• 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 13, 2006

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Date: July 13, 2006
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111

Recent News: The 4-egg Piping Plover nest on south Ocracoke Island began hatching on 7-12-06. Two Plover chicks were observed on 7-13-06 and the remaining two eggs have not yet hatched. This nest was initially believed to be a 3-egg nest but recently a fourth egg was observed partially buried in the sand, presumably from a windstorm on the spit. The 3-egg Piping Plover nest at Cape Point began to hatch today, 7-13-06. As of this morning one chick has successfully hatched and two eggs are still being incubated.

Interpretive Program Schedule: Cape Hatteras National Seashore will have a park ranger near the Piping Plover nesting closures to provide informal interpretive talks to the public. Learn about the Piping Plover, a bird species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the American Oystercatcher, terns, skimmers, and the abundant bird life and their habitat. The ranger will be located south of Ramp 44, 0.5 of a mile south of Cape Point on Tuesday from 2:30pm – 4:30pm, and on Saturday from 8:00am – 11:00am; and 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 72, at the Ocracoke Spit closure, on Thursday from 2:00pm – 4:00pm.

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). 16.1 miles are open to pedestrians and 11.5 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 0.4 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. A bump-out, 0.9 of a mile south of Ramp 4 and 0.1 of a mile long, has been implemented to accommodate a Least Tern colony with approximately 200 to 300 birds and 63 nests present. A shoreline access corridor is being maintained above the high tide line, for ORV and pedestrian access. Piping Plovers and Royal and Gull Billed Terns continue to forage in the area.

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 for 1.4 miles south of Ramp 23, and for 2.2 miles north of Ramp 27. Currently there is no through access between Ramp 23 and 27. · A RESOURCE protection area, 1.4 miles south of Ramp 23 is for a nesting Least Tern colony, with approximately 25 adult-pairs present, with chicks approximately 24 days old, and several nests that are in various stages of incubation. This is a full beach closure, 0.4 of a mile long.

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 29.5 miles open to pedestrians and 17.6 miles of beach are open for ORV access. ORV use is restricted by 7.5 miles of seasonal closures and 4.4 miles of safety closures. Approximately 2.4 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 an American Oystercatcher chick approximately 31 days old and a nesting Least Tern colony. Approximately 60-pair of Least Terns were observed in various stages of nest incubations and nurturing chicks. 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 1.0 mile 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 1.0 mile south of Ramp 30 to 0.8 miles south of Ramp 30. · A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.5 miles north of Ramp 34 for a Least Tern colony. Approximately 25-pair of Least Terns and 12 nests were observed, with some nests beginning to hatch on 7-6-06. The closure has been expanded to accommodate this activity. 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. · A RESOURCE protection area, 1.2 miles south of Ramp 38, has been removed. The American Oystercatcher chick was lost and the area is reopened to the public. · A RESOURCE protection area is located 1.3 miles south of Ramp 38 for a nesting Least Tern colony. The closure is 0.2 of a mile long and 100 feet wide. Pedestrian access is open along the shoreline.

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 1.4 miles, between Ramp 44 and Cape Point via the ocean beach and the by-pass route. The Interdunal Road, Salt Pond Road and Ramp 45 are open, providing access to approximately 1.1 miles of shoreline in the South Beach area. Cape Point: · A RESOURCE protection area begins just south of Ramp 44, encompassing a colony of Colonial waterbirds. Recent observations include several Least Tern nests and Black Skimmers within the 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 for 1.4 miles, between Ramp 44 and 0.5 of a mile south of Cape Point. · A RESOURCE protection area begins approximately 0.25 of a mile south of Cape Point and a full beach closure begins 0.5 of a mile south of Cape Point, to protect Piping Plover and colonial waterbird nests and chicks. The 3-egg Piping Plover nest began hatching on 7-13-06. A few Least Tern nest have also been observed in the area. This full beach closure extends to Salt Pond Road and is approximately 0.8 of a mile long. South Beach: From Salt Pond Road to 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45, approximately 1.1 miles of shoreline is open to ORV and pedestrian use, and includes the Interdunal Road, Salt Pond Rd. and Ramp 45. · A RESOURCE protection area within the interior of South Beach, between Salt Pond Rd. and Ramp 45, is approximately 0.2 of a mile long, for a Least Tern colony. A 50 foot ORV and pedestrian access corridor is being maintained along the shoreline. · A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 45 for an active Least Tern colony including recent observations of 50-60 Least Tern adults in various stages of nest incubations and nurturing chicks, including several older chicks and some very young ones. This is a full beach closure, approximately 0.3 of a mile long. · ORV and pedestrian access is open 1.1 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 2 miles south of Ramp 49. 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 at 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 2.5 miles, to within 0.6 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 inlet and ocean shoreline for approximately 1100 feet, but the high tide extends to the dune system precluding safe vehicle access. · A RESOURCE protection area located approximately 0.5 mile south of Ramp 55 has been removed. No recent bird activity has been observed and this area is open to the public. · A RESOURCE protection area located approximately 0.6 mile south of Ramp 55 has been removed. No recent bird activity has been observed and this area is open to the public. · A RESOURCE protection area located approximately 0.8 miles south of Ramp 55 has been removed. No recent bird activity has been observed and this area is open to the public. · A RESOURCE protection area is located approximately 2.5 miles south of Ramp 55 due to Least Tern chicks in the area. The chicks are associated with a very active Least Tern colony with 60-70 adults, including 15 incubating nests and several chicks on the ground. Also Black Skimmers are incubating 3 nests in this area. The closure starts just south of the last Pole Road exit and extends south to the inlet. This is a full shoreline closure, 0.6 of a mile long. The Pole Road and Cable Crossing soundside access is open. · A RESOURCE protection area located on the soundside, at the U.S. Coast Guard station near the ferry basin, has been removed. The American Oystercatcher nest has been lost and the area is reopened for ORV and pedestrian use.

Ocracoke Island District The Ocracoke Island District has a total of 15.8 miles of ocean shoreline. Approximately 13.2 miles are open to pedestrian use and 5.4 miles are open to ORV use. ORV use is restricted by a 2.9 mile seasonal beach closure and 5.5 miles of unsafe driving conditions. 0.6 miles of full beach resource closures are located within the ORV safety and seasonal beach closures, and 2.0 miles of shoreline closure is in an ORV area south of Ramp 72.

Ramp 59 - Ramp 67: (7.6 miles of shoreline) There is no through ORV or pedestrian access between these two ramps. · An ORV SAFETY closure is 5.5 miles long, and begins 1.6 miles south of Ramp 59 to 0.5 miles north of Ramp 67. Pedestrian access is permitted except in resource closures. · A RESOURCE protection area is located 1.4 miles north of Ramp 67, for American Oystercatcher chicks that are approximately 26 days old. A full beach closure is in effect for 0.1 of a mile.

Ramp 67 - Ramp 70: (3.4 miles of shoreline) There is no through ORV or pedestrian access between these two ramps. · A SEASONAL ORV beach closure for Ocracoke Village 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 is located 0.5 of a mile south of Ramp 68, for American Oystercatcher chick, approximately 12 days old. This is a full beach closure, 0.5 of a mile long. · A RESOURCE protection area is located 1.7 miles north of Ramp 70. The closure is 150 feet by 30 feet for least tern colony. Shoreline access is open.

Ramp 70 - Ramp 72 and to South Ocracoke Spit: An ORV and pedestrian access is open from Ramp 70 south along ocean shoreline, and via the by-pass route, for approximately 4.8 miles, to the inlet. · A RESOURCE protection area is located 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 72, for a 4-egg Piping Plover nest that began to hatch on 7-12-06. This nest was initially believed to be a 3-egg nest but recently a fourth egg was observed partially buried in the sand, presumably from a windstorm on the spit. To accommodate the Piping Plover chicks, the two-lane by-pass route has been closed and the protected area has been expanded to a full beach closure. This closure restricts ORV access for 2 miles, from 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 72 to the end of the Ocracoke Spit. Vessels may go ashore at the south end of the Spit and pedestrians can access the shoreline at the southern end of the Spit, south of the closure. Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers have also been observed foraging in this closure. Common and Gull Billed Terns and Black Skimmers are also present.

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?

Lightning whelks are one of the few species of

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.