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Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111 ext: 148
A new act of vandalism/trespass to posted shorebird protection areas has occurred at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this time on Bodie Island Spit just north of Oregon Inlet. On Sunday, June 22, 2008, Seashore staff discovered damaged fencing and off-road vehicle tire tracks that violated three resource protection areas that were in place south of Ramp 4 towards the inlet.
The violation apparently occurred between the hours of 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 22, 2008. The park ranger who investigated the violation observed one sign destroyed and numerous, obvious tire spin-out tracks in the sand, including zigzagging across the beach, “doughnut” tire marks, and evidence of sand thrown considerable distances from the tire tracks, which suggest the vehicle was traveling at an excessive speed for conditions. At the time of this press release there are no leads to the identity of the vehicle or operator.
The April 30, 2008 court ordered Consent Decree, which resolved a lawsuit related to shorebird and sea turtle protection at the Seashore, requires the National Park Service (NPS) to automatically expand the closure area by 50 meters if a first confirmed deliberate act disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants. In this case, Seashore staff documented the incident and expanded the closures by 50 meters each as ordered by the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree also requires that if a second such act occurs, the buffer shall automatically be expanded by 100 m. And if a third act occurs, the buffer shall be expanded by 500 m if NPS determines it is necessary to minimize the extent of further disturbance.
“This was an egregious violation, plain and simple,” said Superintendent Mike Murray. “Irresponsible behavior such as this not only puts nesting birds at risk, which under the Consent Decree, leads to more stringent protection, it also reduces access for the many park visitors who do comply with the rules.”
Destruction of government property and entering a resource closure are federal criminal violations, each subject to up to a $5,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment.
For more information, call 252-473-2111 ext. 148.