Cape Chronicle Newsletter - May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020 Posted by: Mike Barber

Abridged edition of the Cape Chronicle e-newsletter. To subscribe to the full e-newsletter, email e-mail us.

Photo of the Week
Photo of loggerhead sea turtle laying nest. Image is red because staff used turtle friendly lighting.
The first sea turtle nest of the season was discovered last Saturday morning. Staff took this photo of the female nesting loggerhead using turtle safe lighting. Red light is used because sea turtles are sensitive to white bright lights. The mother and nest were found north of Ramp 44 on Hatteras Island.

Seashore Updates

Ocean Safety

  • Lifeguards will be available daily at four Seashore beaches starting tomorrow. Duty hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Labor Day.

  • Text “Join OBXBeachConditions” to 30890 to sign up for text alerts on conditions at Outer Banks beaches. Learn more about ocean safety at

  • A perfect day on the beach doesn’t always mean that it’s a perfect day in the ocean. Check the beach forecast before visiting. If in doubt, don’t go out.

  • Last Friday, a Dare County resident bravely rescued two young girls from the ocean near Frisco. [News Release]

  • Since 2016, 23 water-related fatalities have occurred off Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Graphic showing your options if caught in a rip current.


  • The 2020 camping season begins today. Campsite reservations and payments will only be available online at Staff will not be available to take payments at the campground and site availability will be limited.

Recreational Access

  • Most outdoor areas remain open for the purpose of staying healthy while following federal, state, and county guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Beach users should stay at least 6 feet from each other and not create a gathering of 10 or more people in a single location (increasing to 25 or more people starting this evening at 5 p.m.). Additionally, vehicles on the beach should be parked roughly 20 feet apart.

  • In-person off-road vehicle (ORV) permit sales offices are currently closed. Permits are available 24/7 at Permits should be printed and placed in vehicle.

  • Shorebird nesting season is off to a strong start this year. Piping plovers, American oystercatchers, and least terns have made nests on Seashore beaches.Within the next couple of days, a protection buffer at Cape Point may need to be expanded to protect two American oystercatcher chicks. As of this morning, their eggs are intact but have not hatched. Visit for a listing of active shorebird nests and chicks.

  • For current beach access information, go to: As of this morning, there are over 23 miles of oceanside beach routes available for ORV travel.

Public Health

  • At this time, most indoor facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are closed in order to minimize potential spread of COVID-19, consistent with federal, state, and local advisories. The following facilities and activities are currently closed:

    • Visitor Centers and bookstores on Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke islands

    • Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras lighthouse climbing

    • Avon Pier - received damage over last few days due to rough ocean conditions

    • In-person interpretive programs

    • Ocracoke boat slips

  • The Seashore urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.

  • Visitors should closely watch where they’re walking on the beach as potentially hazardous objects may have washed up during recent storms, especially south of Avon Pier.

  • The NC Department of Health and Human Services and local public health officials are asking people that leave home to remember the Three W’s – Wear. Wait. Wash.

    • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.

    • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

  • Details and updates on operations will continue to be posted at

Upcoming Events

NPS Memorial Day Weekend Virtual Campout

  • Date: Sunday, May 24

  • Time: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

  • Location: Cape Hatteras NS Facebook Page

  • Description: National park units across the southeast are offering a special Virtual Campout hosted by Biscayne National Park during Memorial Day Weekend. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial are partnering to bring you a Virtual Scavenger Hunt at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 24. Be ready to do some digital sleuthing on park websites, share some selfie with objects you have at home, and participate in fun activities to get as many points as you can! Memorial Day Weekend Virtual Campout hosted by Biscayne NP begins May 23rd at 3 p.m. and ends May 25th at 11 a.m. For the full schedule of events for the Virtual Campout, check out their Facebook event page.


Last updated: May 22, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

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