Beach Access and Park Issues
July 29,  2009

Turtle nest vandalism results in expansion of buffer

A new vandalism incident has resulted in expanded buffers of a turtle protection area approximately 1.2 miles south of Rodanthe Pier in a section of beach that is open to pedestrians. 

The incident was discovered on the morning of July 26.  One set of human footprints and one set of tracks from a canine entered and exited the closure from the north.  All closure signs and fencing at the site had been removed and taken from the area, leaving the nest unmarked.  The nest did not appear to be damaged. 

The incident is being investigated by National Park Service law enforcement personnel and has been evaluated by park management. 

The court ordered consent decree mandates that if a confirmed deliberate act that disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants occurs, NPS shall automatically expand the buffers. 

As a result of the violation, the buffer will be expanded 50 meters. 

Under consent decree modifications approved in June, NPS is not required to expand the buffer if information from the public or developed by NPS leads to the apprehension of a violator.  If a buffer has been expanded because of vandalism, as is the case here, and subsequent information leads to violator apprehension, NPS may retract the expansion.

NPS law enforcement personnel continue to investigate the incident.  If anyone has information about any of these violations, please call Dare Community Crime Line at 252-473-3111. 

Destruction of government property and entering a resource closure are federal criminal violations, each subject up to a $5,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment.

For up-to-date information on currently open or closed areas, check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Google Earth maps at:

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