Beach Access Issues
May 19, 2008

Second act of vandalism results in another expansion of buffer

A second vandalism incident to a signed resource protection area was discovered by Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff on Friday, May 16.  Park staff found more than 1,500 feet of fence protecting an American oystercatcher nest had been damaged.  This closure area is located on the ocean side of Hatteras Island, about .8 of a mile north of Buxton in a pedestrian use only zone.

The park ranger called to investigate the vandalism found that 20 fence posts had been broken, five signs pulled out of the sand, and three Carsonite closure signs are missing.  The ranger documented one set of bare footprints going from post to post on the beach and then into the dune area.  The footprints entered the closure area. However, the nest appeared undisturbed.  More than 1,300 feet of fencing was damaged on the west side of the dune and about 274 feet combined on the north and south sides on the open beach. 

A recent consent decree related to shorebird and sea turtle protection at Cape Hatteras National Seashore requires the National Park Service to automatically expand the closure area by 50 meters if a confirmed deliberate act disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants.  Park staff documented the site and expanded the closure 50 meters (164 feet) to the south as ordered in the Consent Decree.  This closure expansion is located in a pedestrian only area and will not affect ORV users.

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.

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