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Off-Road Vehicle Corridor Temporary Closures Expected Soon to Protect Piping Plover Nestlings

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Date: June 1, 2009
Contact: North District Ranger, Craig Thatcher, 508-487-2100 ext. 107

Cape Cod National Seashore's Superintendent George E. Price, Jr.  announced that this week Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) closures will begin due to piping plover nesting activity.  Vehicle closures are for the protection of piping plovers, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Piping plover nests are inspected twice a day during a five-day hatch window to determine if the chicks have begun hatching out of the eggs.  Once the hatching begins, vehicle-free buffers are set up around the plover broods until the chicks fledge.  The vehicle closures are temporary and will last as long as there are unfledged plover chicks in the area.

With the options made available in the 2007 ORV Environmental Assessment, the seashore was able to keep a minimum of half a mile of ORV corridor open during the height of the 2008 plover nesting season.  This season, it appears a near closure may be reached around June 8.  The hatch dates are not exact, but seashore staff is anticipating a closure of the Race Point South access around June 2, followed by a Race Point North access closing around June 8.  A temporary closure of the Hatches Harbor spit will take place starting the evening of May 31.  Plover nesting dynamics this year may allow for a section of the Race Point North beach to remain open, which would be accessible by the Pole Line Road.  A section near the High Head access may also be available for a portion of the nesting season.  There is also up to 1.9 miles of corridor open to nighttime fishing from 6:00 PM until 7:00 AM south of Coast Guard beach in Truro.

Fee waivers will be granted at Head of the Meadow Beach, Race Point Beach, and Herring Cove Beach when a near closure is reached.  A near closure is defined as anything less than one half mile of corridor open.  Beach lot hours are from 6:00 AM to 12 midnight.  This waiver does not allow for vehicles to park and stay overnight in any beach lot. 

Accommodations will be made for all current Self-Contained Vehicle (SCV) permit holders to park overnight in temporary SCV areas at Race Point Beach parking lot and Province Lands Visitor Center parking lot.

Current oversand corridor information at Cape Cod National Seashore is available 24-hours a day on a prerecorded message line and can be accessed by calling 508-487-3698.  The seashore web page has the current status of the corridor and can be accessed at www.nps.gov/caco/ and clicking on the Off-Road Vehicle Program link off the front page.

For more information, please contact the Race Point ORV office at 508-487-2100, extension 110, or the Race Point Ranger Station at extension 100. 

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Did You Know?

Atlantic coastline at Cape Cod National Seashore

In 1959, Massachusetts Senators John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall introduced the legislation that led to the creation of Cape Cod National Seashore. Two years later, in 1961, then-President John F. Kennedy signed into law Public Law 87-126 which authorized Cape Cod National Seashore.