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Contact: Cyndy Holda, 252-473-2111 Ext. 148
The National Park Service (NPS), Department of the Interior, announces the availability of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan (plan/EIS). The purpose of the plan/EIS is to develop regulations and procedures that manage off-road vehicle (ORV) use at the Seashore to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources and natural processes, to provide a variety of visitor use experiences while minimizing conflicts among various users, and to promote the safety of all visitors.
Executive Order 11644 of 1972, amended by Executive Order 11989 of 1977, requires certain Federal agencies permitting ORV use on Agency lands to designate specific trails and areas. Title 36, section 4.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations implements the Executive Orders by providing that routes and areas designated for ORV use in units of the National Park System shall be promulgated as special regulations. Therefore, this plan/EIS is necessary to bring the Seashore in compliance with Executive Orders 11644 and 11989, address the lack of an approved plan, and provide for protected species management in relation to ORV use.
The final plan/EIS evaluates two no action alternatives and four action alternatives for managing ORV use, and identifies their potential environmental consequences. Consistent with NPS laws, regulations, and policies, and the purpose of the Seashore, the plan/EIS describes Alternative F as the NPS preferred alternative. Alternative F is designed to provide visitors to the Seashore with a wide variety of access opportunities for both ORV and pedestrian users. Following consideration of public comments on the March 2010 draft plan/EIS (DEIS), Alternative F was revised to provide more pedestrian access adjacent to resource closures, where possible, and a more balanced approach to ORV routes and vehicle-free areas than Alternative F provided in the DEIS. To support access to both vehicle-free areas and designated ORV routes, Alternative F would involve the construction of new parking areas, pedestrian access trails, ORV ramps, and improvements and additions to the interdunal road system.
The NPS will execute a Record of Decision no sooner than 30 days from the date of publication of the Notice of Availability (NOA) of the FEIS in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA NOA is expected to be published on Friday, November 19, 2010.
"The release of the final ORV management plan/EIS is an important step toward completion of the required ORV regulation at the Seashore," said Superintendent Murray. "We greatly appreciate the level of public interest and participation in the planning process."
Electronic copies of the document are available for public review online at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha. Hard copies or compact disks (CDs) of the FEIS are being mailed to those who have previously requested them. A limited number of CDs and hard copies of the FEIS are available at the Seashore headquarters, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. You may also request a hard copy or CD by contacting Mike Murray, Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954, (252) 473-2111 x 148.