the existing laws? Or put more punitive measures to existing laws?

    This will just have yet another economic impact on an area that contributes so much to the state through tourist tax dollars.

  • fishie May 12, 2008

    I guess I can say it until I am blue in the face and many still won't pay attention to it...the beaches are being COMPLETELY CLOSED due to the nesting/breeding behavior of the birds. This does not mean being closed to off-road-vehicles, it means closed to everything! Even though it is a VERY long walk to Cape Point from the access ramp, I would do it if I could. I can't though because the park service can't let me due to the language in the consent decree and the nesting birds.

  • Why Is My Slim Physique Envied May 12, 2008

    Why would anyone in their right mind be mad at the wildlife for living in the wild...LOL. You all do realize that the wildlife was here first and that was their home first, we are the invaders?

  • Why Is My Slim Physique Envied May 12, 2008

    I agree with the REV. Get off your fat backsides and walk! That's why we are the most obese nation in the world...too many calories and not enough physical activity!