The National Park Service reopened pedestrian access to Cape Point from the east side on Friday, July 17.
A pedestrian access corridor to the Point begins about 60 meters south of Ramp 44.
Although the remaining piping plover chicks in the Cape Point area had
fledged by last week, access to the Point has remained closed due to a
resource protection closure for American oystercatcher chicks south of
Ramp 44. The oystercatcher chicks, which are provided a 200-meter
buffer under the consent decree, have now fledged and the access
corridor has reopened to pedestrians only.
Young oystercatcher fledglings are relatively big birds and weak flyers
and are less capable of getting out of the way of moving vehicles or
pets off leash than are the fledglings of smaller shorebird species.
Therefore, there is a two-week waiting period after AMOY chicks fledge
before an area is reopened to ORVs or pets.
The Park Service said it expects that the access corridor to the Point
will reopen to ORVs and pets in about two weeks, provided no new
resource closures occur in the area.
Under the consent decree, the pre-nesting areas are to remain in place
“until the later of July 15 or two weeks after the last chicks
within the area have fledged, as determined by two consecutive
Other closures, outside of the pre-nesting closures that were
established based on observed shorebird breeding behavior, are to
remain in place, depending upon the circumstances, until at least two
weeks after a nest is lost to see if the birds renest, or until all
chicks have fledged. Colonial waterbird nests and chicks and American
oystercatcher chicks are still present west of Cape Point and in the
eastern portion of South Beach. The pre-nesting areas and other
resource protection areas that were established in these locations
earlier in the season will remain posted until nesting and
chick-rearing activity is completed and the prescribed reopening
criteria have been met.
As a result of the reopening of pedestrian access to Cape Point, the
Park Service says that of 66.8 miles of seashore beaches, approximately
24.7 miles are open to ORVs and pedestrians, 26.8 miles are open to
pedestrians only, 4.2 miles have limited access for pedestrians only
(i.e., “open” areas sandwiched between two closures), and
11.1 miles are fully closed to visitors to protect park
resources. Currently, ramps 4, 30, 34, 38, 43, 44, 49, 55, 59,
67, 68, 70, and 72 are open. Ramps 23, 27 and 45 are closed.
Temporary resource protection areas are established to protect
threatened and endangered species, including piping plovers and sea
turtles, as well as state or federal species of concern, including
American oystercatchers and colonial waterbirds (terns and black