National Park Service has begun establishing its 2012 pre-nesting areas
for shorebirds, as is required under the final off-road vehicle
management plan and special regulation, which became effective on Feb.
Pre-nesting areas for piping plovers, American oystercatchers, and
Wilson’s plovers were installed by March 15. The areas for
colonial waterbirds will be installed by April 15.
The areas are marked with symbolic fencing and on-site signage.
Seashore staff conducted its annual assessment of breeding habitat for
nesting shorebirds between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7. The pre-nesting closure
areas are based on the recent breeding history of the respective
protected species at the seashore and the actual habitat conditions
observed during the annual assessment.
At most pre-nesting areas pedestrian access is allowed along the
shoreline below the ocean high-tide line until such time as shorebird
breeding activity is observed, when standard species-specific buffers
will be implemented.
Dogs are generally prohibited in the pedestrian shoreline access
corridor below the high-tide line adjacent to the prenesting closures
and within any posted resource closure, but properly leashed dogs are
otherwise allowed in open ORV routes and pedestrian areas.
The site-specific restrictions are posted at each location and on-site
signage, rather than the Google Earth map, is the most accurate and
up-to-date indication of access status.
The 2012 breeding habitat assessment and pre-nesting maps are posted on
the NPS park-planning website under the Document List for the ORV
Management Plan/EIS and Rulemaking project at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=358&projectID=10641&documentID=46268
In addition, on March 15 the Bodie Island Spit seasonal ORV route from
two-tenths mile south of Ramp 4 to the inlet was changed to a seasonal
Vehicle Free Area in accordance with the designated ORV routes
identified in the special regulation. The area is currently
to pedestrians and the seasonal ORV route will reopen to vehicle use on
Sept. 15. The designated year-round ORV route from a half
south of Coquina Beach to two-tenths of a mile south of Ramp 4 remains
open to vehicles with access via Ramp 4.
As a reminder, March 15 marks the end of the transition period provided
to allow park visitors time to obtain the ORV special use permit that
is required to use the designated ORV routes. Now that the
transition period has ended, NPS law enforcement ranges will actively
enforce the permit requirement.
permits are available at the following locations: Coquina Beach, the
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (Buxton), and the Ocracoke
Visitor Center. The permit offices are open from 8 a.m. to
p.m., year-round, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, with
expanded hours on weekends and holidays during the summer
The cost of an annual permit (valid for the calendar year) is
$120. A seven-day ORV permit (valid from the date issued)
$50. Failure to obtain a permit is a petty offense under
of the Code of Federal Regulations. Persons cited for
the permit requirement have the option of paying the $150 fine by mail
or appearing in U.S. District Court.
The seashore’s interactive Google Earth map has been updated to reflect
these changes. The map is available online at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm
(Note: Pedestrian access areas, including the shoreline
adjacent to prenesting areas, are indicated by a blue line on the
Google Earth map.)