August 3, 2012

Cape Point reopens to off-road vehicles

By IRENE NOLAN


The east side of Cape Point in Cape Hatteras National Seashore reopened to off-road vehicle (ORV) access today. 

According to the newly adopted Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan, the designated ORV route from 0.4 mile north of Ramp 43 to Ramp 44 and south to Cape Point is currently open to ORV traffic from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.  The night-time beach driving restrictions are still in effect on all seashore beaches from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m.

ORV access is allowed along the ocean on the route to Cape Point, but the pre-nesting areas on upper beaches are still closed.

ORV access is allowed only for about two-tenths of a mile around the Point on the west side. The rest of the ORV route on the west side is closed for nesting colonial waterbirds, including about a dozen black skimmers, said Park Service biologist Britta Muiznieks.

Eleven piping plover chicks fledged at Cape Point this year.

Last week, Muiznieks said that there was one remaining chick in the area, but today she said that chick was presumed lost after the Park Service looked high and low for several days late this week and could not locate it.

Cape Point closed to ORVs this year on April 9, so it has been closed for almost four months

Last year, Cape Point closed on March 18 and reopened on July 18, exactly four months.

The Park Service reminds drivers and pedestrians that a number of resource protection areas remain in place for sea turtle nests on seashore beaches.  To date, a record number of 204 turtle nests have been laid and nesting activity continues.  Both bird and sea turtle protection areas are posted and signed with symbolic fencing and are closed to vehicle and pedestrian access.  Pets must be leashed at all times. 

For up-to-date information on currently open or closed areas, check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Google Earth maps at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm

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