• Spring-time view of the seashore, with shorebirds returning to the surf.

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

National Park Service Beach Access Report for July 22, 2010

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Date: July 22, 2010
Contact: Outer Banks Group, 252-473-2111 x148

Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches are being managed under the terms of the U.S. District Court approved consent decree. Park visitors can expect to see resource closures for breeding shorebirds in effect to varying degrees from mid-March to mid- to late-August and sea turtle nesting closures may occur until early November. Shorebird pre-nesting closures were established at the inlets, Cape Point, and South Beach in March. As soon as subsequent breeding activity is observed, the consent decree requires that automatic, non-discretionary buffers be implemented.   

As of July 22, 2010, of the constantly changing, fluctuating estimated 68 miles of ocean shoreline within Cape Hatteras National Seashore, approximately 27.9 miles of ocean shoreline is open to ORV and pedestrian access; approximately 26.6 miles of ocean shoreline is open to pedestrian only access; approximately 2.0 miles of ocean shoreline is considered “limited access” (areas that are open but may require hiking off-trail to access); and approximately 11.7 miles of ocean shoreline are temporarily closed to all public access due to shorebird resource protection areas.  The latest Google Earth beach access map can be viewed at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm. For more information, check the National Seashore’s website at: http://www.nps.gov.

As of May 1, 2010, all Seashore beaches are closed to off-road vehicles between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in accordance with the court ordered consent decree. The 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. prohibition on beach driving will remain in effect until November 15, 2010.

The annual seasonal closures of village beaches to off-road vehicle (ORV) use within the National Seashore went into effect at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Beach driving speed limits are reduced to 15 mph in all locations open to ORV use, unless otherwise posted, from May 15 through September 15. The ORV closures are established in village beach areas that receive heavy pedestrian use, including areas adjacent to Coquina Beach and the villages of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

The Beach Access Report is issued every Thursday throughout the breeding seasonand will briefly summarize the current status of access in each section of the Seashore listed below.  Updated news will be reported weekly in bold, BLUE print. 

Note:  *All distances are approximate. The mileage is determined on a weekly basis using GIS data and is divided geographically by island this year. Closure conditions may change in the field on short notice. On-site signage, rather than the Beach Access Report or the Google Earth map, is the most accurate and current indication of what is open or closed to the public. Closed areas are clearly marked in the field with “symbolic fencing” consisting of wooden or carsonite posts, closure signs, string, and flagging tape. Knowledge of tidal changes and caution should be exercised while traveling the beaches of the park. Pets are strictly prohibited in resource protection areas. Elsewhere, pets must be physically restrained at all time on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length.  For more information, please contact: Cyndy Holda or call 252-473-2111, ext. 148.

Bodie Island   (Ramp 1 to Oregon Inlet; 5.7miles of shoreline)

Mileage Summary: 3.1 miles open to ORVs and pedestrians; 1.3 miles open to pedestrians only; 0.9of a mile of limited access; 0.4 of a mile closed to public access due to resource closures.

Ramp 1 - Ramp 2 (Coquina Beach Area)  (1.2 miles)Status: The beach is open for pedestrian access, but not for ORV access.

Ramp 2 - Ramp 4   (2.4 miles)

Status: Ramp 2 is open for pedestrian access, but not for ORV access. From Ramp 4 north, the beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for approximately 2.4 miles.

Ramp 4– Oregon Inlet   (Bodie Island Spit: 2.1 miles)Status: The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 4, where a resource protection area precludes through access to the inlet The removal of a closure on the southern end of the Spit reopens 0.3 of a mile of inlet shoreline to “limited access” for pedestrians. The area is located east of, and close to, the Bonner Bridge and is accessible by boat.

Hatteras Island (Village of Rodanthe south to Hatteras Inlet; 42.8miles of shoreline)

Mileage Summary:  18.5 miles open to ORVs and pedestrians; 17.7 miles open to pedestrians only; 1.1 miles of limited access miles; 5.5 miles closed to public access due to resource closures.

Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo - Ramp 23: (Pea Island NWR boundary to Ramp 23 – 5.3 miles)Status:  The beach is open for pedestrian access, but not for ORV access in front of the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo.  There is pedestrian access for 5.3 miles.

Ramp 23 - Ramp 27: (4.3 miles)

Status: Ramp 23 is closed to ORV and pedestrian access. A resource closure extends from the Salvo Village boundary south of Ramp 23 and precludes ORV and pedestrian access.  There is approximately 2.6 miles of ocean shoreline open for ORV and pedestrian access north of Ramp 27. 

Ramp 27 - Ramp 30: (2.0 miles)

Status: The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access at Ramp 27.  There is a resource protection 0.01 of a mile south of Ramp 27 that precludes through access for ORVs and pedestrians. The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for approximately 0.9 of a mile north of Ramp 30.

Ramp 30 - Ramp 34: (4.3 miles)

Status: The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access between Ramp 30 and 34.    

Ramp 34 - Ramp 38: (3.9 miles)

Status: The beach is open for ORV access for approximately 0.4 of a mile south of Ramp 34. The beach in front of Avon Village is open for pedestrian access, but not for ORV access. There is pedestrian access for 3.9 miles.

Ramp 38 - Ramp 43: (6.0 miles; includes the Haulover soundside & Buxton Village)

Status: The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access for 1.0 of a mile south of Ramp 38, where a resource protection closure precludes through access.  Pedestrian access is open for approx. 1.6 mile north of the Buxton Village boundary. From Ramp 43 north, the beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access for 0.4 of a mile.

Ramp 43 - Ramp 44:   (0.4 of a mile)

Status: The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access. 

Ramp 44 - Ramp 45: (Ramp 44 to tip of Cape Point: 1.0 miles; Cape Point tip to Ramp 45: 1.4 miles)

Status Ramp 44 is open and the east side of Cape Point is open to ORV and pedestrian access south for approximately 1.0 mile and 0.1 of a mile west of oceanside “hook.”   Salt Pond Road is closed. 

Ramp 45 - Ramp 49: (South Beach: 3.4 miles)

Status: Ramp 45 is closed to ORV and pedestrian access. There is ORV and pedestrian access east of Ramp 49 for 2.0 miles. 

Ramp 49 - Ramp 55: (5.9 miles; includes Frisco and Hatteras Village)

Status: The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian use north of Ramp 49 and south of Ramp 49 for 1.2 miles to the Frisco Village line. There is pedestrian, but not ORV, access from the Frisco village line to 0.1 of a mile east of Ramp 55.  In Sandy Bay Day Use area, a resource protection closure was removed opening 0.5 of a mile soundside pedestrian access adjacent to NC 12.

Ramp 55 - Hatteras Inlet:  (Hatteras Inlet Spit: 2.6 miles)Status: ORV and pedestrian access is open along the ocean shoreline from Ramp 55 south/west to Hatteras Inlet and the “Rip.” The Pole Road is open to ORV and pedestrians from Ramp 55 south to the Spur Road. Cable Crossing area is open (with limited parking). The Spur Road is open.  The pre-nesting areas at the overwash fans and the inlet have been removed. 

Ocracoke Island   (19.9miles of shoreline)Mileage Summary: 6.3 miles open to ORVs and pedestrians; 7.6 miles open to pedestrians only; 0.0 limited access miles; 6.0 miles closed to public access due to resource closures.

Hatteras Inlet (North Ocracoke Spit) to Ramp 59: (1.3 miles)

Status: Ramp 59 is open to ORV and pedestrian access. A resource protection closure, located 0.2 of a mile north of Ramp 59 precludes access for ORV and pedestrians to the north end and the inlet. 

Ramp 59 - Ramp 67: (7.8 miles)

Status: Ramp 59 is open to ORV access for approximately 1.0 mile south of Ramp 59.  There is pedestrian access south of Ramp 59 for 2.5 miles and for approximately 1.6 of a mile north of Ramp 67.  There is no through ORV access between these two ramps.  

Ramp 67 - Ramp 70 (includes Ramp 68):   (3.8 miles; includes Ramp 68)

Status: The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for 0.6 of a mile south of Ramp 67.  The beach in front of the Ocracoke Campground and the Ocracoke Day Use area is open for pedestrian access, but not for ORV access.

Ramp 70 - Ramp 72:  (1.8 miles)

Status: The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access.

Ramp 72 to South Point: (2.6 miles)

Status: The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access on the ocean shoreline for approximately 0.7 of a mile south of Ramp 72. A resource protection closure precludes through access for ORV and pedestrians to the inlet.  The former “limited access” section of inlet shoreline on the tip of South Point is now closed to all public entry for American oystercatcher breeding activity.

Temporary resource protection areas are necessary to protect threatened and endangered species and species of concern including piping plovers, American oystercatchers, colonial waterbirds (3 species of terns and black skimmers), and sea turtles.  Posted areas are closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and pets.

Did You Know?

Seasparkle, a tiny dinoflagellate that can be seen glowing in the surfline at night.

The beaches along Cape Hatteras National Seashore sparkle at night. When you kick the sand, you disturb tiny dinoflagellates like seasparkle, magnified in the picture to the left. A chemical reaction causes them to glow with a blue-green light.