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Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
From Sunday, May 6 through Tuesday, May 8, the Outer Banks experienced a strong low pressure system with high winds of 50-60 mph and strong wave action on the coastline. The north facing beaches felt the full impact of this Nor’easter and numerous overwash areas were noted along the entire coastline of the National Seashore and neighboring villages.
A container ship lost 9 containers during the storm and many thousands of pieces of styrofoam packing material have washed up on Outer Banks beaches. On May 9, dozens of ORV users, fishermen, and park visitors assisted NPS by picking up styrofoam, especially in the Cape Point area. All Park staff would like to thank the general public and the local merchants who assisted in this clean up effort. NPS is working with US Coast Guard on the incident. We appreciate your assistance in keeping our beaches clean and beautiful!
Pre-nesting areas were established the week of March 26, 2007. There will be additional adjustments in RESOURCE protection areas, based on wildlife activity, as the season progresses. These updates will be shown on future Beach Access Reports. All distances are approximate. Daily turtle patrols for the 2007 season began May 1.
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).16.3 miles are open to pedestrians and 14.7 miles are open for ORV access.
Ramp 1 - Ramp 2 (Coquina Beach Area)
A SAFETY beach closure is 1.6 miles long. This section is open for pedestrian access, but not ORV 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. Following the Nor’easter, one piping plover has been observed foraging in the pond area.
Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo: (north of Ramp 23 for 3 miles to Pea Island NWR boundary)
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access.
Ramp 23 - Ramp 27:
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access for 1.2 miles north of Ramp 27 where a RESOURCE
closure for nesting American Oystercatchers, approximately 0.2 mile long, begins. There currently is no through ORV access between Ramps 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. The recent Nor’easter reduced the width of the beach to the point there is not adequate buffer between the ocean and the nest for an ORV corridor in front of the nest and therefore is a full beach closure with no ORV or pedestrian access. The nest is expected to hatch the week of May 18th.
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 30.3 miles open to pedestrians and approximately 21.9 miles of beach are open for ORV access. ORV use is restricted by 8.4 miles of safety closures. Approximately 1.6 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 0.9 mile south of Ramp 27 and 1.1 miles 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. On April 19 and 20 two additional RESOURCE protection areas were established for two additional American Oystercatcher nests north and south of the above nest. As of April 23, 2007, these three separate area beach closures are located above the high tide line and encompass less than .2 of a mile. Following the Nor’easter, two of the three nests were lost to high surf and wind. The beach width was reduced significantly requiring a full beach closure to protect the one remaining nest, located 0.9 mile south of Ramp 27. The nest is expected to hatch the week of May 18th.
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. Prior to the storm, two piping plovers were observed along the shoreline just north of Ramp 34.
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.
Ramp 34 - Ramp 38 (4.0 miles):
Beach is open for ORV and pedestrian access from Ramp 34 to 0.2 miles south of Avon Pier. Currently, there is no through access for ORVs to Ramp 38. Pedestrian access is open.
A SAFETY closure of 1.6 miles begins 0.2 miles south of Avon Pier and extends to Ramp 38. This section is open to pedestrian access, but not ORV 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 numerous American Oystercatcher scrapes. The area was checked following the storm and no nest were found as of the date/time of this report. There is currently a 30-ft. ORV and pedestrian access corridor above the high tide line.
A SAFETY closure is 2.8 miles long, beginning 1.6 of a mile south of Ramp 38 to 0.4 of a mile north of Ramp 43. This section is open to pedestrian access, but not ORV access. Within this safety closure, there is a RESOURCE protection area for American Oystercatcher nests and no pedestrian access in this protection area is allowed.
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 have been observed foraging within the area since last week’s report, including at least 3 pairs demonstrating breeding behavior and scraping.Two piping plover nests have been located near the middle of the enclosure. In addition, there are two American Oystercatcher nests 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, was established in March and is located 1.0 mile south of Ramp 45 for nesting American Oystercatchers. On May 9th, a section, approximately 0.1of a mile, broaden the boundary of the protection area to provide adequate buffer around an American Oystercatcher nest. There is ORV and pedestrian access along the ocean shoreline.
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. Currently there is no through ORV access between Ramp 49 and Ramp 55.
A SAFETY closure for Frisco Village and Hatteras Village is 4.0 miles long. This section is open to pedestrian access, but not ORV 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. This area is closed to ORV and pedestrian access.
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. A temporary SAFETY closure is in effect for the Pole Road due to flooded conditions from Ramp 55 south to the Isabel overwash area and south to the soundshore. The Cable Crossing/Spur Road routes to Hatteras Inlet are currently closed due to flooded conditions and eroded sound shoreline conditions. These routes will reopen as soon as conditions dry allowing for safe off-road travel. 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 whenthree piping plover were observed foraging in this area. Ocean shoreline access remains open past this area. There have been no recent piping plover observations in this area.
A RESOURCE protection area for foraging piping plovers was established on April 24 along the ocean shoreline adjacent to the Isabel overwash area. No piping plovers have been observed foraging here in the past two weeks.This shoreline closure was removed on May 8, 2007.
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." There are two American oystercatcher nests within this protection area and one piping plover was observed along the inlet shoreline on May 9th.
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 10.8 milesare open to ORV access. ORV use is restricted by approximately 5.2 miles of SAFETY closure and approximately 0.5 mile is restricted by a RESOURCE protection area. Due to the storm, assessment of beaches and protection area status on Ocracoke Island are still coming in at the time of this report.
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.
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. As many as two to five piping plover have been observed and some have displayed territorial behavior.
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 will be established on May 10 immediately of south Ramp 59 and is 0.3 mile long. This is a full beach closure for piping plover foraging. There is no through access.
Ramp 67 - Ramp 70 (3.8 miles; includes Ramp 68) :
The beach is open to ORV and 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 ORV and 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, which was subsequently lost. In 2006, the same pair of birds nested/re-nested 3 times in the same general area. The area was expanded on April 18 to incorporate last year’s nest sites and provide for a re-nesting attempt.
Ramp 70 - Ramp 72 and to South Ocracoke Spit (4.8 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.
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 as one to four piping plovers have been observed foraging, with some exhibiting breeding behavior in this area since last week’s report. 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 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.