NPS REOPENS SEASONALLY CLOSED VILLAGE BEACHES TO ORV USE
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Outer Banks Group Superintendent Mike Murray announces that on Sunday, September 16, 2007, Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches that have been seasonally closed to off-road vehicle (ORV) use in front of Hatteras Island villages will re-open. Some areas may still experience closures where the beaches are too narrow and unsafe for ORV use, and visitors should expect to see continued resource protection areas for sea turtle nests.
**** Reminder: Parkwide: Visitors will find some sea turtle nesting protection areas in effect. Posted areas are closed to ORV, pedestrians and pets. *****
The following areas reopen to ORV access on Sunday, September 16:
Tri-villages (Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo) beachfront = 3 miles in length extends from the southernmost boundary of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to Ramp 23.
Avon village beachfront = 3.5 miles in length. There is through access from Ramp 34 to Ramp 38.
Ocracoke village beachfront = 2.9 miles in length. There is through access from Ramp 68 to South Point.
The following areas remain closed to ORV use and are open to pedestrian access.
Approximately 1.5 mile south of Ramp 38 to 0.4 miles north of Ramp 43.
1.1 miles south of Ramp 49 to 0.2 mile north of Ramp 55
Ramp 67 to Ramp 68 is closed adjacent to Ocracoke Campground until the campground closes on October 30, 2007.
"These closures are based, in part, on past practice," said Superintendent Murray. "The policy on seasonal closures needs to be reviewed and will be referred to the negotiated rulemaking committee to make a recommendation. We would appreciate everyone’s cooperation with the current situation while we work on long term solutions."
Sections of Seashore ocean beaches may be temporarily closed to ORV use when narrowness of the beach might compromise visitor safety. These temporary closures also help reduce the danger of damage to personal property, dunes, or adjacent private lands. Narrow areas of ocean beach temporarily closed to ORV use are assessed monthly by park rangers and re-opened if the beach width has expanded. Ocean beach areas open to ORV use are patrolled regularly to monitor for safety concerns such as drop-offs and ledges.
Threatened or endangered species of sea turtles visit or nest on Seashore beaches and are protected by federal regulations. Sea turtle nesting season generally ends in August but it may take up to two months after eggs are laid for the nests to hatch. Temporary resource closures will be removed once the nests hatch.
Since the Outer Banks’ beaches continue to experience high visitation in September, the National Park Service offers the following safety tips for all beach goers:
Be alert to vehicles driving on the beach. Set up beach paraphernalia in areas outside of ORV pathways. Watch children as they may not be attentive to ORVs and can be hard to see from a vehicle.
Pets must be on a leash at all times.
Do not dig large holes in the ORV pathways. Large holes in the sand can be dangerous to other people and vehicles as well as nesting sea turtles.
Take your trash and equipment with you when you leave.
Only 4-wheel drive vehicles have the tire traction for beach driving on the Seashore. Do not drive on the beach in a two-wheel drive vehicle, including front-wheel drive.
It is recommended to lower tire pressure to 20 PSI due to the soft sand.
Any law applicable to vehicle use on a paved road in NC also applies to ORVs on Seashore beaches.
The speed limit is 15 mph in front of the villages or within 100 feet of pedestrians, wildlife, and other vehicles; and 25 mph in other locations open to ORV use.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Watch out for people on the beach. Small children and sunbathers may be hard to see with changing terrain conditions.
Stay off the dunes! Drive only on that portion of the beach which lies between the foot of the dunes and the ocean. When possible, drive on the portion of the beach just below the high tide mark. Avoid getting too close to the water.
Be aware of changes in the tide. High tides can sometimes cut off sections of the beach.
Did You Know?
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.