National Park Service Beach Access Report for May 24, 2007
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
The annual seasonal closures of village beaches to ORV use were established on May 15, 2007.
During May, the Outer Banks experienced several Nor’easters with strong wind and surf conditions. Beaches and inlets experienced varying degrees of erosion and notable high tides. Travel in many areas may still be limited during high wind/tide conditions and during periods of rough ocean conditions. Knowledge of tidal flows and extreme caution should be exercised while traveling in these areas.
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).16.5 miles are open to pedestrians and 14.9 miles are open for ORV access.
Ramp 1 - Ramp 2 (Coquina Beach Area)
A SEASONAL beach closure is 1.6 miles long and went into effect May 15. The beach from the south boundary of the Town of Nags Head to Coquina Beach is closed to ORV access but remains open for pedestrian access.
Ramp 2 - Ramp 4 to Bodie Island Spit
The beach is open for 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 (pre-nesting area) was established at Bodie Island Spit on March 26, 2007. It includes interior areas of the spit and the shoreline of the "pond." Access to pond from the northeast side is closed as part of the RESOURCE protection area. An ocean/inlet shoreline access corridor is currently being maintained above the high tide line for ORV and pedestrian access to the southwest side of the inlet near Bonner Bridge. There is an American Oystercatcher nest on Green Island. At least two piping plovers were observed foraging and one bird seen scraping in the pre-nesting closure this week.
Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo: (north of Ramp 23 for 3 miles to Pea Island NWR boundary)
Annual SEASONAL village beach closure went into effect on May 15. The beach areas in front of the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo are closed to ORV access but remain open to pedestrian access. This section of beach is approximately 3.0 miles long.
Ramp 23 - Ramp 27:
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access between Ramp 23 and 27.
A RESOURCE protection area was established in mid April and is located 1.2 mile north of Ramp 27 for nesting American Oystercatchers and is approximately 0.2 mile long. The nest was lost during the May 7 Nor’easter but the protection area remains in effect until monitoring determines if the birds re-nest in this area. On May 23, the shoreline access below this closure reopened.
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 approximately 30.1 miles open to pedestrians and approximately 18.8 miles of beach are open for ORV access. ORV use is restricted by 11.1 miles of SEASONAL and SAFETY closures. Approximately 2 miles are closed due to full beach RESOURCE protection closures.
Ramp 27 - Ramp 30 (2.2 miles):
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for 0.1 mile south of Ramp 27 and 0.8 mile north of Ramp 30. There is currently no through ORV or pedestrian access between Ramp 27 and Ramp 30.
A RESOURCE protection area was established on April 18, 2007 for a pair of nesting American Oystercatchers on a narrow beach approximately 1 mile north of Ramp 30. During the May 7 Nor’easter, all three of the nests were lost to high surf and wind. One pair of American Oystercatchers have re-nested and the other pairs are exhibiting signs of re-nesting. Due to the narrow width of the beach, this is a full beach closure with no ORV or pedestrian access through the closure. In addition, there is a least tern colony with eggs.
Ramp 30 - Ramp 34 (4.3 miles):
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access. Traveling south from Ramp 30, an area closure (extends for .1 of a mile) for American Oystercatcher nest is located 3.5 miles south of Ramp 30 with open beach access past the closure for ORV and pedestrians.
A RESOURCE protection area of 0.1 of a mile for a pair of nesting American Oystercatchers was established with open beach access for ORV and pedestrians. During the May 7 storm, this nest was lost. Further monitoring will determine if the birds re-nest in this area.
Ramp 34 - Ramp 38 (4.0 miles):
Currently, there is no through access for ORVs from Ramp 34 to Ramp 38. Pedestrian access is open.
Annual SEASONAL village beach closure went into effect on May 15. The beach area in front of the village of Avon is closed to ORV access but remains open for pedestrian access.
Ramp 38 - Ramp 43 (6.0 miles):
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access for 1.3 miles south of Ramp 38. Currently there is no through access for ORVs between Ramp 38 and Ramp 43.Pedestrian access is open.
A RESOURCE protection area, approximately 0.2 of a mile long, begins 1.3 mile south of Ramp 38 (across from Canadian Hole) for American Oystercatcher nests. There is currently a 30-ft. ORV and pedestrian access corridor above the high tide line.
A SEASONAL closure is 2.8 miles long, beginning 1.6 of a mile south of Ramp 38 to 0.1 of a mile north of Ramp 43, went into effect on May 16. This section is closed to ORV access but remains open to pedestrian access. Within the SEASONAL: closure, there is a RESOURCE protection area for American Oystercatcher nests and there is no pedestrian access in this protection area.
Ramp 43 - Ramp 44 (0.3 of a mile):
The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline to Cape Point.
Ramp 44 - Ramp 49 (3.6 miles: includes Ramp 45):
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 44 south to Cape Point and from the Cape Point end of the closure south/west for approximately0.1 mile, where there is full beach closure due to a Resource protection area. The full beach closure extends to Ramp 45. The Interdunal Road between Ramps 44 and 45 is open, with ORV and pedestrian access open between Ramps 45 and 49. Salt Pond Road is closed due to a Resource protection area.
ORV and pedestrian access is open to Cape Point from Ramps 43 and 44, and south/west from the Cape Point end of the closure along the shoreline for approximately 0.1 mile to where a RESOURCE protection area begins.
A RESOURCE protection area (pre-nesting area) was established March 27, 2007. It included interior areas of Cape Point and a complete shoreline closure that started approximately 0.4 miles south/west of Cape Point and ended approximately 0.1 east of Salt Pond Road. On April 4 the RESOURCE protection area was modified and expanded south/west to Ramp 45 due to piping plover foraging behavior outside the protected area. On April 16 the RESOURCE protection area was modified based on shoreline changes due to the recent storm. The total closure distance is 1.2 miles. As many as eight piping plovers are foraging within the closure with at least 3 pairs demonstrating breeding behavior and scraping.On May 22, the first piping plover nest, thought to be lost after the Nor’easter, was relocated with a full clutch of four eggs in the nests. A second piping plover nest, with 2 eggs, was found in the closure this week. In addition, there are two American Oystercatcher nests within the closure on the beach east of Ramp 45.
The Interdunal Road is open to ORV and pedestrian access between Ramps 44 and 45. Salt Pond Road is closed due to a RESOURCE protection area (described above). Access is open between Ramps 45 and 49.
A RESOURCE protection area (pre-nesting area), 1.1 mile in length, along the upper beach, was established in March from Ramp 45 to the west. On May 15, this protection area was extended 0.3 mile (to the west) to include piping plover scraping activity and a least tern colony. The total closure distance is 1.4 miles along the upper beach with ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline.
On May 22, approximately ½ mile northeast of Ramp 49, a shoreline closure 0.6 mile in length, was established for multiple observations of foraging piping plover. An access corridor is open to ORV and pedestrians on the upper beach.
Ramp 49 - Ramp 55 (5.9 miles: includes Sandy Bay soundside parking area):
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian 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. There is no through ORV access between Ramp 49 and Ramp 55.
A SEASONAL closure for Frisco Village and Hatteras Village is 4.0 miles long and went into effect on May 15. The beach area in front of the villages of Frisco and Hatteras is closed to ORV access but remains open to pedestrian access.
A RESOURCE protection area for nesting American Oystercatchers was established on the sound shoreline south of the Sandy Bay parking area between Frisco and Hatteras Village. On May 23, the nest was lost to predation. This soundside area remains closed to ORV and pedestrian access to provide an opportunity for re-nesting.
Ramp 55 - Hatteras Inlet (2.7 miles):
ORV and pedestrian access is open along the ocean shoreline from Ramp 55 south to 0.35 miles north of the Hatteras Inlet and "the Rip" area. The Pole Road (excluding the overwash RESOURCE area closure), Cable Crossing and Spur Road are all open. The ocean shoreline RESOURCE protection area, adjacent to the overwash, was removed on May 9, 2007.
A RESOURCE protection area (pre-nesting area) was established at the Isabel overwash area from the sound shoreline to the ocean dune on March 28. Ocean shoreline access remains open past this area. A single male piping plover has been observed in the overwash area this week.
A RESOURCE protection area (pre-nesting area) was established March 28 south of the southern exit of Pole Road. The area includes upper beach and interior areas south of Pole Road and a full ocean beach closure beginning approximately 0.3 miles south of the southern exit of Pole Road. The full beach closure is approximately 0.35 miles long and continues south/west to the inlet in the vicinity of the "Rip." A single male piping plover has been observed at the Inlet this week. An American Oystercatcher nest, that survived the May 7 storm, has produced chicks. A second pair, whose nest was lost in the May 7 storm, is attempting to re-nest. In addition, a least tern colony has been established within the closure.
Ocracoke Island District
The Ocracoke Island District has a total of 16.5 miles of ocean shoreline. There are 16.2miles open to pedestrians and approximately 9.0 milesare open to ORV access. ORV use is restricted by approximately 5.4 miles of SAFETY closure and approximately 0.5 mile is restricted by a RESOURCE protection area.
Ramp 59 - Ramp 67 (7.8 miles):
ORV and pedestrian access is open for 0.4 mile north of Ramp 59 and open 1.0 mile south of Ramp 59. There is no through ORV access from Ramp 59 to Ramp 67.Pedestrian access is open.
A SAFETY closure is 5.4 miles long, and begins 1.0 miles south of Ramp 59 to 1.2 miles north of Ramp 67. This section is open to pedestrian access but not to ORV access. Within this SAFETY closure a RESOURCE protection area has been established for an American Oystercatcher nest. There is pedestrian access along the ocean corridor shoreline.
A RESOURCE protection area was established on April 8 at the north end of Ocracoke Island on the north/western end of the island and shoreline. The closure starts 0.4 miles northeast of Ramp 59 and extends 0.2 of a mile towards the Hatteras Inlet and west along the inlet side. The closure is parallel to the ocean allowing beach access for approximately 0.6 of a mile. At least three to four piping plover were observed again this week in this area. Some displays of territorial behavior and foraging were noted this week.
On April 18, 2007, NPS staff discovered the first Leatherback turtle crawl and nest of the season on Ocracoke Island south of Ramp 59. A RESOURCE closure has been established and marked by an approximate 30’ X 30’ enclosure. There is oceanside access for ORV and pedestrian around the nest.
A RESOURCE protection area was established on May 10 immediately of south Ramp 59 and is 0.3 mile long along the ocean shoreline. This is a full beach closure for piping plover foraging. From Ramp 59 north, an ORV and pedestrian corridor is open for 0.4 mile north, where the resource protection pre-nesting closure is still in effect. Observations of piping plovers foraging and displays of breeding behavior have been recorded in this area.
A RESOURCE protection area was established on May 9 approximately 1 mile north of Ramp 67 for two pair of American Oystercatchers; one nest exists at the time of this report. An access corridor is open to ORV and pedestrians on the upper beach.
Ramp 67 - Ramp 70 (3.8 miles; includes Ramp 68) :
The beach is open to pedestrian access for 1.0 mile south of Ramp 68 where a RESOURCE closure, approximately 0.5 mile long, begins. The beach is open for pedestrian access for 1 mile north of Ramp 70. There currently there is no through access for ORVs between Ramps 67 and 70.
A RESOURCE protection area was established for an American Oystercatcher nest between Ramp 68 and 70, which was subsequently lost. A new American Oystercatcher nest has been located in this area.
The SEASONAL closure in front of the lifeguarded beach/campground extends from .05 mile south of Ramp 67 to 0.25 miles north of Ramp 70 was implemented on May 15, 2007. This section of beach is approximately 3.3 miles in length and closes Ramp 68. This section of beach is closed to ORV access but remains open for pedestrian access.
Ramp 70 - Ramp 72 (1.8 miles) and Ramp 72 to South Ocracoke Spit (4.6 miles):
The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 70 south along ocean shoreline, for approximately 4.8 miles, to the inlet. Due to high tides and erosion from numerous northeast winds, access to South Point of Ocracoke may not be accessible at high tide.
A RESOURCE protection area (pre-nesting area) was established March 29 that encompasses interior and soundside areas of the spit. Ocean shoreline access is open to South Point. On April 11, the resource protection area was extended approximately 500 feet from on the southwestern edge towards the sound and encompasses an American Oystercatcher nest. Access remains open to South Point. As many asfive to six piping plovers have been observed foraging in this area with some observed breeding behavior and scrapes. There is also one American oystercatcher nest within the closure.
A RESOURCE protection area was established for foraging piping plover along the ocean shoreline beginning approximately 0.8 mile south of Ramp 72. An access corridor is open to ORV and pedestrians on the upper beach and access is open to South Point.
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?
The U.S.S. Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras during a storm in December 1862. The wreck's location was a mystery until 1973 when a research vessel found the ship 16 miles off the cape in 230 feet of water. In 1975, the Monitor was named the nation’s first National Marine Sanctuary.