Beach Access Issues
February 5, 2009

Draft maps of ORV routes from negotiating committee now available

The draft maps of where and when off-road vehicles should be allowed on the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are now available on the Dare County Web site.

The maps were devised by three different groups of stakeholders and presented at the Feb. 3 meeting of the Park Service’s negotiated rulemaking committee whose 29 members are trying to formulate a rule for ORVs on seashore beaches.

The maps indicate proposals by the three groups – ORV access groups, a pedestrian only access group, and environmental groups.

When you look at the maps, remember that these are just proposals at this point.

There are three different lines indicating access on the maps.

Line No. 1 was proposed by the ORV access groups.  Line No. 2 comes from a pedestrian access group, and Line No. 3 from environmental groups.

The colors define proposals for areas that are open to ORVs – year-round or seasonally – and areas that are for pedestrians only and closed to ORVs year round or seasonally. 

The color key on each map will tell you that a blue line means pedestrian access is allowed year round and ORV access in the off season.  A green line means that the area is designated as an ORV route – subject, of course, to the nesting of birds and turtles.  A red line means that the area is for pedestrians only year round – no ORV access at any time.

The purple lines of the map delineate areas of special resource concern where protected birds are known to nest.  What is means about closures is still being debated by the committee.
The lines you will see that are labeled VC-A and VC-B deal with two different proposals for closures in front of the island’s villages.  Currently, the northern villages of Avon, Waves, Salvo, and Rodanthe have beaches that are closed to ORVs during the summer season, but open to ORVs during the off season. The southern villages of Frisco and Hatteras are now closed year-round to vehicles.  The negotiating committee has not reached consensus on whether the village beach closures should be treated as they now are or should be treated differently.

The maps were prepared for the National Park Service’s negotiated rulemaking committee by the Dare County Information Technology Department – at no cost to the federal government.

The department’s director Tommie Gray and staff members Greg Ball, Allison Rucker, and Pam Midgett did the work on the maps working between last Thursday, Jan. 29, and the morning of the Tuesday, Feb. 3, negotiated rulemaking meeting at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. They worked all weekend and long days to get the work done for the committee. Then they turned around and made corrections and adjustments requested by the stakeholder groups.

A full report on the Feb. 3 meeting and the committee’s discussion of the maps – and what the color purple really means -- will be posted soon.

To see the maps on proposed ORV routes, go to

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