The Battle Over a North Carolina Beach Continues

The Battle Over a North Carolina Beach Continues

On Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a revolutionary management plan is finally putting embattled sea turtles and birds on near-equal footing with ORV drivers. But powerful interests are working hard to undo it.

By Ted Williams/Photography by Emiliano Granado
Published: September-October 2012
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Ted Williams

Ted Williams is freelance writer.

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Beach access

We are avid bird watchers and have been using ORV's on Assateague Island, Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island, The Core Banks, and other beaches in NC since 1987.
The policy the Audobann is dictating to the NPS is harmful to the economies of beaches that depend on tourists.
Pedestrian only areas are a sham.
There is no parking or walkways for beach goers.
I feel sick that I subscribed to Audobon Magazine for 20 years.

Awesome, well written

Awesome, well written article. Despite what the org Nazis say, the research article had lots of good, factual info. I have never seen more hate filled ignorant assholes. I have lived in Buxton for two years, and you cant disagree with these authors without being harassed or threatened. Thank you for your article.

I think it's funny that you

I think it's funny that you have real science and facts but have never been here. How many times have the friends of Ted, walked to Cape Point, walked to Hatteras Inlet or walked from ramp 27 to ramp 30? I bet never. So until you have, you have no idea what your talking. Ted is lying drama queen.


Thank you Audubon for saying it like it is. I guess any one reaidng the comments that have been posted here by the pro-access ORV crowd can see how they actually believe their own rhetoric and do not understand real science and real facts like the rest of the world.
So, thankfully, the writers of the original Cape Hatteras National Seashore enabling legisaltion had enough sense to foresee this type of greedy behavior, and enacted the law to protect it for all of us in the US.
I just sent another contribution to Audubon, and I am contacting my senators to support Audubon on this!

Please keep us posted as to the progress of this issue and if we need to rally our forces across the country to help keep our land for all of us!

Room to roam and drive

I guess having 17 miles of the Seashore to drive on, ultimately more than 40% when the birds and turtle season is over, is not enough for some folks. They want it all, every bit of it, no matter how many birds and turtles are harmed. Truth is, Cape Hatteras has room for everyone. Those that want to drive on the beach have their space; those that want to enjoy the experience worthy of a national seashore can enjoy a beach without vehicles, and birds and turtles have their place too.

The new regulation seems very nicely balanced. I've bought my driving permit and was happy to do so.

Oh Ted, Here You Go Again...

I saw no response to the first post concerning the misdealings of the NAS as far as the hypocritical Pine Island sale. How do you respond? I guess you can't because it’s a fact. Why don't you do a little research outside of your own comfort zone before you write a fluff piece for special interests? Better yet, how about a few facts in your churn of dribble? How many deaths to sea turtles have been attributed to anyone...again, I will say any one ORV user in the "54 years" of ORV use as you know it minus the ones attributed to the park service? How many hours have the NAS, or you, spent cleaning up OBX after a storm? How many days do the NAS, or you, spend cleaning OBX for the good of the community and those who vacation there? The community, avid fisherman, and general guests of OBX organize events throughout the year for beach clean-up. Where are you and NAS? Why do the NAS and SELC use selective data for tourism statistics when there is clear evidence Dare County economics differ greatly south of Nags Head? Nags head is the base of all travel north and south of the OBX. It has grown like many other NC cities, yet south of Nags Head is strikingly different. You are so quick to point out record visitation for ’10 and ’11 but fail to mention the BP oil spill in April of 2010 that closed down two thirds of the Gulf shoreline most of which is still unfit for use. Practically all East Coast beaches enjoyed record growth over the last two years except Florida’s panhandle, which was also affected. For a good laugh I particularly enjoy your favor of “trapping” the red fox and feral cats, which results in euthanasia for those animals. It seems you left the whole concept of killing one species in favor of another out of this article. Oops! You also point out the red fox is “alien” to the area while never mentioning the Piping Plover being a non-native species of OBX. You also fail to point out they have never had success here at OBX even when there was very little ORV use at all. However, that would run counter to your own “bullying and BS” now wouldn’t it? Good sir, I have remained open to many compromises in this matter over the last 7 years. I have been an avid reader of Audubon, as have my family and friends, until 2006 when we could no longer stomach their desire to stifle the rights of a local community and its guests. NAS and special interest swill peddlers have continued this unfounded barrage against a portion of the public that are in heart, mind, and soul, more environmentally sound than yourself or the beloved entities you represent. Keep up the “bullying and the BS” Ted, and stay classy.

Jason Kluttz

"Killing Species"

Red foxes and feral cats are both alien to the Outer Banks. In fact, both are alien to the nation. In case you don’t know what “alien” means it means they don’t belong! And of all the brainless statements that motorheads have made here and elsewhere (and that is going a LONG distance) I nominate “killing one species in favor of another” as the all-time winner. When you parrot this canard you come off as intellectually disadvantaged. Think about your public image. No agency has EVER killed “a species in favor of another.” Why can’t motorheads grasp this simple concept? The NPS is required by federal law to reduce INDIVIDUALS of overabundant alien species so that native SPECIES protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the ESA have a better shot at staying on this planet. Not rocket science.

Sea turtles benefit from beach driving restrictions

National Park Service reports a record year for sea turtles nesting on Cape Hatteras beaches (the fourth straight record year!) and the opportunity for all visitors to view excavations: "These nest excavations provide a great opportunity and glimpse into the early stages of the seldom seen sea turtle. With a record breaking 221 sea turtle nests on Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches this summer, park visitors have the opportunity to watch and listen to park staff as the excavation of the nest is performed."

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area

First off: please note the proper name of this area. Secondly, I am disappointed that once again, people are SO determined to make this about the ORV rule. It is so much more than that, and yet over and over, red herrings are being thrown up, vs really seeing how much deception has been practiced. One prime example, and yes, I saw this on the hearings, so it IS fact: stating that access is "open"..this does NOT mean it is open only means that is open to the public..period..very deceptive practise, and only one of many..another? Saying a section is "open", but neglecting to mention that all adjoining access is closed, and so I just have to ask: How is that "open" if you cannot get to it? And another: what abour our handicapped citizens? and another: I could go on and on since I started researching's another: WHY is the buffer zone so incredibly huge? Pea Island is also under the Dept of Interior...why the descrepansy in the daily operations, when they are under the same umbrella? That land sale? I would love to hear an explanation of that one!
as to to stewardship of this place? Really, would Audabon please explain to me why these same evil people who no longer want you in their community are the very same people who organize those beach cleanups, etc....You may wonder why these people are resorting to name calling, etc..which does no one any good, but you have frustrated these people beyong belief. I do not condone the namecalling, but do understand their anger, and if any of the people who are unsure or have not verified info in this situation would actually take the time to read the numerous well documented articles, they might finally understand that this is NOT just about driving on the beach. I strongly suggest some of you might want to read Wheat's Eye on Hatteras, including the archived reports, and get a is an eyeopener of the first degree. Deborah Bair


I love our you notice the truck is from out of state..posing for your pictures.. and no one has run over turtles here..check your facts.. also the picture with all the vehicles.. will only 1.2 miles were open for 30 miles that is ramp 30 the only one open.. when you took the picture...what do you stand for? I thought you stood for the truth..I used to be a member shame on me...and all others should get more facts before believing anything form this magazine

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