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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Regional Focus - News and Local Events  |  Southeast  |  Topic: Cape Hatteras: Access groups sue to stop Park Service’s ORV plan and final rule « previous next »
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Author Topic: Cape Hatteras: Access groups sue to stop Park Service’s ORV plan and final rule  (Read 1981 times)
Keith Holman
Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
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« on: February 09, 2012, 08:03:28 pm »

You'd think that following their own rules would be a fairly simple thing to do, wouldn't you?

Quote
The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) today filed a lawsuit against the federal government agencies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in an effort to stop the Park Service from implementing its off-road vehicle management plan and ORV final rule, which becomes effective next Wednesday, Feb. 15.

CHAPA is a project of the Outer Banks Preservation Association, a group dedicated to preserving and protecting the historical use of the beach on the Outer Banks and specifically the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA), the name Congress gave the first national seashore in 1950.

CHAPA’s complaint names Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, and Mike Murray, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the shortened name used by NPS.

In its complaint, CHAPA takes issue with just about every step in the process of ORV rulemaking, which, it says, began in earnest in 2005.

“An ORV management plan and a final rule that imposes severe restriction on ORV use at CHNSRA were foreordained from the time that NPS began its planning process,” the complaint says.

“All of the action alternatives identified and considered by NPS provided for highly restrictive buffers that would have effectively prohibited ORV use throughout much of the Recreational Area,” the complaint continues.  “In the flawed NEPA and rulemaking process that followed, NPS failed to give meaningful consideration to any views, data, or information that might be inconsistent with the agency’s desired result.”

The plaintiffs claim that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Record of Decision, and the ORV management plan and final rule are “arbitrary and capricious” and violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), the CHNSRA enabling legislation, and the NPS Organic Act.

‘The National Park Service failed the visitors and residents of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area with the final rule which they published on Jan. 23,” said John Couch, president of the Outer Banks Preservation Association. “For the past seven years we have sent a consistent message about importance of preserving ORV access, only to be disregarded at every step.  We have no choice but to pursue this matter in court now that the NPS has officially ended the process with the impending implementation of the rule on Feb. 15.”

More at link including a link to the actual filing.
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Peter Vahry
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 04:07:50 am »


           Local Community Group Challenges New National Park Service Off-Road Vehicle Restrictions at Cape Hatteras
 

                                     Proper review of alternatives and socioeconomic impacts required, says group’s filing.

Buxton, NC (February 9, 2012) – The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) today filed suit challenging the National Park Service’s (NPS) issuance of a new management plan and special rule regulating off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.  The lawsuit seeks to prohibit NPS from imposing severe new restrictions on ORV use within the Recreational Area in accordance with the agency’s recently released Cape Hatteras ORV Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement and Special Regulations governing ORV management at the Recreational Area.

 

Since before the establishment of the Recreational Area, ORV access to and over the beaches of North Carolina ’s Outer Banks has been fundamental to the use and enjoyment of the area by residents, visitors, and local businesses.  “The Park Service’s new ORV management plan and rules, if implemented, will have a devastating effect on our unique, local shore-oriented culture and economy,” said John Couch, President of the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA).  “The OBPA and CHAPA have fought to keep the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area beaches free and open to residents and visitors since 1977.  OBPA and CHAPA continuously have maintained that reasonable ORV access and bird and turtle species protection are not mutually exclusive.  Unfortunately, the Park Service overlooked reasonable recommendations and information that OBPA and CHAPA put forth during the planning process that would have resulted in an ORV management plan and rules that both protect wildlife resources and ensure reasonable ORV access to and over the area’s beaches.”

 

Throughout the ORV planning and rulemaking process, CHAPA’s goal has been to work with NPS to develop a comprehensive ORV use and management plan that will meet the concerns of protecting the Recreational Area’s resources without compromising the distinctive lifestyle and economic health of the islands that make up the Outer Banks.  CHAPA has advocated the protection and preservation of Seashore beaches within a framework of responsible and meaningful access to the ocean beaches and sound for all users, including pedestrians and properly licensed drivers and their vehicles.

 

According to the complaint filed by CHAPA in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia , the imposition of new, severe restrictions was “foreordained from the time that NPS began its planning process.”  As set forth in the complaint, the Park Service’s planning and environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act was plagued by a series of failures.  These include, among others: a failure to give meaningful consideration to views, data, or information that were contrary to NPS’s desire to impose more severe restrictions on ORV access and use; a failure to look at reasonable alternatives, including smaller and more flexible buffer and closure areas; and a failure to properly assess impacts on the local economy.  The complaint asks the court to determine that NPS acted improperly and to prevent NPS from implementing its final ORV management plan and rules.

 

 

The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) is a project of the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), which is dedicated to preserving and protecting a lifestyle historically prevalent on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and specifically at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA).  With over 10,000 active members (representing over 38 states and Canada), OBPA and CHAPA work to protect and preserve local beaches within a framework of free and open beach access for all users, including properly licensed drivers and vehicles.   

Contacts:

John Couch

President OBPA

president@obpa-nc.org
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Keith Holman
Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 04:29:21 pm »

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

February 28, 2012



Congressman Jones Introduces Bill to Restore Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area



North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones today introduced House Bill H.R. 4094 to preserve pedestrian and motorized vehicular access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Access to the seashore is now severely limited due to the implementation of the Final Rule from the National Park Service, which went into effect on February 15, 2012. The controversial rule was issued by the Park Service in spite of an outpouring of public comments in support of reasonable recreational access.



H.R. 4094 follows a lawsuit that has been filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA), a grassroots project initiated by the Outer Banks Preservation Association committed to balancing recreational access with resource management. For over thirty years, OBPA has worked to maintain the seashore as intended by Congress when the first National Seashore Recreational Area was established. Preserving the traditional and cultural values of the seashore has been a fundamental principle of the group, which represents people throughout the United States.



The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area has been a popular destination for American families seeking affordable, family oriented beach vacations. Under the Final Rule access to some of the most popular areas is no longer available. This has restricted access for many, including the disabled and elderly, and caused financial harm to the communities surrounding the seashore.



CHAPA President, John Couch, expressed gratitude to Congressman Jones for introducing H.R. 4094. He said, "We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Jones and the leadership he has shown for preserving access to this American treasure, so it can continue to be used by the people for its intended recreational purpose."



Jim Keene, a Director of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association emphasized the importance of people getting involved throughout the United States. He explained, "The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is controlled by Congress. That is why it is vital that people everyone contact their elected leaders in Washington now and ask them to support House Bill H.R. 4094.



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