Beach Access and Park Issues
September 4,  2009

Vandalism results in expansion of turtle protection area near Ramp 49

A new vandalism incident has resulted in expanded buffers of a turtle protection area approximately two tenths of a mile northeast of Ramp 49 in a section of beach that is open to off-road vehicles. 

The incident was discovered on the morning of Sept. 3, 2009. 

One set of vehicle tire tracks drove through the perimeter fencing on one side of the closure, continued through the black filter fencing at the nest site, and then ran through more perimeter fencing as the vehicle exited the other side of the closure. 

The tracks missed the nest, which 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. 

Ramp 49 is still open, though vehicles can travel only a tenth of a mile to the northeast or four tenths of a mile to the southwest toward the Frisco line. Other areas of the South Beach are accessible through Ramp 45.

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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