ACCESS UPDATE FOR SOUTH POINT OCRACOKE
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
South Point on Ocracoke Island remains closed today and tonight as National Park Service (NPS) personnel continue to survey during daylight hours for a piping plover chick that was last seen on Saturday, July 22, 2006. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the NPS plans to reopen the area for daylight access at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26. The area would remain open until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
South Point on Ocracoke Island was closed to all access 0.8 mile south of Ramp 72 on July 12, 2006 when a brood of three piping plover chicks hatched at a nest on the ocean shoreline. The chicks subsequently moved to a foraging area on the sound shoreline, two of the chicks were lost, and as of July 21 the one surviving chick remained in the same general area on the soundside. The NPS reopened South Point to daylight access on July 21 and 22 but heavy rains swept through the area on Sunday, July 23. NPS biological technicians were unable to find the chick after the rainstorms had passed, and the area remained closed July 23 and 24 while surveying efforts continued.
“South Point is a large area to search. The more we look and do not find the chick, the more likely it is that the chick has not survived,” said Superintendent Mike Murray. “This situation is day-to-day and will likely be resolved soon. We will continue our monitoring efforts and each day will re-evaluate the need for continuing any access restrictions. We are trying to err on the side of caution and regret the inconvenience the closure has caused to park visitors.”
Piping plovers are protected under the Endangered Species Act and are federally listed as a Threatened species.
Did You Know?
Lightning whelks eat about one large clam per month. The whelk pries the clam open with its muscular foot, wedges the clam open with its shell, then eats the soft inside of the clam. Lightning whelk shells, which whorl to the left, wash up on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.