In early January 2015, the National Park Service began the process of reviewing and complying with recently passed legislation in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, related to Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The legislation provides 180 days for the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the State of North Carolina and accordance with applicable laws, to review and modify wildlife buffers and designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around buffers to allow access to areas that are open in the Seashore.
It also requires a public process to consider, consistent with management requirements at the Seashore, changes to the Seashore's Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) special regulation as it relates to morning opening of beaches, extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and modifying vehicle free areas.
The Secretary of the Interior must report back to Congress within one year after the date of the enactment of the Act.
The Seashore is utilizing a four-step approach:
The Seashore reviewed the best available science on wildlife buffers, in coordination and consultation with the State of North Carolina and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and made modifications to buffers currently used by the Seashore. The Seashore also established corridors around some areas that are closed for wildlife protection. On June 16, 2015 the Seashore released this plan to the public via the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Review and Adjustment of Wildlife Protection Buffers (see link below). Implementation will be phased, with parts of the plan being implemented in 2015. Those portions of the plan requiring additional staffing will be fully implemented in 2016.
The Seashore will launch a series of public discussion meetings late this summer to gather and consider public input on morning openings, extending seasonal ORV routes, and modifying vehicle free areas; and to develop an appropriate plan to implement appropriate changes.
The Seashore reviewed the current beach access construction projects schedule and re-prioritized projects that provide vehicle access points in critical areas.
The Seashore will report back to Congress by December 19, 2015.
More detail...http://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/management/2015ndaact.htmFive public meetings are scheduled:
August 5, 2015, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - Ocracoke School, 1 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke Island, NC 27960
August 6, 2015, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, NC State University Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695
August 10, 2015, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. - Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hwy 12, Buxton, NC 27920
August 11, 2015, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
August 12, 2015, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Embassy Suites Hampton Inn, 1700 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666