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


keep telling the truth Audubon!

I have lived on Hatteras Island for over 30 years, so the pro-ORV crowd can stop saying "you don't live here" etc. The tru native islanders are not a greedy bunch of mean people. BUT the leaders of the pro ORV access are made up mostly of "transplants " with one or two locals involved. These transplants hate the government, although they do accept welfare, food stamps, and are notorious for abusing enemployment benefits during the winter.
to set the record straight, again, the villages of Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras and Avon do exist in the National Park. However the tax receipts and occupancies for rentals in EACH OF THESE VILLAGES are higher than they have ever been. The few tackle shops - IF they are telling the truth- may have reduced revenues. But they have ONLY THEMSELVES SELVES to blame as they have been advertising to their clients for 3 years now that the "beaches are closed so don't come here." When in fact, the beaches were not and are not closed...just a few areas where threatened or endangered
Birds or turtles nest.
There are MANY more supporters of the Park and Audubon living here thank the ORV crowd believes. We just choose to not be mean, greedy, or lie.

Bravo Ted!

Ted Williams knocked it out of the park again with this article. He peeled back the layers of the story, waded through the nonsense and BS put out by the ORV zealots, and presented the facts. Thank you Ted!

This article is full of lies and omissions

It is a lie that the new ORV rule has not impacted the local economy and the statistics used in support of the lie intentionally misleading. No matter how many time we try to tell people that the villages in the Seashore a separate from the rest of Dare County, you just don't want to hear it and acknolwedge the truth. Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Duck, and the other, much larger northern villages of Dare County are outside of the Seashore and not subject to the ORV rule. Those villages are doing just fine. It is the businesses located in the small villages within the Seashore that are dying. From the time of its creation over half a century ago, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has had minimal development in order to protect and preserve the environment. There is only one main road. There are onlty a few scattered, very small parking lots from which you can acess the beach. The vast majority of the beaches are only accessible by ORV and the park was intentionally created that way. The "Vehicle Free" area just south of Cape point is literally miles from any public parking or paved road. How are pedestrians supposed to access it? By walking miles through soft sand with their kids and beach gear in tow? We don't want to pave paradise and put up more parking lots. We want reasonable access for the fishermen and residents who make up the majority of the population of the seashore. As others have mentioned, I note your misleading use of, and outright ingnorance of the scientific and historical studies that have shown that Plover populations have remained steady for over 50 years in the Seashore. those same studies also have shown that plover and seaturtle losses are nearly 100% due to storm overwash and predation from other animals. There has been no study finding any link between ORVs and bird and turtle populations. None. But you ingnore and refuse to respond to this fact. Just like you and the members of Audubon ingnore and covera up the fact that the NPS has systematically killed hundreds of animals at the Seashore to try and protect a dozen birds. HUNDREDS of cats, foxes, racoons, opossums, minks, coyotes, etc. You either need to own up to the killing and go on record that it is acceptable or admit that NPS management and the ORV rule are a catastrophic failure. It is well known that Audubon's real objective is to drive the citizens and residents out of the Seashore and turn it into a giant wildlife sanctuary. Just admit it and preserve whatever shred of credibility you have left.

Talk about lies!

"Full of omissions and lies" is the biggest collection of lies yet. NOTHING in this absurd rant is true and the notion that people might actually have to walk to the beach seems so foreign to this person. Luckily, smart people see right through it.

Thank you Ted and Audubon!

Audubon skews for its own benefit.... no matter what...

What audubon percieves as lies ... others percieve and know as the truth... audubon has only a few local reps wheras all the other sporting and recreational groups have hundreds of thousands of represented individuals. audubon... how about being on the level for once??? audubon sucks at being real!!!!!

Give me a break

The villages on HI are not dying. It is amazing they are as vibrant as they. About every 5 years a catastrophic hurricane blows through causing major damage. There have been 2 new inlets formed in the last 10 years. Any other economic concern is nothing compared to these events. Occupancy is up on Hatteras Island right this minute. If business are failing or just hanging on it is not because visitors have quit coming or the Park's new regs. All one had to was drive from one of Hatteras Island to the other and open their eyes and look around to see this.

All the animals the park is trapping and killing are either not native to CHNS ecosystem or their population is out of wack due to humans providing more food that I don't know what else the Park can do. But come on, how could anyone be sincerely upset about that in a Park that allows sport fishing and fishing tournaments. When you guys start crying about all the fish being killed and tortured then I'll start believing the spin about the trapping policy.

This kind of deciet is going to be discovered.

Hey Ted Williams, Go fuck

Hey Ted Williams,
Go fuck yourself! We are not buying your bullshit.

A Cerebral Comment

This comment is more cerebral (by motorhead standards, that is) than the ones I receive on the blog I administer for Fly Rod & Reel magazine. A typical motorhead comment there reads “F…. the Autobahn [sic].” Somehow that precludes productive dialogue. Re. the motorhead mantra that the article is “nothing but lies,” I’d be interested to hear how they explain the photo of the obscene sign that I saw plastered everywhere on the Outer Banks including next to a middle school. And how about the photo of the important stretch of bird habitat owned by me and all Americans where you can barely see the sand for all the ORVs? And how about the quotes from the motorhead groups taken from their own literature? And how about the quotes of ORV advocate negotiators taken from the public record? And how about the comments from the Park Service manager taken from court documents? And how about the economic data taken from published studies available to anyone? If Hatteras motorheads bestirred themselves to read (assuming they can read), they would be less stressed. I urge the literate among them (if they exist) to do so.

Glad to see some positive changes

I've spent many hours driving and fishing along the Outer Banks and I can only say that I hope the trend is moving toward a more wildlife friendly attitude. I spent a summer working there back in the 90's, doing shorebird studies and the rumblings were starting back then. I quit going to Cape Hatteras years ago because it was just too crowded and wasn't fun anymore. My last trip, about 5 years ago, I was so disappointed in the whole area. Too many people, most of them whining about how the piping plover was going to ruin their "way of life". I spent most of the trip biting my tongue. I am more than happy to restrict my driving, and pay for a permit (which most beaches require anyway!) if I'm doing it based on sound reasons, like avoiding nesting areas, saving wildlife, and limiting traffic. Maybe in a few years I'll be drawn back, if I see more positive changes. Until then, I'll keep my vacation money going to places that care about conserving resources instead of destroying them.

What caused the crowding

Bird closures that extended to the water began in 2004. Since that time summer ORV use has been reduced to 12 to 13 miles. So yes, take all the anglers that used to spread out at HI, then Billy Mitchell all the way around the point to the Cape Point Campground, Kinitkeet, and then north of Avon all the way to South of Rhdanthe/Salvo/Waves and corale them into 13 miles and you get crowding. 5 years ago would place your last trip at 2006 or 2007 which would be after resource closures started.

BTW, if you really wanted secluded areas you could have visited the area between Hatteras and Frisco or from the old lighthouse area all the way to the one way road north of the haul over. And the best kept secret in town--13 miles of Pea Island. Now we have added to these vehcile free areas--Hatteras Inlet Spit, the hook, and select areas between each ramp on the nothern villages. You can no longer travel from one ramp to another. You must back track, go back on the highway, then proceed. This adds to beach traffic and guess what, contrary to what another commenter said the VFAs are not at existing parking areas--that is, you must park on the road and walk through dunes or walk through the vehicle areas!

And the best kept secret, much of the VFAs were closed during tourist season. And many required users to stay below the high tide line and prohibted dogs and kites.

Not surprising that these VFAs were basically deserted. In fact, the beaches have been less crowded than I can remember since the whole mess started in 2004. So my question, where are all the visitors that are making this a record year? They are not on the beaches. Based upon the number of vacant rental houses, I say quite simply they are not here!

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