May 2010 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....05.21.2010 2:00 pm

Park Service closes Ramp 23, south of Salvo

I have just cancelled my fishing trip now that I have read about closing Ramp 23. It's the only place that I fish in the early spring. The economy will suffer due to all the beach closings.

Bill Downey
Zebulon, N.C.

For the last 15 years, my husband and I have enjoyed the Outer Banks and the opportunity to fish from the beach. We camp in Salvo for two months in the spring and a month in the fall, and have driven on the beach for the last five years. It goes without saying that we have spent many thousands of dollars in the area over that time.

We, like so many fishermen, have been increasingly alarmed by the beach closures. Yesterday’s closure of Ramp 23 was the most upsetting of all. It showed the arrogance that the Park Service shows toward fishermen.

There were several of us fishing just south of Ramp 23, and we were aware of activity. Some fishermen had been escorted by law enforcement from north of Ramp 23 before they closed that area.

The Rangers waited until high tide and then closed the ramp, never having the decency to tell any of the fishermen. They put the stakes up, strung the string, and left! We were shocked. How hard would it have been for one of them to ride down and tell the first fisherman that they were going to leave it open for another half hour so we could pack up and leave? When we realized we were trapped, we had to form a caravan and drive to Ramp 27 at high tide through very perilous conditions. During the exodus, several trucks we stuck in the narrows and a law enforcement ranger had to help them out.

To us, it was a great example of the disregard that the Park Service shows the users of the beach. We realize we are powerless to fight the anti-use organizations and the federal and state governments, but a little common courtesy would have made the situation somewhat easier.

We probably have spent our last time in North Carolina. They win, but majority loses.

Susan Champion
Montgomery, N.Y.

I wish the Park Service would show some consideration to the fishermen already on the beach when they decide to close an area.  I was about 100 yards south of Ramp 23 when it was closed. No one bothered to let me know they were closing the ramp. Therefore I had to drive down to Ramp 27 to exit the beach. I have been coming to this area for 40 years and have never been treated like this before. What happened to our rights?

Gary Harris
Rustburg , Va.

We understand the closing of areas for wildlife. What we do not understand is why we were not told that the ramp was to be closed so we could have left in a somewhat better mood. As you know from the area from ramps 23 to 27 is not very good at or near high tide. We went out about two hours before high tide with water washing up to the tracks. The Park Service should notify sections of beach before closing any area.

Ron Bennett
Rocky Mount, Va.

I was among those who were blocked inside Ramp 23 without warning.  I have no trouble navigating the sand on the upper part of this location, but the sand is much deeper and softer as you get near Ramp 27. I never venture down that far if I can avoid it.  Well, thanks to the total disregard of the Park Service, I was forced to take that route. You would think that the rangers would have warned us before closing the ramp. I guess they do not care as much for human beings (i.e. taxpayers) as they do for the birds. I doubt if I will ever visit the Outer Banks again in the Spring. Maybe this is what the powers-that-be want.

I certainly hope not. A public apology is in order concerning this breech of common courtesy.

John Hood
Morganton, N.C.

Ramp 23 closes just in time for Mother's Day and Memorial Day! We are slowly becoming another Portsmouth Island as our National Park Service strips us of our rights to enjoy these holidays with our families. There are no words to express my disappointment in my country. Where in the world is justice?

Last summer I called the National Park Service to find out why Ramp 23 was closed. I was told the rangers were closing the ramp to observe possible nesting activity. It's Mother's Day Weekend. Many plans for family activities on our National Seashore Recreational Area must be cancelled. We can access the beach if we are physically able to climb over the dunes -- dunes that we are supposed to stay off of as they protect our island from the weather. Is this so the NPS can observe for possible nesting activity? How do they know where birds might possibly nest? The citizens here used to be the NPS's greatest resource. In the past we have worked together to protect nests because we love our wildlife as well! The disrespect that the NPS has shown for the people is despicable.

Lynn Jordan

I am a new fisherman in the Outer Banks area. On May 8, 2010, I was fishing in the area of Ramp 23. I saw some park officials near the ramp. We finished fishing in the afternoon and prepared to leave the beach. That was when we found that the ramp was closed to vehicular traffic! No one on the beach was informed that the ramp was about to be closed! I could not believe the arrogance of the park officials by ignoring the fishermen on the beach.

I understand that comments were overheard from park officials indicating that they thought it was some kind of fun to close the area without informing the fishermen already on the beach that the ramp was closing! As a retired state trooper from my state, I felt it was incredibly arrogant of the park officials to refuse to inform the fishing citizens of their actions!

I am expecting a response from the National Park Service of Hatteras Island that this was an incredible mistake by the personnel who sealed off the ramp without any notice. I am so upset by this breach of public relations that I am joining every organization that supports free access to the beaches of Hatteras. My family and I have come here for two years on the encouragement of good friends and spent great of money. Why must we be subjected to the apparent arrogance and indifference of park officials just because we are fishermen who would never bother a nesting bird, endangered or otherwise?

Jack R. Ostmark
Highland, N.Y.

I know the Park Service employees are only doing what they are told. However when Ramp 23 was completely closed they could have handled it differently.  There were people on the beach at 23 when the ramp was closed.  They could have been given a chance to leave the beach before the closure instead of driving to Ramp 27 to get off.

Donna Lucas
Salem, Va.

Has anyone else noticed that the northern end of the Ramp 23 closure is right at the end of the South Beach subdivision? When the first closure violation occurs, the mandated buffer expansion will cut off access from some very expensive rentals. I know I would be very upset if I paid $8,000 for an oceanfront house only to find the beach in front of the house is closed...

Will the NPS actually cut off access to beaches in the villages?

John Contestable

(Editor’s note:  Please see the blog, “Shooting the Breeze,” at the top of the front page for the National Park Service response to the letters about the closing of Ramp 23.)

First vandalism of nesting season results in buffer expansion

While I despise anyone who ignores these beach closures, I would suggest installing Web-cams or other monitoring devices to catch these morons.  Why punish the bunch for a couple of bad apples?

Todd Diamante
Columbia,  Md.

More on Beach Access Issues

I hope the oil from the Gulf does not make it to Cape Hatteras, which sounds possible if an early storm pushes it towards shore. I'm sure the entire population of the island would be mobilized to save the wildlife and beaches. I hope the volunteers would be able to access the beaches. Where will Defenders of Wildlife and Audobon be? Still in the courthouse or on the beach helping the plovers? I'm sure we all know the answer!

Keith McCabe
Newport Beach, Calif.

It seems I've been asked for my input numerous times, but I guess I ask myself, “Why spend the time as no one ever listens to the people who pay for vacations on Hatteras.” I've written letters and they go into a black hole. Maybe all resident and non-resident people should be kicked off the island. Give it all back to the birds. Acorn-eaters would surely like that!

It's so disappointing that such legislation is mandated. I feel like the Gestapo has descended to Hatteras Island. Sure does not make it as desirable to spend my vacation in North Carolina. Common sense might suggest that there should be some respectful way that people who drive vehicles and wish to fish can coexist in a responsible manner.

I, for one, am very disappointed in our government and the state of North Carolina for allowing do-gooders to take the island in the name of the birds and turtles.

Robert  Peterson
Hendersonville, Tenn.

After receiving the newsletter from Hatteras Realty, I tried unsuccessfully to send an e-mail to the Web site given in the newsletter and spent most of an afternoon trying to access that Web sit – I was unable to access it. I think this is a deliberate plan by the Park Service to limit e-mails from the public.   I am saddened by the information given by Hatteras Realty about Alternative F and feel that all of Hatteras Island will suffer from it.  Although I'm only a summer resident, I have a special affection for all the island, and it angers me to see birds given more protection than humans.

Nancy Marsh
Plantation, Fla.

We're members of the Audubon Society, support them in most things, and consider saving the world's wildlife to be a top global priority.  However, on Hatteras Island, people, pets, and wildlife have co-existed for generations.  The challenge is to maintain a symbiotic, balanced relationship so all species can benefit.

 Hatteras Island is one of the few places where strong people with energy and spirit can hone their skills against the awesome forces of nature and learn to respect and harmonize with water, wind, and weather.  It can also be enjoyed by young families and older people who walk with their dog companions on the beach away from the stresses and crowding of the city.  It's a place for spiritual renewal.

 The cost of reducing this rare opportunity for humans needs to be balanced with what can be gained for the wildlife.  Why not more strictly discourage disrespectful behavior and encourage everyone to watch out for the wildlife?  The young boy fishing at the Point with his father might be inspired to live his life as an advocate for natural places.  And the bait they leave behind might feed a piping plover family for a week.  I'm not willing to forgo that opportunity.

 Please reconsider your restrictions in this case.

Karen Kraly
Bethesda, Md.

Why is it necessary to close the beaches to save the birds that are nesting? The birds nest in the dunes, not on the open beaches. Also, why would you kill one animal to save another? God intended for all animals to live together. Our ecological system is based on this opinion. Why should a small number of bird lovers destroy the livelihood of the families in this area.  How are they to make a living if there are no tourists? Are the birds more important than humans?

Carolyn Harris
Rustburg, Va.

I support the Coalition for Beach Access position statement. It would be devastating to the island’s economy to close this paradise.

Jennifer Walker

I support the Coalition for Beach Access position statement. It would be devastating to the island’s economy to close this paradise.

Tracy Walker
Maple, N.C.

Park Service closes Ramp 44 to Cape Point

Once again, looks like the birds will keep me from being able to get to Cape Point during my vacation. Hopefully there will still be some beach open to us ORVers.

Toby Turner

Chesapeake, Va.

Well, so much for fishing on the Banks all summer. I was surprised the Point was open as long as it was. I guess all good things come to an end sometime. Hopefully there are some hot spots open by mid -June. That long term ORV plan really needs to hurry up .I want things back to normal – back to when I could find an open spot wherever and just fish. Now I have to get to the beach early and hope there is still room.

Newark, Del.

This is just crazy. The National Park Service and the Audubon Society do not care about the citizens or the people of Cape Hatteras. The main reason people go the Cape Hatteras is to drive on the beach or fish. No people, no money, foreclosures, businesses close. It will be a ghost town with no beaches and additional occupancy taxes. Someone needs to bring some logical alternatives to the table before it is too late for the Cape Hatteras area and its people!  What happens, when humans become extinct to the area?

We have been vacationing to Cape Hatteras for the last 15 years now and have finally been able to purchase a property in Hatteras village, to be able to further enjoy the beaches that we love so much. It's regrettable, however, that if this beach issue continues, we have a beautiful property that will become worthless, as will everyone else’s homes and businesses in the area.  Someone else said it best when the they said, “People get real. The people who are vandalizing the nesting areas have to be the Park Service who should be supporting and working with the people of Cape Hatteras, not against them.” There has to be a way to have some kind of happy medium.  People come to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for the beach, and without the beach, most of the people will not come. Why can't the economy be looked at more closely and show the right figures?

Janet O'Brien
Sicklerville,  N.J.

Well, to start things off, I am a wildlife respecter. However, this has gotten completely out of control.  Piping plovers are not a native species in this area and they flourish in other places.  These are shorebirds. They nest in sand. When these enclosures are not removed, what happens?  They fill in with grass and brush, forcing these birds to go farther and farther out into the beach.  Any one who remembers the Point 25 years ago can tell you that. The saltwater pond was completely surrounded by sand and birds.  These "environmentalists" are actually making it harder, not only for the birds to find a safe nesting ground, but it has taken so much away from the people who have made this their home.  After all, this problem didn't start until people with a little bit of knowledge and no common sense got involved.  A little knowledge is dangerous.

Bill Beaumont
Oakdale, Pa.

Nobody in power is doing anything about this closure situation.  Regular Joe's don't have the money to hire high-powered lawyers to fight the high-powered, Hollywood-backed, special-nterest-group-backed SELC lawyers.  North Carolina politicians don't seem to care.  They must be on the special interest group contribution list.  Business is suffering.  People won't come to vacation.  NPS doesn't care.  The consent decree judge doesn't care. 

SELC should be fighting BP in the Gulf if they really want to accomplish something meaningful. 

I pray that a northeaster comes through and wipes out all of the nesting areas.  If the birds by instinct build near the water, they deserve to be extinct.  The NPS can slaughter all of the animals in the National Seashore and Recreation Area that they want, but they can't stop the ghost crabs, which find the eggs and the chicks a tasty treat.  Maybe that's what nature had in mind, after all.

Hey NPS wake up! No beach access, closed beaches equals no need for your job to continue.  I hear fast food restaurants in Nags Head are looking for summer help but you may not be qualified. 

Paradise has been lost.

Bill Stavenger
Chesapeake, Va.

Serendipity:  Relocated, renovated, redecorated, and ready for the rest of its life

I think it would be a wonderful idea if they held an open house so we could tour the house.  It looks awesome.

Rosa-Alice Mayo

Wow, it looks great. Glad it was saved and preserved. I hope I can stay in it some time.

Walkertown, N.C.

It is just beautiful! I have been coming to OBX for 15-plus years. Serendipity was always the "entrance" and I thought it was a lovely house before. I was sad at the thought it may be gone, but it's a very happy thing to see her all fixed up! We were there (OBX) last weekend and had to see the renovation. Beautiful!

Sue Loveless
Williamsburg, Va.

Good story! And the house looks great all gussied back up.
Joe Ward
Louisville, Ky.

I was wondering if you can tell me what real estate company is handling the rental of the Inn at Rodanthe?

Virginia Gunn


Absolutely amazing. How would I go about getting information on renting Serendipity?

Sue Young

Kittanning, Pa.

Beautiful!! If the house were mine, I would not want to rent it out. Thanks for the pictures.


Shelby, N.C.

One person dies when boat capsizes in Hatteras Inlet, but five are rescued

Mr. Mahler of Bumpass, Va., I am the wife of Capt. Aaron and feel compelled to respond to your crass and unfeeling comments (published in the May 7, 2010, letters).  My husband has lived his entire life in and on the water. I think the "no-brainer" as you refer to has nothing to do with what happened that day, but to know what to say and when to say it.  Your comments greatly offend me. Please think before you speak.

Tara Aaron

Portsmouth Island Homecoming 2010

Thanks once again Don Bowers for a wonderful slide show!

Lou Wengenroth
Middletown, N.Y.

Gambler takes top prize money in Hatteras Village Offshore Open

This is great!  I love following fishing news.  Go Wayne and the Gambler!

Madison Heights, Va.

Stranded whale in Hatteras Inlet is euthanized

I can't help but take notice of this statement by Michelle Bogardus. And I am not picking on her, but just thinking out loud.

"However, the alternative is letting the animal, which has used up all of its energy to beach itself, just drown, which is inhumane."

Didn't they imprison Dr. Jack Kevorkian for thinking the same way about terminally ill humans, who couldn't be saved or cured?

Rob Alderman

A tale of two Banker ponies

What a beautiful story, typical of the love and devotion that make the Outer Banks the richest place, in spite of her ongoing battles. I can't wait to cross over the bridge in July. Maybe someday I will find a way to call it home.

Kathleen Murtaugh
Newbury, Ohio

Logo for local seafood marketing campaign is chosen

Love the new seafood logo, it's adorable, says it all!

Wicomico, Va.

Other comments

I enjoy reading about Hatteras Island and once was a resident about 15 years ago. I am wondering what ever happened to Honest Bill's in Rodanthe? It was a tackle and pizza place owned by a salty ol' guy named Bill Sawyer. The establishment is still noted in one of the state's guides but not in the newer ads in your paper. Just curious if there is any new info on the place.

Houston, Tex.

Greetings.  My wife and I have been coming to your beautiful village (Hatteras) for some 35 years now. Thanks to The Island Free Press we can be informed even when we can't be with you.

Dick Dehoff
Hanover, Pa.

New Letters to the Editor....05.07.2010 4:45 pm

More on ORV issues

The purpose of coming to Hatteras is to drive out on the beach and have all your necessities for eating and cold drinks at your fingertips. Fishing accessories are easier to have in your truck instead of carrying four rods and accessories to the ocean. If they close down the beaches to vehicular traffic, I may as well stay in Virginia Beach, instead of coming to Hatteras and spending on average of $100 to $200 over a weekend. I have a trailer in Buxton that if the beach is closed, I will probably sell at a loss because I have no reason to come down.

My not coming down personally wont make much of a difference, but when you put 2,000 other people to that list or more, you have an impact on the local community and economy that will devastate them. The park rangers better start looking for another place of employment. I find it hard to believe after coming down there for 30 years, that anyone could consider closing the beaches. Hatteras is a wonderful place to visit and I would consider living there some day, but without the ability to drive on the beach, there is no way that I would I consider coming there for any other reason than to visit some friends in Buxton who are like my extended family. But with that said, I would not spend a nickel more than I had to while on the island.

Mike Paynter
Virginia Beach, Va.
I once had a lot of respect for the National Park Service. They are just getting greedy and seem to think that they need all of the beach on top of the hundreds of miles that are already protected. It would be nice if they didn't doom themselves and sound conservation practices with such zealous behavior. Even the most conservation minded people will turn against them and discontinue working for the same goal.

Thomas Dunn
Gaithersburg, Md.

Closing the beaches to vehicles and people will have numerous devastating effects on the local Outer Banks economy. If we start closing the beaches to our citizens and recreational fishermen, then we will soon see a decline in people planning vacations and trips to the area. And then we will see the local business owners starting to close up. I'm not a scientist and do enjoy the birds, but some common sense is needed here to save the birds, but, more importantly, save the locals and their businesses.

Please exercise some good judgment and common sense and look hard at the overall impact that a total closure would have on the Outer Banks. To give one side total control or say-so would be foolish and have lasting affects on the already stressed Outer Banks economy.

Matt Tynes
Clayton, N.C.

Imposing a 1,000-meter area around a nesting site is ludicrous! Where do the poor people with handicaps fit?  They can't walk over a long stretch of beach with fishing gear! National parks are supposed to be for people to enjoy wildlife, not so you can lock them out.

Pam Knight,
Norfolk, Va.

Not extending the comment period is wrong. North Carolina depends on tourism and the beaches. The limit for use of the Outer Banks is wrong. There has been little notification in the press or TV. People need to know and respond to what the government is doing.

Bill Morrison
Topsail Beach, N.C.

When our beaches close, there is no business. When there is no business there is no money. My grandpa (Stanley Meekins) was telling me that we are going to have to move away from all my friends and family. I grew up here, my grandpa grew up here, and my great-grandpa grew up here (Luther Meekins). All I ask is to find another way to protect the beaches without closing them.

Christian Meekins

Preserve beach access. Need to keep beaches open for socio-economic reasons.

Mike Daughtrey
Moyock, N.C.

One person dies when boat capsizes in Hatteras Inlet, but five are rescued

I was moved to tears this morning reading the article on the survivors of the capsizing giving thanks.  Lots and lots of us will want to send thanks and kudos to Capts. Stowe, Gray, and Richardson.
Judy Latham

It's no cliche - treat every day as a gift.  I'm so sorry for the Aaron family's tragic loss. 

Hal Kipperman
Yorktown Heighs, N.Y.

I wanted to pass my thoughts and prayers to everyone involved. Having been the previous Executive Petty Officer at USCG Station Hatteras Inlet/Ocracoke, I know the inlet well, and it can be a dangerous place to work and play. I am sorry for the loss of life, and my condolences to the family. Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are a unique place where everyone looks after each other. I am thankful that there are still people out there like Capt. D.M. Gray, Capt. Steve Richardson, and the Coasties who have the heart to care for strangers and help those in need. There are no words to describe people like them. God bless and be safe out there. 

Erik Watson
Bodega Bay, Calif.

I am the Father of the 6-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl rescued, as well as one of the rescued. I terribly regret the loss of Capt. Aaron’s father but had it not been for Capt. Aaron and his incredibly brave son, Shane, there is no doubt that my children and I would not be here today. God bless to all of those involved in the rescue efforts. Thank You. I owe you my life and that of my children. God bless you all.

Ernest "Lanny" Staples
Holly Springs, N.C.

I have taken my 22-foot CC Mako out of Oregon, Topsail, Richs, Masonboro, and Carolina Beach inlets many times. There are three things that one must know --1. your limits, 2. the limits of your boat, 3. how to read the water.

Five people on the 23-foot boat was a compromise to begin with, if you could encounter rough conditions in the inlet. . If a person was on that "bridge tower," then the center of gravity/buoyancy also entered the picture. If it was your decision to fish near the inlet where there were breaking waves, then wearing life preservers would be a no-brainer.

I have seen as many as four boats capsized in Oregon Inlet on one day. The tragedy is that there will always be more because we can not protect people from themselves. Seamanship education is one thing. Getting people to practice it is another.  

Ted Mahler
Bumpass, Va.

Bob Aaron was a wonderful person and will be missed.  Our prayers and sympathies go out to his family and friends.  We are so sorry for your loss. 

Tara and Chris Fishe
Virginia Beach, Va.

If the point (False Point at Hatteras Inlet) was not closed because of birds, then there would have been about 100 surf fisherman who would have seen the incident.  That being the case, maybe no life would have been lost.

Tracy Derbin
Frisco, NC

We were so sorry to hear about the death of Capt. Aaron's father due to the capsizing of the Tide Runner. We were on the Tide Runner with Capt. Aaron on Thursday, April 29, and he is a great captain with lots of personality. We also heard him talking to his father about the weekend charters he had and his invitation for him to come along.

Our hearts go out to Capt. Aaron and his family. It was a blessing that the other passengers could be saved. Our prayers and blessings go out to all involved. Thank you to the other captains for looking out for Aaron. We hope for the best for his future also.

Monty and Rebecca Fronk
New Cumberland, Pa.

My brother Randall worked alongside the victim, Bob Aaron, and expresses what a shock it is to lose a good friend of 30-plus years.  I worked alongside Capt. Steve Richardson in the ‘70s on a sportfishing boat in Virginia Beach.  What we can all take away from this tragic incident is that the water is extremely dangerous, and it can change on a dime. Of equal importance is the compassion and teamwork demonstrated by an unspoken and informal brotherhood of watermen who suddenly put aside any differences that may have existed and came to rescue.  Thanks to their efforts, lives were saved in this incident.  We are all grateful for all the heroic actions, but also mourn the tragic loss of Bob Aaron. 

Mike Gunn
Winchester, Va.

My husband and I were in the harbor that day with are 23-foot sailfish boat. We watched as the Coast guard left Oden’s Dock with their sirens roaring. Because of the winds, we decided to stay at the dock, but several times thought of going out. What happened to this family saddened all of us, and we are keeping them in our prayers. We are so sorry for their loss.

Mary King
Rochester, N.Y.

Portsmouth Island Homecoming 2010: The island lives  -- even if for only one day

This was my first homecoming, but not my last. I am related to the Newtons on Portsmouth Island. A great-uncle Jesse was a lifesaver, and my great-grandfather and his father lived there.  My great-grandfather later was a lighthouse keeper at Cape Lookout.  I will be back as often as possible in the future. This island feels like home to me. I think it's in my blood. I feel at peace there like no where else I've ever been.

Catherine Newton Miller
Raleigh,  N.C.

East Carolina Health considering closing one of its Hatteras medical centers

If it does close, then you better make it a senior center. We really need one. How about where the old Department of Social Services is? Or how about in the new Social Services Building? There is a lot of unused space in there.

Tracy Derbin

Hatteras Island shipwreck appears and disappears
The shipwreck looks amazing! I just want to reach out and touch it. I imagine what it looked like when it wrecked and who was aboard and where it came from.

Angie Builta
Downs, Ill.

More about Serendipity

I enjoy your newspaper so much. The Outer Banks are amazing !
I am pleased to know someone is giving a lot of  TLC to Serendipity. The home is magnificent and the movie, “Nights of Rodanthe” is special to so many people. What a great idea to rebuild and refurbish the home for lasting enjoyment, especially those who fell in love with the movie.
Thank you for allowing me to receive the Island Free Press. 
Many blessings.

Dorothy Clarke
Franklin, KY

New Letters to the Editor....05.03.2010
:15 am

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Please pray for the folks on the Gulf Coast. What a nightmare! Oh, please pray for them!

Kathy Freeborn
West Grove, Pa.

Going in the wrong direction?

I have been vacationing in the Outer Banks for close to 40 years.  My wife and I own a home in Kitty Hawk, and, as odd as it sounds, we rent homes in Hatteras with friends periodically while on vacation. I have always been drawn to the Outer Banks since I was a kid for the fishing, unexplored beaches, nature, and the kindness of the people who live there. The last several years it seems like we are going in the wrong direction. There is more new construction in places that were once protected areas, plans for offshore oil drilling and I have never seen so many drug stores in my life. I may be totally off-key, but it seems like to me that greed is taking over and slowly destroying the habitat and the way of life that has drawn so many people to the Outer Banks in the first place.     

Jack Stephan
Pasadena, Md.

Park Service denies request for extension of DEIS comments

We do need more time. I attended the Raleigh, N.C., meeting which was held for public comments, and I thought there would have been more of a turn out than there was. Unfortunately, maybe a lot of folks do not know that we have less than two weeks now to register public comments. How in the world can we get this word out to the public about how crucial it is that the voice of the public be heard? Could the politicians hold a press conference and get the media's attention? Could ads be placed in the newspapers in this last week’s push? I even have been trying to contact Jimmy Buffett to make a stand with us on this issue, so that we will still have access to our national seashore. I think the only thing that might help is if someone could uncover some type of scandal that the attorneys and members of the special interest groups are profiting in some way by all of this crap they are cramming down the throats of the public on behalf of a few nesting pairs of birds!

It is absolutely shameful what this is doing to the local economy and the people there. Anyone can see the shame of it if they look past the bleeding hearts crap, or if they actually ever made a trip to Hatteras or Ocracoke to see for themselves how remote, unused, and unspoiled it actually is. Someone at the Raleigh meeting made a fantastic point that denying access to the shoreline at Cape Hatteras is like Americans going to Yellowstone National Park but are denied access to see Old Faithful.
Jimmy Buffett, where are you? Do a free concert and get the Parrottheads riled up to comment. Now is the time or forever hold your peace!

Karen Wheless
Raleigh, N.C.

There are so many factual gaps in this document that the NPS knew about, or should have known about, it makes me wonder how much of the DEIS was actually written by SELC or its benefactors. Is it a requirement for the NPS employees to write the EIS?

Frank Clark

To change the culture of two islands, the National Park Service gets three extra months. The people affected, no dice.

Jim Harris
Southern Shores

More beach access issues

This has something to do with “big money.”  I doubt very strongly that these legislators are representing nature. Probably more interested in how much money can be made. It's a good thing the ocean is so formidable, making it impossible to build huge hotels. Watch out now that these folks have a clue there will be some fat cats looking for some exploitive opportunities.  I wonder if any of them have even been down to the beach?

Ed Eichinger
Arlington, Tex.

Since the 1960s, my parents have brought our family to the beach for vacations. Now that I'm an adult, my family has continued this tradition. We were always taught to respect the small fenced in squares along the beaches where birds or turtles were nesting. We nver saw anyone tear down or run over those areas with vehicles. Why does it have to be any different now? Why ruin the tourism of Currituck, Dare, and Hyde counties by not allowing any access to the beaches? One other question to answer: Hasn’t the Pea Island Wildlife Reserve already been set aside for birds and turtles to nest without any access to those beaches? They don't need to take more beaches away. Leave the beaches alone and stop trying to regulate everything in our lives. Thank you for allowing me to express my feelings and comment on this most important matter.

Laura Jeffries
Elizabeth City, N.C.

Please do not close down out beaches. It will be devastating for the people and businesses of the Outer Banks.  My family and I visit Buxton every weekend to fish and walk on the beach. Do not take this away from us.

Diane Brown
Moyock, N.C.

Please fight to protect the ORV usage. I have been going to the Outer Banks for the past six years. My wife’s family has been going for 20 years. I look forward every year to getting some surf fishing done with my wife and her family. Each year we go, we usually encounter a bird nesting closure. Closures of the entire beach are completely out of hand.

I feel the ultimate restrictions on the beach ramp closures will greatly affect the economic stability of the small towns on the Outer Banks. These businesses depend on the fishermen, tourists, windsurfers, and other vacationers that visit this wonderful place every year.

Please fight to keep the beaches open!

Harrisonburg, Va.

As a property owner in Hatteras for 20 years, it saddens me to see the island changing in such a way that will eventually change the appeal of the island. This ORV issue, as well as environmental issues, is nothing more than big government forcing its will on this island. It’s a shame that a beach taxpayers paid for may not be available for them to walk on in the future.

Roger Lambert
Concord, N.C.

Please keep our beach open. We love the birds, turtles, and fishing. We will help protect all the wildlife on the beach, just keep it open so we can return to the good old days -- crabbing, catching bait, a safe place for our kids and grandkids to swim and play. The point and sound access are important to all of us on the island of Ocracoke. Let us return to the days of our "first light fishing" and watching the sun rise in the a.m. Please!

Marie Riddick
Warsaw and Ocracoke, N.C.

First vandalism of nesting season results in buffer expansion

Well, here we go again.  It seems to me that the organization that is making all the rules, imposing all the restrictions and making all the noise should also be responsible for those of the public who are foolish enough to break some of the rules that organization made.  Why should all the innocent public be punished for the misdeeds of the few?  This kind of misguided justice was used in the schools and discontinued long ago.  If you want to make the rules, you should be responsible to apprehend those who break those rules and not punish "the public" for the errors of the few. Spend the money, do the job correctly, or do not impose any "rules."  It is time the people of the Outer Banks to be shown some respect for their forbearance and not punished for the failure of the Park Service to do their job effectively.

L. D. Cullen

Why not do anything unless they catch the person that did it?  I do not trust the tree huggers.  I think they are doing this. Why the park service does not catch anyone is beyond me.  Come to think of it, maybe they don't want too!

Jack Hart
Hickory, N.C.

All of us who enjoy the beach know who is doing this.  It's the people who want to close down the beaches. The park service should really look into this. They want the beaches closed. They are doing the damage.  It's a no brainer. Keep our beaches open!

James Taylor
Wake Forest, N.C.

Who has the most to gain from this type of vandalism? I'll say what no one else will say out loud, or print out loud, if you will.  Sounds like an inside job from these environmental whackos!  These people will not stop until they get what they want.  They have no morals.

Jessie McAninch
Pittsburgh, Pa.

People wonder why the government and the state have laws. This is a good example of someone who doesn't have any respect for others, himself, or for the environment. It is a true (jerk) who would do something like that. It makes it hard for other people who enjoy and love to ride on the beach.

Rickey Bedsaul
Ennice, N.C.

So once again are we positive it wasn’t the very group that says they are there to protect that deliberately vandalizes just so they can expand the boundaries? And how much space was closed off for one pair of breeding birds? 

Pat Breeden
Wilmington, N.C.

Maybe someone can help me with this . My family and I rented a beach house right on the beach in Salvo, and one evening while on the deck, here comes a park service 4-by-4 ( white with green stripes ) driving between our house and the top of the dune through all the vegetation, sending wildlife scurrying off from their path and going quite fast . I thought everyone was supposed to stay off the dune and vegetation? Maybe they are the ones that ran over the signs on the beach, and what about the wildlife?

Bob Fiok
Ligonier, Pa.

One person dies when boat capsizes in Hatteras Inlet

May God be with the family of all the people who were in the boat and thank God that D. M. Gray was near.

D. Robinson

Thanks for your efforts and all the fantastic work you do.

Tom Hood
Fort Mill, S.C.

D.M. Gray is fearless and Richardson is brilliant. Thank God for both of them!

Kathy Clark
Norfolk, Va.

A tragic event but a good story!

Joe Ward
Louisville, Ky.

Portsmouth Island Homecoming 2010: The island lives even if for only one day

I really loved Anne's article and Donnie's photos of the homecoming.  Thank you for making me feel like I had attended.

Liz Browning Fox

As president of Friends of Portsmouth Island, I want to thank you for a great article on our Homecoming. Your in-depth description of the events made me feel like I was still there. Everyone who reads this article will undoubtedly want to be at the 2012 Homecoming. Thanks again.

Marjorie Spruill
Hurdle Mills, N.C.

Owners explore opening part of the Frisco Pier for business this summer

My husband and I have been vacationing on Hatteras Island for 17 years. We normally stay in Frisco, for the beach and the pier. We often talked about our one trip to Garden City, S.C., and how great the pier was. The pier house sold drinks, sandwiches, ice cream, snacks, beach toys, sunblock, ice, fishing bait and tackle -- everything you need for fishing and the beach. Plus they had live entertainment in the evening. I would love to see Frisco pier rebuilt and become the best on the Island. It could be your big money maker. I pray someone will help you find the funding you need. Frisco needs its pier back. We like to fish, and we like to be near the pier. This year we are staying in Avon. I wish you and you family the best. Someone please help this family bring Frisco’s pier back!

Maryann Hooper
Wenonah, N.J.

July 4 fireworks are cancelled on Hatteras and Ocracoke

To letter writer Alexy Abdo: A barge show would be terrific. I wonder what it would cost to have an appropriately sized barge brought here for a one-day event? Barge rental, tugboat, crew, dock rental, etc. For a one-day event, it would have to be here at least a week to get the inspections. Cost prohibitive, I expect.

Kenny Brite

Guest Column:  Schooner Windfall sails into the final sunset

Farewell, sweet Windfall! Godspeed on your new venture, Rob and Sundae!

Helen Mills Hudson

As I read this article sitting at my desk in Pittsburgh, my computer wallpaper is a picture of the Windfall sailing across a beautiful Ocracoke sunset.  This is what gets me through the other 51 weeks of the year.  Thanks for everything to Rob and his crew.

Sean Adams
Finleyville, Pa.

I have been a "seasick, carsick" person all my life, and a couple of years ago my sister and another dear friend took the sunset sail out of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake. I was terrified that I would puke everywhere, when, in fact, it was the nicest of the very few water trips besides the Ocracoke ferry that I have ever taken! Not only was the sunset picture perfect, but we had the privilege of watching the ship from Jamestown enter the area. (Her name slips my memory now.) I had a fabulous time! I hope to sail again, not on a long voyage, but the sunset one, which is perfect for seasick people like me upon the calm, glass-like waters of the sound.

Hazel Zinn-Day
Woodville, Va.

We are planning to move to Ocracoke within the next couple of years and I had in the back of my mind how much fun it would be to volunteer as crew member on the Windfall.  You've dashed my dreams, but a new dream springs to mind - volunteer on the Windfall II! 

Gary Davis
Worthington, Ohio

Report on Judge Boyle’s status conference on the consent decree

Judge Boyle, you stated that the people on Hatteras Island were "complaining about something that's not impacting on them." With all due respect, sir, our beaches are not as easily accessible as the northern beaches in Dare County. The main tourist attraction here is ORV access to the beaches. If folks can't drive out to the beach, they will stop coming to Hatteras Island. The economy here is dependent upon tourism to exist. The decision you make will impact the economy here in a tremendous way. Please don't disregard the rights of the people to enjoy our beautiful beaches. Humans and wildlife have coexisted beautifully on Hatteras Island for years. We just want to continue to do so.

Lynn Jordan

Giving thanks: A photo essay by Don Bowers

Really enjoyed this. It made me anxious to get back to Hatteras.

Dave Coe
Cotignac, France 

Winter surf report:  The swell was swell but water temps were not

These pictures are wonderful. Daniel Pullen did a super job, and they are once again are fantastic.

Sallye Astle

Daniel, just wanted to say that I always enjoy looking at your surf and ocean pics. They are the best. It's amazing how you capture the waves at just the right time and show the surfers doing their thing. Being from Ohio, I make it down to Hatteras only once or twice a year, but it's always nice to see your photos. It helps fill the void when I'm not there and makes me realize why I always come back. Respect.

Kurt Maschmeier
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Federal agencies propose to move North Carolinas loggerheads to endangered list

Does anyone know how many of these turtles there are? If no one knows how many there are, how can anyone declare them to be endangered? Now up here in Pennsylvania, I could see them being endangered. Of course we don't have any piping plovers or oystercatchers either.

George Sobotka/Briner
Quarryville, Pa.

Guest Column: Anybody for a swim?

It is unfortunate that a gift of this magnitude has yet to be given to Hatteras residents. I strongly encourage officials to move this project forward as quickly as possible.

Bill Barley

I have known of this project for some time.  I cannot believe it hasn't happened. I also cannot believe the number of people on this island who can't swim. I will write to contacts and watch for something to be done.

Betty Boyer

Building oyster reefs promotes jobs and the environment

Thanks so much for this article.  We have been watching them working on the oyster beds from our house in Indian Town.  We were very curious about what they were doing and now we can appreciate this fantastic work. What an awesome project!

Betty Russell
Martinsburg, W.Va.

East Carolina Health considering closing one of its Hatteras medical centers

No bridge, no beach, no health care facility.  What’s next?


Outer Banks Angling: A memorable day of fishing in kayaks on the Diamond Shoals

Your story was sent to my brother, Harry, and I from Mark Schperjahn in Richmond. Please tell Ruddy that we are truly pleased to see and hear that he is still kickin' around and doing crazy stuff. Having grown up in the Ocean View area and "misspent my youth" around the Chesapeake Bay, Sandbridge, and the Outer Banks, I thoroughly enjoyed reading of your adventurous day together. What a great time to have. All of the water around here is land-locked and not quite the same. Since moving to Arizona 10 years ago, I have traded in my boat and fishing rods for horses and cowboy hats.

Alan Wise
Cave Creek, Ariz.


2010 Previous Letters to the Editor
April 2010

March 2010
February  2010

January 2010

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