Beach Access Issues
April 11, 2008

ORV access supporters are raising funds for legal fees

By IRENE NOLAN




Supporters of ORV access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore have revved up their efforts to raise funds to fight a lawsuit by environmental groups against the National Park Service that threatens to curtail access to popular recreational beaches.

A new Web site for the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) went online this week with information about such things as donating and volunteering.

According to John Couch, president of the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), CHAPA was formed, under the OBPA umbrella, as a steering committee to appropriate funds to legal actions to defend free and open access to seashore beaches.

Members include OBPA, the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, United Mobile Sportsfishermen, and Cape Lookout Mobile Sportsfishing Association.

Currently, CHAPA and Dare and Hyde counties are intervenors in a lawsuit filed by the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, against the National Park Service over its Interim Protected Species Plan.  That plan regulates beach access until a long-term plan is formulated by a negotiated rulemaking committee and an Environmental Impact Statement.

Currently, the plaintiffs in the case have asked U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle for an injunction against driving at six areas – Bodie Island, Cape Point and South Beach, Hatteras Inlet, and the north and south points of Ocracoke – until the lawsuit is settled or there is a long-term plan.

The new CHAPA Web site, spearheaded by Rob Alderman of Buxton, who runs the Hatteras Island Fishing Militia Web site (www.fishmilitia.com), showcases information on CHAPA and volunteering and donating, and it features news and announcements on beach access and the legal actions.

Supporters of ORV access can donate to OBPA on the site through PayPal.  They can also sign up to volunteer at events and fundraisers. 

Alderman led an effort this week – along with volunteers -- to put collection jars in Hatteras Island businesses to raise money for the legal costs.  By the end of this week, there were donation jars in more than 80 businesses, and more were requesting them.

A similar effort to put donation jars in businesses north of Oregon Inlet is being led by Carol Garris of Fishin' Fever tackle shop in Kill Devil Hills.

The T-shirts feature an aerial photo by Don Bowers of a beach access rally on March 22 during which participants spelled out PLEASE HELP US with their ORVs.  The message on the shirt is “I support free & open beaches on Hatteras & Ocracoke in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area.”

All proceeds from the sales of the T-shirts will go the CHAPA.

To order the shirts, to donate, volunteer or get more information, go to http://www.capehatterasapa.com.  For T-shirt information, click on news and announcements.




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