Beach Access Issues
May 29, 2008

Art imitates life:  People are ‘enclosed’ at Midgett Realty


Midgett Realty’s Hatteras office set up a “protected human enclosure” over the Memorial Day weekend.
“Our staff came up with the idea of the ‘Protected Human Enclosure’ as a way to visually represent the feelings of frustration and helplessness we all share about what is being done to our way of life here on the island,” says Beth Midgett, property manager in Hatteras. 

Midgett says the “nest-in” for freedom is modeled after the “sit-in” protests of the past.

“Not only do we feel powerless to help ourselves,” she says, “but we feel powerless to help our guests and homeowners also. They are very shocked and upset when they see the ‘on the ground’ results of the consent decree.  None of us have had a meaningful voice in any of what has occurred, yet we have to live the consequences.  Stress levels are very high as all of us worry about the future of our Island and our protest is helping us relieve some of that stress in a very small way. 

The protected human enclosure is symbolically fenced in with string.  Inside are chairs, coolers, beach toys, and other creature comforts. The area is surrounded by signs warning pedestrians, surfers, pets, and others to stay out.

One sign reads, “Area Closed.  Human Use Area.  Violators of closure areas will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible by the new owners of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area – the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society.”  

 “We were looking for a way to show the absurdity of the situation on what we feel is a very serious weekend, Memorial Day,” says Midgett, “during which all citizens pause to recognize those who have died protecting the rights listed in our Constitution.  The Constitution outlines the rights of all human citizens off the United States of America.” 
“Some times of the day,” she says, “our ‘human nests’ will be manned. Other times our nests may be abandoned. It is performance art, and it is evolving all of the time.” 

Midgett says local young people have worked on the project and sat in the area over the weekend, and “lots and lots” of visitors have shown their support by "Honking to save our Seashore."  

She says the original idea was to have the “human enclosure” just for Memorial Day weekend, but it’s still up and will probably stay there.

She reports the company is looking for a “Big Bird” costume, maybe for July 4 weekend. Big Bird, of course, will have to stay outside the human enclosure.

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