National Park Service Beach Access Report for July 6, 2006
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Recent News: The three Piping Plover chicks at Cape Point have fledged. They were 35 days old when they were all observed in successful flight for prolonged distances. The 3-egg Piping Plover nest at Cape Point and a 3-egg Piping Plover nest on south Ocracoke Island are still in their incubation stage.
Interpretive Program Schedule: Cape Hatteras National Seashore will have a park ranger at the Cape Point beach closure 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 at the south end of the Cape Point closure: Saturday morning from 8:00am to 11:00am and Thursday afternoon from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
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, 1.6 miles long, is for a life-guarded swim beach. 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, 0.1 of a mile long and 0.9 of a mile south of Ramp 4, has been implemented to accommodate a Least Tern colony with approximately 200 birds and 50 nests present. A shoreline access corridor is being maintained, 150 feet above the high tide line, for ORV and pedestrian access. Also a pair of American Oystercatcher adults have been observed making nest scrapes and Piping Plovers continue to forage in the area. Approximately 15-20 Black Skimmers have been observed, a sizable increase in numbers from recent years. Royal and Gull Billed Terns also 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 40 adult-pairs present, with chicks approximately 17 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 29.6 miles open to pedestrians and 17.7 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 2.3 miles are closed 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, 0.3 miles south of Ramp 27, is for two American Oystercatcher chicks. One chick was lost, perhaps during the recent rain storm, and the second chick is 24 days old. A nesting Least Tern colony, with approximately 60 adult-pairs was 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, except for the ORV safety closure below: · 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 for a Least Tern colony is 0.5 miles north of Ramp 34. Due to recent observations of nests and scrapes outside the existing closure, this area has been extended for 50 feet to the east. A pedestrian and ORV beach access is being maintained for 90 feet above the high tide line.
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. No through ORV access between ramps. 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, is for an American Oystercatcher chick, approximately 28 days old, 400 feet by 100 feet and includes roadside, dune and upper beach. Shoreline is open to pedestrian use. Due to the Oystercatcher chick moving north, this closure was expanded 0.1 mile north and reduced by 0.1 mile on the south end of closure.
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 15 Least Tern nests, and 14 Black Skimmers and 2 American Oystercatchers displaying breeding, scraping and nesting behavior. Numerous birds are foraging, roosting, mating, 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 three Piping Plover chicks have fledged. They were 35 days old when they were all observed in successful flight for prolonged distances. Nest #3 is a 3-egg nest currently being incubated (nest #2 was lost). 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, has been expanded for approximately 0.2 of a mile, and a 50 foot 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 25-30 Least Tern adults in various stages of nest incubations and nurturing chicks, including 10 older chicks and 2 very young ones. 2 American Oystercatcher chicks have fledged from the area. 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. No through ORV access to next ramp. Pedestrian access is open to 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 the 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 is located approximately 0.5 mile south of Ramp 55. Closure is limited to upper beach and inter-dunal area for American Oystercatcher re-nesting attempt. Shoreline access around the closure is open. · A RESOURCE protection area is located approximately 0.6 mile south of Ramp 55. Recent American Oystercatcher scrapings have been observed as well as Piping Plover breeding activity; a pedestrian and ORV shoreline access around the closure is open. · A RESOURCE protection area is located approximately 0.8 miles south of Ramp 55 for American Oystercatcher re-nesting behavior. Shoreline access around closure and the by-pass route to Pole Road is open. · A RESOURCE protection area is located approximately 2.5 miles south of Ramp 55. One American Oystercatcher chick was lost but 6 Oystercatcher adults have been observed displaying re-nesting behavior, and Piping Plovers have been seen foraging on the ocean side. Recent observations include a very active Least Tern colony with 70-80 adults, including 20 incubating nests and 3 chicks. Also 14 Black Skimmers were seen. 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 is located on the soundside, at the U.S. Coast Guard station near the ferry basin, for an American Oystercatcher nest. A full-beach closure. 0.1 of a mile long, begins north of the access road, between the shoreline and the chain link fence. ORV and pedestrian access remain open along the access road and along the shoreline to the south.
Ocracoke Island District The Ocracoke Island has a total of 15.8 miles of ocean shoreline. Approximately 14.9 miles are open to pedestrian use and 7.1 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 0.3 of a mile 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 19 days old. A full beach closure is in effect for 0.1 of a mile. · A RESOURCE protection area located 0.7 miles north of Ramp 67, for 2 American Oystercatcher chicks, has been removed. The chicks have fledged and this area has been reopened to the public. This reopens a section of beach 0.4 of a mile long.
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 a newly hatched (7/1/06) American Oystercatcher chick. 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 begins 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 72 for a 3-egg Piping Plover nest, currently in its incubation stage. The existing closure was initially extended to within 50 feet of the high tide line, for approximately 0.3 of a mile and 15 mph speed limit signs are posted in the area. On 7/3/06 the shoreline corridor was closed but a traffic lane by-pass, 2 lanes wide, was created through the closure interior, to allow ORV and pedestrians access around the southern end of Ocracoke Spit. Visitors are asked to reduce their vehicle speed and keep all dogs on a leash of six feet or less. Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers have also been observed foraging in this closure. Common and Gull Billed Terns and Black Skimmers are present and very active.
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.