A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

Congressional legislation and a pending civil suit threaten the future of a new rule that protects wildlife and allows vehicles on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 

By Anna Sanders
Published: 06/12/2012
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Anna Sanders

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Just visited Assateague today

Just visited Assateague today and it was glorious... got to walk for a solid 2 hours in one direction viewing the plovers, oyster catchers, osprey, terns and horses! the beach was open to pedestrians all the way to the inlet..... the bird nesting area is closed off and everyone walking was respecting it and we live in coexistence with nature , at least on the north end of Assateague.
I agree that the killing off of all those creatures in CHatteras ( don't forget those adorable nutria) is atrocious.
I also frequent NJ beaches and love that pedestrians are allowed to walk the beaches and actually view the nesting birds!!!!

Excellent article

You are getting the idea on how the open access ORV cartel operates at Cape Hatteras National Seashore from the response to your article and the pro ORV open access blog in Hatteras Island. They thrive on personal attacks and uninformed emotion. Even one of the Dare County Board of Commissioners in a ploy for votes has presented a shameful personal attack on members of environmental groups.

It is interesting that the pro ORV open access groups refused to comment when you invited their opinion are now the same members want to dispute your comments. One of the rallying cries of these groups is that they want "reasonable ORV access" but they never seem to explain the specifics of what they considerable reasonable access.

For some of the pro ORV access people it is not a matter of access, it is a matter of hate for environmental groups and the National Park Service and that thought is readily apparent at Hatteras Island with nails being put in an environmentalist driveway, "wanted" posters for environmentalists placed in various locations, signs posted in some businesses banning National Park Service employees and harassment of environmentalists and NPS personnel and their families. It is regretable that these types of actions actually add to loss of retail business on Hatteras Island.

This coming Tuesday, June 19 there will be a Congressional vote on a bill that could override years of effort by the National Park Service for a balance of man and nature at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and it is my hope that Congress will not be swayed by people who seek their own personal self interests vs the well being of threatened and endangered shore birds and sea turtles.


"This is probably the most
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2012/06/15 - 10:25am.
This is probably the most absurd statement I've ever read. Nothing presented by Barbara is factual."

The information I presented came directly from the NPS Resource Reports. If they are not factual, it is the fault of the NPS staff. Interesting that this response was placed out of chronological order. Hmmm.


Deliberately mischaracterizing the NPSs' reports is not being factual. It is telling lies.

Cape Hatteras

Thank you, Audubon! I have lived on Hatteras Island for over 30 years. I have watched the Pro-ORV side lie, lie again, and then bully anyone who dares to be against their side. Anywhere else these people would be considered candidates for the psych wards, but here it is accepted. Please continue to fight for the restrictions to helps nature prevail over these greedy bullies. They claim that you and SELC are full of lies when it is they, in fact, who have had their leaders lie to them. And instead of blaming their own leaders for accepting the consent decree- they lied to their followers. They don't yet realize that the reason no one listens to them off the island, except for a few mis-led NCBBA folks, is because They are the side with false science and lies.

Cape pointer, How many of

Cape pointer, How many of those 31.8 miles of open beach can you actually access?
do you use a parachute ?

The Beach at Hatteras is a

The Beach at Hatteras is a National seashore and recreation area.
It was never intend to be a wildlife refuge.
Pea Island is on Hatteras Island and it is a wildlife refuge.
BTW Pea Island moves the turtle eggs to a safe location on the other side of the sand dunes
to protect the eggs from predators and high surf. This procedure is also used at Padre Island in Texas with enormous success.
This is not a place where wild dune buggy s race and stuff, but family's use 4 wheel drive vehicles to access the beach and enjoy the nature and wildlife. We love to watch the plover for years they never seem to bothered by us.
The destruction by the waves and wind are significantly worse than a few tire tracks in the sand.
Access is not practical for the average pedestrian.
Pleas stop the attack on a way of live for us that do live near Hatteras.
We can all coexist.

Over Regulation

The over regulation of the beaches has me convinced that the environmental groups want not a single person on these beaches if possible except for themselves of course. I have been visiting the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area for more than 30 years. Never have I witnessed the destruction purported in this article.

I used to support some environmental groups through donations. Never Again!

Miles Available On Hatteras Island

As for what is open, Hatteras Island has 40 miles of beach front. Appoximately 8 miles is open to ORVs. With 3 of those access points being little more than glorified sand parking lots--cul de sacs and bumper to bumper parking.

Approximately, 4 miles of low density beach is open to pedestrian access either via designated parking areas or by walking through ORV areas. There is more but since it is sandwiched between closures and since the only parking would be on the soft sand shoulders of highway 12 (sometimes in violation of no parking signs) and with long walks over dunes and through thick brush with tics and snakes I didn't count it.

Approximately 14 miles of high density beach is open (the villages and the life guarded area at the old light house site). This is not by any means wild and pristine, unless you consider sun tan lotion, blankets and umbrellas wild and pristine.

Bottom line, only 4 miles of wild and pristine beaches are available on Hatteras Island. Prior to the 2004 when the park started this nonesense one could enter the beach via an ORV route and ride to any number of areas where very few people could be found or ride to an area that consisted of many people, fishing, swimming, picnicing etc. and partake of the comradarie available in the more heavily used areas. Now, due to the vast restriction on the amount of beach front available, all but 4 miles is either closed or so crowded that you might as well be at any number of other beaches that are earier to drive to.

And don't tell me about Pea Island--as everyone of the people quoted in your article have repeadedly stated that Pea Island can't be included in the evaluation of the proportion of areas designated for non ORV use. Why? According to them, because Pea Island is not part of the park and because it is too far to travel if you live or visit in the villages of Hatteras Island. If the 13 miles of Pea Island did count, the NPS and environmental groups would have to admit that this plan is NOT balanced.


I knew this article would be garbage after the first sentence. Another heap of manure spread by Audubon to elicit more contributions from its members. I challenge the author to back up the opening sentence with ANY facts. You based your entire article on a false premise. You used the age old ploy of opening an argument with a false premise to mislead your members into pouring more cash into your pockets.

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