Cape Lookout National Seashore Reopens Shackleford and Harkers Island Visitor Center
Contact: Midwest Incident Management Team PIO Jean Schaeppi, 715-491-6809
Harkers Island, NC - The National Park Service is pleased to announce the re-opening of Shackleford Banks and the Visitor Center at Harkers Island. Shackleford will reopen to the public for day and overnight use at sunrise on August 31, 2011. The dock at Shackleford needs to be rebuilt and remains closed. The Harkers Island Visitor Center will return to normal operations, 9-5 seven days a week. All other areas within Cape Lookout NS remain closed.
On August 30, the Foundation for Shackleford Horses and the National Park Service began a count of the horses on Shackleford Banks. After one day of counting 72% of 116 known horses were seen. Counting will continue until all are accounted for. As a nice surprise, a new foal believed to have been born on Sunday was seen. All horses appeared to be in good condition.
Since the passing of Hurricane Irene teams of National Park Service employees from Cape Lookout and other National Park Service areas have been out on the islands looking at the damage. They are determining what areas of the seashore can be safely reopened without jeopardizing visitor safety or casing damage to resources. Docks, buildings and other infrastructure sustained damage. Storm overwash has moved sand across the backroad and affected boat access at docks. In other areas, erosion has affected boardwalks and other visitor areas. Abandoned vehicles have been uncovered and are on the beach. Trees are down in Portsmouth village. These are some of the concerns that are being addressed.
Phone service is still out at the Harkers Island Visitor Center and there is no access to e-mail. The National Park Service staff will post updates about reopening of park areas and activities on the park website at www.nps.gov/calo and via Twitter at twitter.com/CapeLookoutNPS.