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Contact: Outer Banks Group, 252-473-2111, ext. 148
Two new vandalism incidents have resulted in expanded buffers at shorebird protection areas in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Both incidents, discovered on the morning of Saturday, June 27, are being investigated by NPS law enforcement personnel, and were evaluated by park management on Monday, June 29, 2009.
One incident occurred at Ramp 23, which was already closed to access due to shorebird protection measures. A barricade closing the ramp to ORV use was broken and thrown aside, and fencing and a sign were broken further down the ramp where the closure starts. A second incident occurred on the beach near Ramp 27 where a vehicle ran through fencing, broke signs, and entered two different resource protection closures, one north and one south of the ramp, then turned around and exited the beach. Neither of the incidents resulted in the destruction of nests or chicks.
The court ordered consent decree mandates that if a confirmed deliberate act that disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants occurs, NPS shall automatically expand the buffer by 50 meters on the first offense, 100 meters on the second, and 500 meters on the third. As a result of the violations, the buffers are being expanded at both Ramp 23 and Ramp 27. The expansions result in the closure of both ramps to all access until shorebirds have finished using the respective areas for breeding activities. The nearest available ORV and pedestrian access point to the two sites is currently located at Ramp 30.
NPS law enforcement personnel continue to investigate these two incidents. If anyone has information about any of these violations, please call Dare Community Crime Line at 252-473-3111. Destruction of government property and entering a resource closure are federal criminal violations, each subject up to a $5,000.00 fine and up to six months imprisonment.
For up-to-date information on currently open or closed areas, check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Google Earth maps at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm