National Park Service Beach Access Report for August 17, 2006
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Recent News: Numerous Piping Plovers migrating south along the Atlantic coast have been observed foraging on the beaches. In the course of one beach survey, 93 Piping Plovers were observed on South Ocracoke Island. This is the highest number of Plover ever observed in one specific location in the park. Colonial Waterbirds such as the Least Tern, Royal and Gull-billed Tern, and Black Skimmer are abundantly present on the Seashore.
The total number of turtle nests within the Seashore is now at 78 and a few nests have begun to hatch.
Any turtle nest that involves a full beach ORV closure will be listed, along with the resource protection closures for birds, within this beach access report.
Interpretive Program Schedule: Cape Hatteras National Seashore will have a park ranger at a turtle nest closure to provide informal interpretive talks to the public. Learn how the female sea turtles come onto the Outer Banks to lay their eggs in the sand and hear of the various species of sea turtles, all protected under the Endangered Species Act. The ranger will be located at a turtle nest closure that is due to hatch this week, 0.15 of a mile north of Ramp 43, on Saturday, August 19, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and on Thursday, August 24, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Bodie Island District (Coquina Beach to Ramp 27)
There are approximately 16.5 miles of ocean shoreline in the Bodie Island District (excluding Pea Island).16.3 miles are open to pedestrians and 11.7 miles are open for ORV access. ORV use is restricted by 4.6 miles of seasonal closures in front of the Tri-villages and a life-guarded swim beach. Approximately 0.2 of a mile is closed as a full-beach resource closure and there are no ORV Safety closures in effect.
Ramp 1 - 0.6 miles South of Ramp 2 (Coquina Beach Area)
A SEASONAL ORV beach closure is 1.6 miles long and includes a life-guarded swim beach, 150 feet wide. Pedestrian access is open.
0.6 miles South of Ramp 2 - Ramp 4 and to Bodie Island Spit
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline to the inlet sound side near Herbert Bonner (Oregon Inlet) Bridge. Some areas may experience access limitations during extreme high tides or winds.
· A RESOURCE protection area is located within the interior of Bodie Island Spit. Approximately 0.9 of a mile south of Ramp 4, and 0.2 of a mile long, a two-lane, pass through corridor above the high tide line was established to accommodate a gathering of approximately 200 birds. Recent observations include 60 Least Terns with 3 chicks, 12 migrating Piping Plovers, 50 Royal Terns, 40 Sandwich Terns and 24 Black Skimmers, foraging and roosting in the area. No stopping or parking is permitted within the pass through. An access corridor is being maintained above the high tide line, for ORV and pedestrian access, to the southwest side of the inlet.
Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo: (north of Ramp 23 for 3 miles)
A SEASONAL ORV beach closure is 3 miles long; open to pedestrian access.
Ramp 23 - Ramp 27:
Beach access is open for ORV and pedestrian use between Ramp 23 and 27.
Hatteras Island District (Ramp 27 South to Hatteras Inlet)
The Hatteras District has a total distance of 31.9 miles of ocean shoreline. There are 30.5 miles open to pedestrians and 18.4 miles of beach are open for ORV access. ORV use is restricted by 7.5 miles of seasonal closures and 4.6 miles of safety closures. Approximately 1.4 miles are closed due to full beach resource protection closures.
Ramp 27 - Ramp 30: (2.2 miles of shoreline)
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access south of Ramp 27 for 0.3 miles and from Ramp 30 north for 1.4 miles. Currently there is no through access between Ramp 27 and Ramp 30.
· A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.3 miles south of Ramp 27 for a very active Least Tern colony. Recent observations include approximately 60 pair of Least Terns with 2 chicks. Some Royal Terns were observed foraging in the area. This is a full beach closure area, 0.5 of a mile long.
Ramp 30 - Ramp 34:
The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for 2.8 miles south of Ramp 30 and for 0.5 of a mile north of Ramp 34. Currently there is no through access between Ramp 30 and Ramp 34.
· An ORV SAFETY closure is 0.2 miles long beginning 2.8 miles south of Ramp 30 to 3.0 miles south of Ramp 30.
· A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.5 miles north of Ramp 34 for a Least Tern colony. This is a full beach closure, 0.2 of a mile long.
Ramp 34 - Ramp 38:
A SEASONAL ORV closure in front of Avon Village beachfront is a 3.5 miles long. The beach is open to pedestrian access. ORV access is open for 0.5 miles south of Ramp 34.
Ramp 38 - Ramp 43:
The beach is open to ORV access for 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 38.Currently there is no through ORV access between Ramp 38 and Ramp 43.Pedestrian access is open, except within the resource closure noted below:
· An ORV SAFETY closure is 4.2 miles long, beginning 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 38 to Ramp 43, due to very narrow beaches and hurricane impacted areas.
Ramp 43 - Ramp 44:
· The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline to Cape Point.
Ramp 44 - Ramp 49:
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access for 3.1 miles, between Ramp 44 and south of Cape Point to 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45, via the ocean shoreline. The Interdunal Road, Salt Pond Road and Ramp 45 are open.
· A RESOURCE protection area begins just south of Ramp 44, encompassing a colony of Colonial waterbirds. Recent observations include 200 Royal Terns, 40 Least Terns, Common Terns and Sandwich Terns throughout the area closure.Numerous birds are foraging, roosting and defending territory. Visitors in the area are asked to reduce their vehicle speed to 10 mph and keep all dogs on a leash of six feet or less. Shoreline access is open around this closure, to Cape Point and to 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45.
· A RESOURCE protection area within the interior of Cape Point begins approximately 0.5 of a mile south of the Point for an active colonial waterbird colony. A section of shoreline 0.1 of a mile long has been kept closed for foraging habitat around an ephemeral pool. ORV and pedestrian access is open around the north side of the ephemeral pool.
The Interdunal Road, Salt Pond Rd. and Ramp 45 are open to access Cape Point and to 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45.
· A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45 for a very active Tern colony. Recent observations include 50 Royal Terns and 250 Least Terns, some with very young fledglings and 1 chick. This is a full beach closure, approximately 0.4 of a mile long.
· ORV and pedestrian access is open from 1.2 miles south of Ramp 45 through to Ramp 49 for approximately 1.9 miles. Note: this area is currently accessible from Ramp 49 but not from Ramp 45.
Ramp 49 - Ramp 55:
The beach is open to ORV access for 1.1 miles south of Ramp 49 to the boundary of the Frisco andHatteras Village closure. Pedestrian access is open to Ramp 55. Currently there is no through ORV access between Ramp 49 and Ramp 55.
· A SEASONAL ORV beach closure for Frisco Village and Hatteras Village is 4.0 miles long.
Ramp 55 - Hatteras Inlet:
A Pedestrian and ORV access is open along portions of the ocean shoreline, the Pole Road, and the Cable Crossing. Ocean shoreline ORV and pedestrian access is open from Ramp 55 south for 2.7miles, to within 0.4 mile of the inlet. A resource protection closure at that point restricts all access along ocean shoreline to the south. Soundside ORV and pedestrian access is open from Cable Crossing to the "Rip" area at the spit. Pedestrian access is open from the Rip, north along the inlet and ocean shoreline for approximately 1100 feet, but the high tide extends to the dune system precluding safe vehicle access (0.2 of a mile Safety Closure).
· A RESOURCE protection area is located approximately 2.7 miles south of Ramp 55 for a Least Tern and Black Skimmer colony. During a recent observation the Skimmer nests have begun hatching. The closure starts 0.2 of a mile south of the last Pole Road exit and extends south to the inlet. This is a full shoreline closure, 0.2 of a mile long and a safety closure 0.2 of a mile long. NPS will continue to monitor bird activity and reevaluate access possibilities at this site. The Pole Road and Cable Crossing soundside access is open.
· An ORV SAFETY closure is 0.2 of a mile long, from the Rip at the soundside, north along the inlet and ocean shoreline (approximately 1100 feet), due to the high tide extending to the dune line precluding safe vehicle access (Pedestrian access is open).
Ocracoke Island District
The Ocracoke Island District has a total of 16.3 miles of ocean shoreline. 16.1miles are open to pedestrian use and approximately 8.0 milesare open to ORV use. ORV use is restricted by a 2.9 mile seasonal beach closure and 5.2 miles of unsafe driving conditions. Approximately 0.2 miles are closed due to full beach resource protection closures for turtle nests.
Ramp 59 - Ramp 67: (7.6 miles of shoreline)
There is no through ORV or pedestrian shoreline access between these two ramps.
· ORV and pedestrian access is open for 0.5 of a mile north of Ramp 59 to the north Ocracoke Spit.
· A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.5 of a mile south of Ramp 59 for a sea turtle nest expected to hatch soon.This is a full beach closure 0.1 of a mile long.
· An ORV SAFETY closure is 5.2 miles long, and begins 1.0 miles south of Ramp 59 to 1.4 miles north of Ramp 67. Pedestrian access is open.
Ramp 67 - Ramp 70: (3.4 miles of shoreline)
There is no through ORV access between these two ramps. Pedestrian access is open.
· A SEASONAL ORV beach closure for Ocracoke Island is 2.9 miles long. The closure is 0.25 miles
south of Ramp 67 to 0.25 miles north of Ramp 70. Pedestrian access is open.
· A RESOURCE protection area 1.7 miles north of Ramp 70 has been removed and this area has been reopened to the public. The closure was 150 feet by 30 feet for least tern colony.
Ramp 70 - Ramp 72 and to South Ocracoke Spit:
An ORV and pedestrian access is open from Ramp 72 south along ocean shoreline, for approximately 4.8 miles, to the inlet. A full beach turtle closure is located just north of Ramp 72 precluding through access between Ramp 70 and Ramp 72.
· A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.2 of a mile north of Ramp 72 for a sea turtle nest expected to hatch soon. This is a full beach closure 0.1 of a mile long.
· A RESOURCE protection area located 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 72 has been reducedto an interior closure for colonial waterbirds and migrating Piping Plovers. Approximately 93 migrating Plovers were recently observed.
Temporary resource protection areas are necessary to protect threatened and endangered species and species of concern including Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Colonial Waterbirds (Terns and Skimmers), and sea turtles. Posted areas are closed to vehicles, pedestrians and pets.
Did You Know?
In the 1700s, Ocracoke Inlet was one of the busiest inlets in the East. It was one of the few navigable waterways for ships accessing inland ports such as Elizabeth City, Edenton or New Bern. It was here that Blackbeard the pirate found the inlet's heavy shipping traffic ripe for easy pickings.