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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc)  |  General Land Advocacy  |  Topic: Hatteras Island OHV Access at Risk, AGAIN? « previous next »
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Author Topic: Hatteras Island OHV Access at Risk, AGAIN?  (Read 1231 times)
Jason D Grogg
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« on: July 18, 2007, 02:48:06 pm »

Will judge's order close Hatteras beaches to driving?
By CATHERINE KOZAK, The Virginian-Pilot
July 18, 2007
Last updated: 3:33 PM

As drivers of off-road vehicles continue to enjoy riding on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the National Park Service is consulting with lawyers on the implications of a judge's order condemning the practice.

Mike Murray, the superintendent of the seashore, said in a statement today that the park service was conferring with Department of the Interior and Department of Justice lawyers to "determine how to respond" to the judge's order.

But Jason Rylander of Defenders of Wildlife said his group believes the park service has no choice but to close the beach to drivers until an off-road vehicle management plan is in place.

Beach driving has been permitted on parts of the seashore for years, despite an executive order in 1972 requiring a management plan. The park service has never developed one but is now in the process of doing so.

Driving on the beach has become increasingly popular on Hatteras Island with more people owning sport utility vehicles that provide easier access.

But the practice has been a heated point of contention between environmental groups and beach driving advocates who say the island's economy depends on it. Driving on the beach provides access to some of the top fishing spots on the East Coast.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle said the seashore "does not have regulations in place to govern ORV traffic." He said that it was a violation to operate off-road vehicles there without the authority of the Department of the Interior or "its designee."

The order grew out of a case involving a reckless driving summons issued May 27 near Oregon Inlet.

In his order, Boyle described flyovers by park service and department of interior pilots documenting 1,200 vehicles at Oregon Inlet in an "overwash" area frequented by endangered shorebirds and turtles.

He said it was reasonable to estimate that 2,500 to 5,000 people "crowded onto this narrow, fragile, environmentally sensitive area on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend."
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Jason D. Grogg
Capital-Area Off Road Enthusiasts
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Keith Holman
Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2007, 09:23:27 am »

Quote
NPS Press Release on Judge Boyle's Order July 18, 2007

National Park Service News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DATE July 18, 2007

CONTACT: 252-473-2111 ext. 148

NPS ANNOUNCES UPDATE ON BEACH ACCESS

Superintendent Mike Murray stated today that the National Park Service (NPS) is currently evaluating and considering how to respond to the recent Court Order that was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Terrance W. Boyle on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. The order indicates that NPS is not in compliance with legal requirements to authorize and manage off-road vehicle (ORV) use at the Seashore. For the time being the Seashore continues to operate under an Interim Strategy and beaches remain open to off-road vehicles (ORVs) for the immediate future, with the exception of beaches that are closed due to resource protection areas, annual seasonal village closures and safety closures.

As background, ORV use on Outer Banks beaches predates the 1937 authorization of the Seashore. Prior to paving NC Highway 12 in 1954, island residents and visitors routinely used the beaches and interdunal areas as a transportation route. The completion of the Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet in 1963 made access to Hatteras Island much easier which resulted in increased vehicle use of beaches for recreational purposes and use has continued to increase. ORV are currently used to access the beaches for many forms of recreational activities including swimming, sunbathing, surf fishing, bird watching, surfing, shell hunting and scenic driving.

Executive Order 11644 (1972), amended by Executive Order 11989 (1977), required certain federal agencies permitting ORV use on agency lands to publish regulations designating specific trails and areas for this use. Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 4.10 requires units of the National Park System allowing ORV use to designate use areas and routes by special regulation. Despite previous efforts since the late 1970s, the National Park Service (NPS) has yet to develop an ORV management plan or regulation that would provide the necessary management and regulatory framework to manage ORV use at the Seashore.

To address these issues, Seashore staff has been working on a three-pronged approach. First, in January 2006, NPS issued an Interim Protected Species Management Strategy (Interim Strategy) to guide protected species management practices within the park for approximately 3 years until a long-term ORV management plan and regulation can be developed. A final decision document and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Interim Strategy was approved on July 13, 2007 by Regional Director Patricia Hooks. Second, on December 11, 2006, NPS announced in the Federal Register the intent to develop an ORV management plan and environmental impact statement, and has since completed the initial public scoping in March 2007 for that planning process. Finally, on June 28, 2007 NPS published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to assist the NPS with development of the required ORV regulation. The public comment period for this Notice of Intent ends on July 30, 2007.

In addition to the procedures and restrictions identified within the Interim Strategy, other federal regulations apply to ORV and beach use. These include, but are not limited to, prohibitions on unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; requirements to comply with posted speed limits, use seatbelts, stay within posted ORV corridors, and stay out of posted closures; and prohibitions on disorderly conduct, pets off leash, illegal camping, illegal beach fires, and littering.

More information about these planning processes can be obtained at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Off-Road Vehicle Negotiated Rulemaking and Management Plan project website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha. If you wish to receive electronic information regarding the Off-Road Vehicle issue, please contact the park at or call 252-473-2111 ext. 148 or send an email to cyndy_holda@nps.gov and request to be added to the mailing list.

--NPS--

Just FYI, I've found the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association website to be a reasonably good source of info on the happenings re:beach access at OBX. (http://www.ncbba.org)
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What are you supposed to do when you see an "endangered" animal eating an "endangered" plant?
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Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
Jason D Grogg
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2007, 11:46:36 pm »

Letter dated July 31, 2007 from the Superintendent to the U.S. Attorney describing the ORV planning and regulatory background at the Seashore and the steps the Seashore is taking to respond to the concerns stated in Judge Boyle's Court Order issued July 17, 2007

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=358&projectId=10641&documentID=20016
 
(you can find this doc. at this address)
****
Please review this document and provide feedback.  I have quickly glanced over this doc and it looks like page 6 starts the details of what the recent court orders will mean to the OHV community.  I see the United is listed as a Distributor of CAHA information in this document.  I know that when I was down that way in June, the NCBBA had a cleanup going and were distributing literature to all vehicles entering Oregon Inlet. 

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Jason D. Grogg
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Keith Holman
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 02:36:49 pm »

Title 16 of the US Code, Chapter 1, Subchapter LXIII, Section 459
calls for the establishment of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area:

Quote
set apart as a national seashore recreational area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and shall be known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area

Somehow we skim right over the recreational area that was clearly intended in the authorizing legislation and the funding to operate it.
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What are you supposed to do when you see an "endangered" animal eating an "endangered" plant?
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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2007, 02:48:52 pm »

Looks like some of the Anti-Access groups are trying to remove the "Recreational" from the title of this land!

I printed the whole report, and will read it this weekend and make notes.

Not sure if we can get Carla to take a look at this also, and get her opinion on it. 

I will post my thoughts after reading this report later this weekend.

Todd
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Melissa Simmons
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2007, 03:25:12 pm »

I know the Hatteras Island and the issues going on down in Tellico are on Carla's radar--right up front.   Smiley  Rest assured, she is on 'em and I'm sure will be chiming in as soon as she is able.

~M~
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