• 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 May 29 2008

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Date: May 29, 2008
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111 ext: 148

*Bold, blue print = updated news.

**Report resource protection area violations to:

      Dare CentralCommunicationsCenter:  252-473-3444

      Hyde CountyDispatch:  252-928-3171

      Ocracoke Sheriff Dept:  252-928-7301

 

The mileages, distances and descriptions in this report are approximate and reflect the best information available at the time the report is prepared.  The marked boundaries found in the field are the actual, legal boundaries of the closed areas and supersede any information in this report.  Park visitors MUST pay close attention to and comply with resource protection area boundaries as found in the field.  All resource protection areas are clearly marked with Carsonite posts, signs, string, wooden poles or other markers.  Entry into these protection areas is a violation of the Consent Decree and park regulations and may result in court charges.

 

Google Earth maps are now available at:

www.nps.gov/caha

 

Go to the park website and click on the “Off-Road Vehicle Information - More….” link in the top middle of the page, click on “Current ORV Access Information (Reports and Maps),” click on “Current Interactive Beach Access Map using Google Earth.”  A free download of Google Earth is available for first time users or click on “(*date) current beach access map” link for repeat users.  The program allows you to zoom into any stretch of beach in the National Seashore to check the status of access and protection resource areas.  Refinement of maps and legends will continue.  The underlying Google Earth map imagery is dated (2004-2006) and may not always match the actual, current shoreline.  The National Park Service color-coded line overlays are based on recent/current GPS readings and reflect actual shoreline locations and access status.  In other words, the color coded lines (green, yellow, red) indicate the actual shoreline access status, even though in some cases it appears on the image that the line is located landward or seaward of the outdated base image of the shoreline.  (See disclaimer on the maps)  We are working with Google Earth to acquire more current base maps.  The maps are updated periodically and the *date of the most recent update is indicated on the link.  The weekly Beach Access Report will continue to be issued on Thursdays. 

 

The park is operating under a Consent Decree signed by U.S. District Curt Judge Terrence W. Boyle on April 30, 2008.  The Consent Decree adopts the NPS Interim Strategy, with a number of modifications including a prohibition on night driving on Seashore beaches between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. from May 1 through November 15.  Between those dates, the public is expected to remove ORVs from the beach by 10:00 p.m. and may not enter the beach with vehicles until 6 a.m.; however, between September 16 and November 15, NPS may issue permits to authorize night driving between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.  The night driving permitting process will be developed and available by September 16.  No fee or limit on the number of 2008 night driving permits is anticipated. 

 

The Consent Decree states that NPS shall establish specified buffers for observed breeding behavior of piping plovers, least terns, other colonial waterbirds, and American oystercatchers.  Breeding behavior includes, but is not limited to, territorial behavior, courtship, mating, confirmed scrapes, or other nest building activities; for breeding adult piping plover foraging outside of an established closure; and for nests and chicks of all species mentioned above.  The buffers apply to both ORVs and pedestrians.  The buffer distance for the most sensitive species in the area shall be used.  

 

                        TABLE OF RELEVANT ORV AND PEDESTRIAN BUFFERS



Species

Breeding Behavior/Nest Buffer (m)

Unfledged Chick Buffer (m)

Piping Plover

50

1000 (ORV only)

300  (Pedestrian only)

Least Tern

100

200

Other Colonial Waterbirds

200

200

American Oystercatcher

150

200



 

The Consent Decree states that if NPS observes prenesting and/or breeding behavior of colonial waterbirds, piping plovers, or American oystercatchers, NPS shall establish the appropriate buffer within 8 daylight hours.  Upon discovery of an active nest or chicks that are outside an existing closure, protective measures shall be taken immediately to close the area and establish the buffers described above, and the related fencing around the site shall be installed as soon as NPS staff can reasonably be mobilized, but always within 6 daylight hours.  As a result of these required buffer distances and the time frames within which NPS must install them, beach access status can change quickly.

 

***Pets must be physically restrained at all times on a leash no greater than 6 feet.

 

**Note:  Seashore beaches from Oregon Inlet north are referred to as “BodieIsland.”  Seashores beaches south of PeaIsland including the beaches in front of Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo to Hatteras Inlet are now referred to as “Hatteras Island.” 

 

BodieIsland(CoquinaBeachto Oregon Inlet)

There are approximately 5.6 miles of ocean shoreline from Ramp 1 to Oregon Inlet.  Approximately 4.5 miles are open to pedestrian access though some areas (approximately 0.7 miles) that are “open,” such as portions of Bodie Island Spit south of the resource closures, are not readily accessible by pedestrians.  Approximately 2.5 miles are open to ORV access in BodieIsland and approximately 1.1of a mile is closed to all access for RESOURCE PROTECTION areas.

 

Ramp 1 - Ramp 2 (CoquinaBeachArea) - 1.4 miles

The beach is open for pedestrian access but no ORV access.  Annual seasonal closures went into effect on May 15, 2008 and extend from Ramp 1 to 0.1 of a mile south of Ramp 2.

 

Ramp 2 - Ramp 4 to BodieIslandSpit – 4.2 miles

The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline for 2.3 miles north of Ramp 4 and 0.2 of a mile south of Ramp 4.  There is no through access to Oregon Inlet.

·         A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established at Bodie Island Spit the week of

March 24, 2008.  It includes interior areas of the spit and the “pond” shoreline.  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 (weather dependent) above the high tide line for ORV and pedestrian access to the southwest side of the inlet near BonnerBridge.  There is a full beach closure of the small strip of beach that runs parallel to the HerbertC.BonnerBridge and there is no shoreline access to the Bait Pond.

·         A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established on GreenIsland during the week of April 7th.  The island is closed to landing of any craft.

·         The RESOURCE protection area was removed on May 23, 2008that had previously been established in a non-ORV area on the north side of the Bait Pond (west side of the canal) for American Oystercatchers. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.2 of a mile south of Ramp 4 and extends for 0.25 of a mile for American Oystercatchers.  This is a full beach closure that restricts access to Bodie Island Spit. .

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.9 of a mile south of Ramp 4 (within an existing closure) for a nesting least tern colony.  This is a full beach shoreline closure.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 1.3 miles south of Ramp 4 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure (within a closure) for American Oystercatchers.

 

Hatteras Island(South Boundary of PINWR south to Hatteras Inlet)

Hatteras Island has a total distance of 42.8 miles of ocean shoreline.  Approximately 35.2 miles of ocean shoreline are open to pedestrian access though some areas (approximately 5.8 miles total) that are “open,” such as Cape Point south of the resource closures, are not readily accessible by pedestrians.  Approximately 13.1 miles open for ORV access on Hatteras Island.  In addition, to the annual seasonal ORV closures, ORV use is restricted by 6.3 miles of SAFETY closures and 6.5 miles of RESOURCE PROTECTION closures.  Approximately 7.6 miles is closed to all access for RESOURCE PROTECTION areas.

 

Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo:(north of Ramp 23 for 3 miles to PeaIslandNWR boundary)

The annual seasonal village ORV closures went into effect May 15, 2008 and the beaches in front of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo are open to pedestrian but not for ORV access.

 

Ramp 23 - Ramp 27:  (4.3 miles)

Currently, there is no through access for ORVs between Ramp 23 and Ramp 27 due to resource closures.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 1.7 miles south of Ramp 23 and 1.9 miles north of Ramp 27 and extends for 350 meters.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.   On May 26 there was a deliberate violation of this closure and as a result of an intentional entry violation (campfire/violation notice issued), the buffer was modified on May27, 2008.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 10 meters north of Ramp 27 and extends for 0.25 of a mile for breeding least tern colony.  This is a full beach closure.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 1 mile north of Ramp 27 with a 100 meter buffer.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

 

Ramp 27 - Ramp 30:  (2.2 miles)

The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline for 0.1 of mile south of Ramp 27 and 0.6 mile north of Ramp 30.  Currently there is no through access for ORVs between the ramps due to resource closures.  Colonial waterbirds, least terns, are scraping and established nesting colonies in the resource protection areas described below.  The protection areas and associated buffers for colonial waterbirds essentially leave 0.7 of a mile open to both ORV and pedestrian access between Ramp 27 and Ramp 30.

 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.1 mile south of Ramp 27 and extends for 0.25 of a mile. This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers and a nesting least tern colony.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.2 mile south of Ramp 27 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.6 mile south of Ramp 27 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers and a least tern colony.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.6 mile north of Ramp 30 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 1.0 mile north of Ramp 30 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

 

Ramp 30 - Ramp 34:  (4.3 miles)

The beach is open for ORV access 2.4 miles south of Ramp 30

Currently there is no through access for ORVs between the ramps due to a resource closure.

 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 2.4 miles south of Ramp 30 or 1.7 miles north of Ramp 34 and extends for 150 meters.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.4 mile north of Ramp 34 and extends for 0.50 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for a least tern colony.

 

Ramp 34 - Ramp 38:  (beaches in front of Avon = 4.0 miles)

The beach is open for ORV access 0.4 of a mile south of Ramp 34.  The annual seasonal village closures went into effect on May 15, 2008.  The beach is open for 4.0 miles for pedestrian access from Ramp 34 to Ramp 38.  There is no ORV access.  

 

Ramp 38 - Ramp 43:  (6.0 miles)

The beach is open to ORV access for 2.0 miles south of Ramp 38.  Currently there is no through access for ORVs between Ramp 38 and Ramp 43.  Pedestrian access is open for 6.0 miles between Ramp 38 and Ramp 43. .

·      A SAFETY closure is 3.6 miles long, beginning 2.0 miles south of Ramp 38 to 0.4 of a mile north of Ramp 43, was adjusted on May 14.  This section is open to pedestrian access, but not ORV access.

·    A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.3 of a mile north of the village of Buxton and extends for 0.8 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.  This section is within a SAFETY CLOSURE which is not open to ORV access and pedestrian access is restricted through the 0.8 mile closure.  This closure was expanded on May 26 when American oystercatcher chicks hatched and moved south to forage.

·     On May 16, 2008, a deliberate act of vandalism damaged 1,500 feet of fence protecting an American Oystercatcher nest resulted in a 50 meter expansion of the buffer to the south as is ordered by the Consent Decree.  This closure expansion is located in a pedestrian only area and will not affect ORV users.

 

Ramp 43 - Ramp 44:  (0.3 of a mile)

The beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access onto the beach at Ramp 43 with no access along the ocean shoreline to the north or south due to resource protection closures.  Currently, there is no through access for ORVs between Ramp 43 and Ramp 44. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins south of Ramp 43 and extends for 0.26 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.  The closure was expanded 200 feet to the south on April 28 for nesting/territorial behavior.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 50 feet north of Ramp 43 parking lot and extends for 0.25 of a mile for American Oystercatchers.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins north of Ramp 43 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

 

Ramp 44 - Ramp 45 (Cape Point):  (2.4 miles)

Ramp 44 is open and there is ORV and pedestrian access to the south for 0.1 of a mile. 

·         ORV and pedestrian access is open south of Ramp 44 with no through access to Cape Point.   A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established the week of March 24, 2008.  It included interior areas of Cape Point and a complete shoreline closure that started approximately 0.25 miles south/west of Cape Point and ends approximately 0.3 east of Ramp 45.  The total closure distance is approximately 1.0 mile in length. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established between Ramp 44 and the Salt Pond Bypass Road.  This is a 150’ buffer for foraging piping plover.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.1 of a mile north of Ramp 44 for American Oystercatchers and is a full beach closure On May 19, this closure was expanded 25 meters at the southern end of the closure for nesting activity and is still a full beach closure.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.1 of a mile south of Ramp 44.  This is a full beach closure for an American Oystercatcher prevents ORV and pedestrian traffic on the East side of Cape Point. 

·         The RESOURCE protection area was established 0.6 of a mile south of Ramp 44 for a breeding least tern colony.  This colony was disturbed by a storm/overwash on May 11 resulting in the lost of 6 nests and the colony has since relocated further west.  This protection area has been modified and moved back from the shoreline 35 meters. 

 

Ramp 45 to Ramp 49 (SouthBeach):  (3.4 miles)

Ramp 45 is closed. Salt Pond Road is closed due to a RESOURCE protection area.  Currently there is no through access for ORVs or pedestrians between the ramps due to resource closures.  There is ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 49 east for approximately 1.6 miles. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area (prenesting area) was established the week of March 24, 2008.  It included upper beach areas that encompass the dunes and extends towards the ocean.  On April 21, a modification (150 foot shoreline section) of this prenesting area was installed for American Oystercatchers.  This is a full beach closure.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.15 of a mile west of Ramp 45 and extends for 150 meters forAmerican Oystercatchers and a least tern colony.  This is located in front of Ramp 45 which closes Ramp 45 and the interdunal road.  This is a full beach closure.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.50 mile west of Ramp 45 and extends for 0.25 of a mile along the shoreline.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 1.0 mile west of Ramp 45 and extends for 0.25 of a mile along the shoreline.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 1.9 miles East of Ramp 49 and extends for 150 meters.  This is a full beach closure for a least tern colony and a pair of American Oystercatchers.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 1.6 miles East of Ramp 49 and extends for 200 meters.  This is a full beach closure for a least tern colony and a pair of American Oystercatchers.

·         On May 11, 2008, a deliberate act of vandalism to twelve “Area Closed” signs and several carsonite markers resulted in a 50 meter expansion of the buffer on the easternmost resource protection area as is directed by the Consent Decree.

 

 

 

Ramp 49 - Ramp 55:  (5.9 miles; includes SandyBay soundside parking area)

The beach is open to ORV for 1.2 miles west of Ramp 49 and 0.1 of a mile east of Ramp 55 (in front of Frisco andHatterasVillages).  Currently, there is no through ORV access between Ramp 49 and Ramp 55 but pedestrian access is open from Ramp 49 to Ramp 55.

·         The beach in front of FriscoVillage to HatterasVillage is open to pedestrian access, but not ORV access for 4.7 miles.

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins on the west side of NC Hwy. 12,  50 yards south of the SandyBay parking lot and extends for 0.25 of a mile for American Oystercatchers. 

 

Ramp 55 - Hatteras Inlet:  (2.7 miles)

ORV and pedestrian access is open along the ocean shoreline from Ramp 55 west for 1.2 miles to just south/west of the Isabel overwash area where a RESOURCE protection area begins for American Oystercatchers.  The Pole Roadis open from Ramp 55 west to the Isabel overwash areas, where traffic is routed onto the beach due to a RESOURCE protection area.  South of the overwash areas, the Pole Roadand the ocean shoreline is closed to Hatteras Inlet. 

 

·         A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established at the Isabel overwash area from the sound shoreline to the ocean dune during the week of March 24, 2008.  Ocean shoreline access is open past this area.

·         A RESOURCE protection areas was established 1.2 miles south/west of Ramp 55 and just south of the Isabel overwash area for nesting American Oystercatchers.  This is a full beach closure and precludes access to Hatteras Inlet on both the Pole Roadand the ocean shoreline.

·         A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established the week of March 24, 2008 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 0.1 mile south/west of the southern exit of Pole Road.  The full beach closure is approximately 0.8 miles long and continues south/west around the tip of Hatteras Inlet, which encompasses the “Rip.”

·         A RESOURCE protection area for foraging piping plovers was established on the soundside, 0.1 mile southwest of where the Spur Road exits onto the sound shoreline on April 9. 

 

OcracokeIsland 

The Ocracoke Island District has a total distance of 18.4 miles of ocean shoreline.  Approximately 14.3 miles are open to pedestrian access, though some areas (approximately 1 mile) that are “open,” such as the southern end of South Point, are not readily accessible by pedestrians.  Approximately 6.0 miles are open to ORV access on OcracokeIsland.  ORV use is restricted by a 4.8 mile SAFETY closure.  Approximately 4.1 miles is closed to all access for RESOURCE PROTECTION areas.

 

Ramp 59 - Ramp 67:  (7.8 miles; includes North Ocracoke Spit)

There is no through ORV shoreline access between these two ramps. Pedestrian access is open.

·         A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established at North Ocracoke Spit the week of March 24, 2008.  It includes interior areas of the spit and the ocean shoreline.  An ocean/inlet shoreline access corridor is currently being maintained (weather dependent) above the high tide line for ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 59 north for 0.9miles toward North Ocracoke Spit.  There is no ORV or pedestrian access in the RESOURCE protection area.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.3 of a mile south of Ramp 59 and extends for 0.9 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers that was expanded on May 7, 2008.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established 4.5 miles south of Ramp 59 and 3.1 miles north of Ramp 67 and extends for 0.25 of a mile.  This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.

·         A SAFETY closure is 4.8 miles long, and begins 1.0 miles south of Ramp 59 to 1.4 miles north of Ramp 67, was adjusted on May 14.  This section is open to pedestrian access but not to ORV access.

·         A RESOURCE protection area was established on the dredge spoil piles on North Ocracoke for breeding American Oystercatchers.  This closes all access to the dredge spoil island.

 

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

There is no through ORV shoreline access between these two ramps.  Pedestrian access is open.  The annual seasonal beach closure in front of the Ocracoke Campground and Day Use area went into effect on May 15, 2008. The beach from 0.6 of a mile south of Ramp 67 to Ramp 68 is closed to ORV access for 0.9 of a mile.

 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.3 of a mile south of Ramp 68 and extends 0.25 of a mile for American Oystercatcher.  This is a full beach closure.

·         The RESOURCE protection area 0.8 of a mile south of Ramp 68 is being removed today.  This allows for 0.3 of a mile of ORV access and 0.4 of a mile pedestrian access. 

·         A RESOURCE protection area begins 0.8 mile south of Ramp 68 (or 1.5 miles north of Ramp 70) and extends for 0.25 of a mile. This is a full beach closure for American Oystercatchers.  An expansion/modification of 200 feet to the north was installed on April 30 for observed breeding behavior.

 

Ramp 70 - Ramp 72 (1.8 miles) and Ramp 72 to South Ocracoke Spit (4.4 miles):

The beach is open to ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 70 south along ocean shoreline, for approximately 0.2 of a mile south of Ramp 72.  There is no through access to South Point.

·     A RESOURCE protection (prenesting) area was established the week of March 24, 2008 that encompasses interior and soundside areas of the spit.  There is ocean shoreline access for 2.6 miles from Ramp 72 south.  On the soundside shoreline, 1.3 miles of shoreline is closed to ORV and pedestrian access. 

·     A RESOURCE protection area was established 0.2 mile south of Ramp 72.  This is a full beach closure that extends for approximately 1.3 miles and precludes access to South Point.  This full beach closure along the ocean shoreline is for foraging piping plovers and a least tern colony.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

-NPS-

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.