March 2012 Letters To The Editor

New Letters to the Editor....03.30.2012  12:30 pm

Island Living: The trouble with the term ‘environmentalist’

Finally someone has said what I have been thinking all along.  I am an avid birder - in fact my entire family are birders BUT we are also fishermen and women.  I resent these folks being referred to as the only enviornmentalists in this issue. Open access to the beaches is a pivitol part of the Outer Banks experience.  It is such a shame that good science has never been applied to these problems - only special interest "logic."  I hope that the locals keep up the fight and employ whatever means can be brought to bear on the situation.  It has been and will continue to be a hard fight but so worth it, no matter how long it takes.

Judy Murdoch
Gettysburg, Pa.

Amen to every word you wrote! Could not have said it any better.

Melinda Sutton

Fantastic article, Joy.

Madison, Va.

Well said, Joy! You have put into words all the stuff that has been whirling through my head since this whole debacle started -- without the four-letter words that usually accompany my rants! I, too, have always considered myself an environmentalist. I recycle, I garden, I drag snapping turtles out of harm's way off the highway. I cringe to be aligned with the misguided souls who are so firmly convinced they are saving baby birds and turtles from mass extinction under the wheels of my pickup truck, which, by the way, is an on-road vehicle. I sincerely hope (and doubt) that reason will ever prevail. I equally doubt that many of us are not having difficulty embracing the new normal. Thanks again for putting a little Joy back in things!

Susan Garrett

Joy, thank you for making the distinction! I work for a well-known global environmental advocacy group (not the Audubon Society) in D.C. and am a frequent visitor to the Outer Banks (like nearly once a month, when I can swing it). I am also an advocate for beach driving, which has surprised some people who comment very negatively when I'm about in campaign shirts. They assume that, because I work for this group and support those I work for, I'm automatically against access. Though I recognize the tactics and goals of the opposition and can appreciate some of what they're doing, I do agree with the access folks that it’s too much. So thank you for this!

Washington, D.C.

BRAVO! Well said!  If I had video, you would see me standing and clapping for you!

Laura Kovatch
Hurlock, Md.

A tribute to my brother, Stewart Couch

Oh, what a wonderful man he was and is somewhere, as his spirit lives on with those whose lives he touched.  Hang 10, Stewart. I will think of your legacy each time I visit Hatteras Island and rent from Hatteras Realty.  God Bless.

Brendan Flynn
Northampton, Mass.

To Danny and your family: I am so sorry for your loss. I did not know your brother, but it sounds like his life was well spent doing things he loved. 

Hope to see you in Hatteras sometimes.   I remember you always working with a cheerful smile at the Red Drum station and look how far you have come. 

All the best for another successful year. Your big brother is, for sure, watching you with a pride.

Karen Malina Scroggin
Warrenton, Va.

This is a beautiful tribute from a loving brother!  Well done.

Clifford Swain

Great tribute, Danny!  We're sorry for your loss.

Sue Jusnes
Fuquay Varina, N.C.

Ocracoke Planning Advisory Board will tackle ‘pop-up’ businesses

The real issue is that the current commissioner and the person who chairs the Land Use Planning board are working hard to stop any business that competes with theirs. Plain and simple. It’s Hyde County politics as usual.

Randal Mathews

First day of ORV permit sales is slow and quiet on Ocracoke

One more freedom lost.  Stop for one minute and ask yourself whether this $120fee will save one animal or will this just end up as one more freedom lost to those who are taking over your and my life.

J. Reed
Richmond, Va.

ORV permits will cost $120 a year and go on sale Feb. 15

Is North Carolina so distressed that they have to rob vacationers. It’s bad enough the gas prices are off the charts. I can’t believe you justify a $120/$50 permit to drive on beaches. Are you really trying to keep people from visiting the Outer Banks? What possible reason do you have for this? I would really like to know. I have vacationed on the Outer Banks for over 30 years, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon -- .until you start charging for the air we breathe.

Tom Gasper
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Restored skipjack donated to Ocracoke non-profit, Ocracoke Alive Inc.

 After reading about the skipjack’s upcoming arrival to our island and having never heard of this type of boat in North Carolina, I did some reading. This style of boat is very important to Virginia and Maryland’s history. In fact I followed Carden’s rebuilding of the boat and his pride in the Virginia-style skipjack. It appears he took great pride in this boat and its history. He says in one article written, "The skipjack is perhaps the bay's most distinctive. Built to carry a massive sail to catch what little breeze often blows on the Chesapeake, the boats feature high bows, raked masts and sides that sweep low to the water at mid-deck to facilitate dragging in the iron oyster dredge and their heavy loads.”

It will no doubt be impressive. However, I do not understand how this impressive Virginia/Maryland boat found its way to this small North Carolina where it has no true “historic” value. This boats rich history lies in other states. I am very surprised with the skipjacks strong past in Virginia and Maryland that their historical organizations did not want her. I question how this Virginia/Maryland boat is supposed to enrich our local culture. I find it hard to believe that Ocracoke, with our own rich history and culture, needs to advertise another state’s boat to help enrich “our” culture. I’m also not sure how another state’s boat will bring in so many more tourists. What stories can be told about her past here? How can you educate on a boat that is not even native here?

Is this where our islanders think Ocracoke should be heading, bringing in other states boats to add to our culture? This boat is not aligned with Ocracoke’s past. In fact, it is the state boat of Maryland not North Carolina. Just because boats were used in the area doesn’t mean we can claim them as having local history.

In addition to not being a historical Ocracoke vessel, the organization has accepted something that in order to keep will be put out for profit and compete with local watermen. This is not what I would expect out of an organization wanting to enrich this island’s culture. I think that our own history and culture should be celebrated and be kept alive, not that of Virginia and Maryland!

As a daughter of two local families, the Howards and Willliamses, I do not think that any organization should try to make something “fit” historically” when it does not. Why are we not using a north shad boat or wooden Carolina skiff to draw in people for education and culture? That is our past!

G. Austin

July 4 fireworks may be returning to Hatteras Island

While we on Ocracoke have been unsuccessful in attempts to acquire the needed permissions for our own fireworks, we are pleased for our neighbors on Hatteras.

Perhaps Avon could launch one or two scheduled high-altitude airbursts, which we could cheer in vicarious return to the illuminations  advocated by John Adams for the celebration of this magnificent occasion.

Fred Westervelt

UPDATE: Plans for the Hatteras Island Ocean Center moving forward

As a Hatteras Cabana owner, I am very interested/concerned as to how this project will turn out.

Bill Snider
Hampton, Va.

Commentary: The good old days of skinny dipping on the seashore are over

So, when a wave takes your bikini top or you lose your drawers while surfing, then what? I suppose you have to remain in the water to prune. God forbid you leave a footprint in the sand.

Lori Miller
New Philadelphia, Ohio

An island’s economy put at risk

Recent actions by the National Park Service and the North Carolina General Assembly have created a perilous situation for the economy of Ocracoke Island.

The Park Service has implemented a fee to drive on the beach.  Historically there has been no fee.  The state legislature has mandated by way of the 2012 budget that the state Ferry Division generate $5 million in revenues, a large part of which will come from the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries Ocracoke.  These two ferries are the primary traffic arteries for traffic to the Island from the south as well as the west. 

Coupled with higher than normal gas prices, a continuing high unemployment rate, and the always present risk of a storm, it appears a "perfect storm" condition may be developing for the small island and its 800-plus permanent residents.  The tourist economy drives the well being of Ocracoke’s inhabitants, whether they are waitresses, lodging owners, restaurant owners, retail shop owners, ferry workers or commercial fisherman. 

It seems the National Park Service management and the North Carolina legislature have not given due consideration to the economic impact their mandates may cause.  The very existence of Ocracoke Island as it is today may be at risk. 

An example of the impact of the proposed increase in ferry tolls and the imposition of the beach access permit fee is as follows:


Family of four comes to Ocracoke for a two-night weekend stay.  They plan to spend quality time on the beach by way in their ORV.  They travel the  sound-class Ferry to get to access to Ocracoke (Cedar Island to Ocracoke).  They are coming from southern North Carolina so driving around by Hatteras (the free ferry) is not an option.  It would increase travel time by some 5 to 6 hours.  This is prohibitive for a weekend stay.

The current cost for the ferry ride is $15 each way for a total of $30.  There has been no charge for beach access.  The cost to the family for the new NPS Beach Access Fee is $50 for the two-way beach outing (this is the minimum fee).  The cost for the ferry ride is proposed to be $47 each way ($27 for the vehicle and $5 for each passenger) for a total ferry cost of $94.  Total cost for ferry and beach access would be $144 for the two-night stay.  The increased cost for the weekend outing is and increase of $114 from last year’s $30 cost.  This is a 480 percent increase.

While it is recognized that the government must increase revenues or reduce services in these dire economic times, it should not be done without considering the consequences to a small community completely dependent upon tourism.  The citizens, property owners and businesses of the island all are at risk.  The NPS and the North Carolina General Assembly should revisit their increase in charges, giving consideration to the potential loss of one of the national and state treasures -- Ocracoke Island as we know it today.

H. Wayne Clark
Edwards of Ocracoke
Rooms and Cottages
Ocracoke Island

Access groups sue to stop Park Services ORV plan and final rule

The new ORV plan gives special access to closed areas of the beach to fishing tournaments that were in place before Jan. 1, 2009. As a recreational fisherman, I cannot drive on these sections of the beach, but if I enter these tournaments, I can. Please explain why.

Kem Rodgers
Mooresville, N.C.

Avon woman giving up a head of hair for kids with cancer

I am totally amazed at the generosity of all who donated to the St. Baldrick's Foundation for my shaving on March 17.  I just tallied all of the online, cash, and check donations, and I have over $2,800! Thank you to each and every sponsor, especially to Jennifer Farrow Creech and Hurricane Heather's Restaurant, which was the biggest sponsor at $200. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all! I will post photos of my new “do” on the St. Baldrick's page.

Mandy Haage Fuller

Guest Column: The consent decree and the absence of science

Dead on target, as always, Dr. Berry.  Thank you!

Kenneth Young
Altavista, Va.

Thank you, Dr. Berry. Your commentary is very informative and compelling. Is there any way to bring all this information to the attention of Judge Boyle? Or would it matter? I don't understand how he can ignore the facts of such an important issue, an issue that has a tremendous negative impact on so many lives. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for why his federal appellate nomination from 2001 to 2007 is the longest in history not to be acted upon by the United States Senate.

Maxine Edwards
Winterville, N.C.

You and all the rest of the politicians can have all the islands in North Carolina. I used to take five to six trips a years to the Core Banks, and now that I have been forced to retire and can't walk like I used to, I have to quit fishing like I once did. There is nothing like watching the sun rise or set on those islands while holding a fishing rod in your hand, but now I can't because some birds that inhabit all the barrier islands have more rights than I do. All the moneys on my equipment and license I've purchased over the years was to help keep these wetlands and fisheries open for us and our grandkids, but now that privilege will no longer be. People need to go to these areas and see all that is affected before passing these laws instead of letting paper pushing lobbyists dictate our laws and interest. Do they not know that there are other barrier islands that are inaccessible to human traffic that these same birds go to just like the deer and wolves have done in the past --  and with great success too.

Anyway, I now use all my spare money on fishing and hunting in Virginia and South Carolina and to camp in West Virginia because they want outdoor recreation and promote it and welcome it -- not drive it away. So, North Carolina, do with it as you please because one day it will be your grandkids who will want to enjoy the outdoors!

Keith Nifong
Winston Salem, N.C.

I could not agree with you more.  As a surf fisherman since the ‘60s, I have watched with disbelief what has happened to our natural resource. I have read info you have posted before and have agreed with all your input. Let us hope the Jones bill gets off the ground.

Grover Sheldon
Keysville, Va.

Skewered data, special interest groups, and judicial shenanigans are working hand-in-hand and Congress, with the exception of a few members, is sitting on its hands doing nothing. Members of Congress are afraid of the special interest groups. Until we get proper representation, you can expect nothing more. It is despicable and shameful, to say the least.

J. Williams
Granbury, Texas

I always thought the national parks were for the use of the people of the USA. Apparently the special interest groups have precedence. Let’s remove our troops from the Far East and send over the special interest groups to replace them.

William R. Smith
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Thank you, Dr. Berry! I have written numerous letters to newspapers, national TV networks and newscasters, radio stations and politicians in the last four years addressing beach closures on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. I have received absolutely no response. With your credentials, perhaps someone will listen. This despicable miscarriage of justice needs national media attention! These so-called environmentalists are being allowed to control our constitutional rights all over this country. I wish I knew of something more I could do to stop them. Again, thank you!

Lynn Jordan

A tribute to my brother, Stewart Couch

A great tribute to a great man, Danny. He will be sorely missed but your reminisces helped us both.

Don Delwiche
Fairport,  N.Y.

Jones introduces bill to overturn both ORV final rule and consent decree

Here's hoping that Rep. Jones' bill will inspire others in Congress to return Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the people.  My family started vacationing at Hatteras Island when I was a teenager. My husband and I and our friends have continued the tradition. It’s sad to think that the beaches will be closed and traditions will die.

Beckie  Carrouth
Denver, N.C.

Thank you for your efforts.  Here on the beach, it’s very difficult. The economy is not coming back as strong as we all hoped.  We all want to protect the plovers and turtles and we have.  Having a fee to drive up to the beach is a hardship, especially for locals who are mostly retired and cannot tote all the beach supplies by hand.  Everyone in the OBX wants to do the right thing for the environment, but this what their doing now? Feels wrong.

Susan Baharis
Kill Devil Hills

NPS establishes pre-nesting areas for shorebird breeding season

The penalty for failure to obtain a permit is only$30 dollars more than buying the permit.  Do not buy their permit and let them cite you for the petty offense.  Do not show up for a hearing in U.S. District Court and let them issue a warrant for your arrest.  I can't see the FBI hunting you down for $150.  If they do, go to the hearing and don't pay the fine.  The judge with then do what?   He could put all of us in the federal prison, but it would get full and then what?  Call their bluff.

John Dumbleton
Franklin, Pa.

What a huge loss of our freedoms!

Mark Carter
Charlotte, N.C.

USFWS says bridge replacement is compatible -- with conditions

Forgive my cynicism, but I've had about enough of this Mickey Mouse, manipulative environmentalist government. They gleefully throw roadblocks into the path of anything they can dream up, costing us time, money, angst and indigestion. Perhaps they could simply require that we repeal the laws of gravity and let the vehicles fly over the inlet.

Fred Westervelt

I like the idea that nature will win out with any changes to the road system in that area.  They were there first. I spent a lot of time in the Outer Banks growing up. Over the years I see changes I don't like. Like the problem with the wild horses.  We are the problem. So I hope the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge sticks to their plan and gets what they are asking for.

Susan Brown
Raleigh, N.C.

Only in America can you have this stuff. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was built in 1960s without all the extra red tape that we have now. It’s just a matter of time before the people in power install a barricade at Oregon Inlet. It’s sad that wildlife is more important than local people just trying to make a living and enjoying life.

Hillsboro, Mo.

New Letters to the Editor....03.15.2012  11:30 am

A eulogy for an old Hatteras village friend

I am sorry I never got the chance to get back down to visit the old home. I remember laying at night watching the ferry run. Chasing my dad (Berry Stowe) around the house with a frog I caught in the yard. Catching a kitten that I would bring home to Norfolk when I was very small. Grandmom always had plenty of kittens in her yard. Sitting on the porch swing and playing in the yard. Memories will always live with me as long as I do and many stories will always be told of my visits to Grandmom and Pop Pop’s home!

Lynne Stowe
Norfolk, Va.

Number 16 on the walking tour provided your island fire departments with some really good training Sunday morning. Buddy did a fine job telling us all what a great lady this home had been in its past and, indeed, her finest hours had passed, that was for sure. Thanks to neglect and termites, she was almost too unsafe for even our controlled burn down.

I would like to mention that this training exercise was the work of the combined Frisco, Hatteras, and Buxton fire departments who train together regularly with the goal of providing the villages with the best fire protection available anywhere.  Thank you, Hatteras, for allowing us to practice on this wonderful balloon-framed lady in Sticky Bottom. Since balloon framing is pretty much a thing of the past, we don't get many opportunities to watch flames spread through open wall cavities like we did on Sunday.

Richard Marlin - Chief 42

Buddy, that was a beautiful story! Well written and a tribute well deserved. Thank you for writing it.

Tonawnada. N.Y.

Please try to talk Mr. Swain into writing more frequently about his Hatteras memories from days gone by. I have kept his “Precious Memories” articles about growing up during the summer at his grandparents Hatteras home and I re-read them ever so often. They never fail to lift my spirits.

Janet Pitts
Henrico, Va.

(Editor’s note:  Readers can still catch up with the “Precious Memories” series of articles by Buddy Swain on visiting his grandparents in the 1940s and 1950s.  Go to the bottom of the Front Page, scroll to the end, and click on Archives.  Scroll down on that page to 2008.  Then look under Island History, where you will find all of the articles listed.)

So sad! I saw the smoke from Brigands’ Bay.  At least she went out in style!

Donna Thomas

This was my grandmother’s house. Many bitter sweet memories. I can say no more. I love you, Grand Mom. I love you, Dad.

Kyle Johnson
Smithsburg, Md.

Fishermen take note: Atlantic sturgeon will be listed as endangered

It's the next nail in the coffin for gill nets, especially flounder gill nets. How in the hell can one avoid "interaction" when the fish is alive in your net and you are trying to get it out? It's been done many times, and the fish were fine after being released. Mark my words. The end of gill netting is upon us!

Native Son

Island Living: The DMV took my license because they thought I was God, and other everyday frustrations

You are so funny.

Susan Waterfield

Jones introduces bill to overturn both ORV final rule and consent decree

I support your efforts to reverse the decision made by NPS regarding this matter. Not only is the decision so wrong, but I question what possibly could be the underlying reasons that are not being shared. I have been vacationing on the OBX close to 20 years, making it a point to spend time fishing the Point and Inlet. I’ve met many fine people, all being a good stewards of the beaches. My heart goes out to the local business owners and employees if this ruling is allowed to stand. On my trips, I normally bring eight to 10 guests to share my many enjoyable experiences. The standout comments are always their experience of driving on the beach, fishing, and the love of the pristine surroundings. I will continue to support your efforts by petitioning my local Congressman to become more involved.  I will also ask my many friends to do the same.

Richard Biedenbach
Louisville, Ohio

We enjoy the off-road driving and fishing on Hatteras Island as many do. It was my understanding that this land was donated for this purpose. If that be the case, the ancestors of these landowners should file a lawsuit.  As many people realize, the tide and nature take care of its own.

Wendy Meads
Hertford, N.C.

Please reopen our beaches! There is no science to support the closings.

Penny Freeland

Judge Boyle keeps consent decree in place, but seashore still operating under final ORV rule

In one stroke of a pen or a simple diatribe, a federal judge has taken it upon himself to do more damage than any hurricane. Of course, I am speaking in the economic sense of damage. It is totally uncalled for and our legislators with exceptions of a few (for whom I am grateful) simply sit on their hands.

Over the years, there has been too much of the “let someone else do it” when it comes to getting things accomplished. Now we see the results. The conservationists and special interest groups run the politicians again, for the most part. Fear of not getting votes to appease these groups must end. Put someone in office that will stand up and not only fight but represent our great country according to the Constitution of the United States.

J. Williams
Granbury, Tex.

It appears that Judge Boyle has an ax to grind as far as beach driving is concerned. Maybe what is needed is for him to recuse himself and a new judge should be appointed.  The whole situation needs a fresh face to look at the overall picture and common sense might be applied!

Joe Kierzkowski

I found this article most interesting.  If the court affirms the lower court ruling, does this mean that since the NPS is charging a fee to drive on the beach, that they are operating as a business and lose their government exemption from litigation if people are injured on the beaches?

NC high court to decide immunity in park death case
Associated Press

Posted on March 12, 2012 at 7:45 AM
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's Supreme Court will decide whether municipalities lose their government immunity from lawsuits if they charge for recreation.
The court hears arguments Monday in a lawsuit stemming from the 2007 death of Erik Williams, who drowned while attending a high school graduation party in a Pasquotank County park.
The party's hosts paid $75 to rent a private pavilion for the party at Fun Junktion.
A lower court ruled that because the county park generated revenue, the lawsuit filed by the victim's family can go forward. The Court of Appeals ruled that charging admission meant the county was acting like a business rather than solely providing a government service, opening it up to litigation.

Polly Moffatt
Charleston, W.Va.

(Editor’s note:  I am not a lawyer, but this is a state case, not a federal case.  Also, the Park Service charges all kinds of fees and hasn’t been declared a business.  And, finally, the fee for driving on the beach is not a moneymaking proposition.  The cost covers only the cost of operating the program.  Any lawyers want to weigh in?)

Guest column:  The consent decree and the absence of science
The more I read about the consent decree, management plans and beach closures, by knowledgeable folks like Dr Berry, the less I understand about what information the judge used to make the judgments. I do wish I had done more in the years gone by to keep this beautiful " Recreation Area" open to all, the way it was meant to be.

Don Cable
Powhatan, Va.

Outer Banks Angling: Has spring sprung?

It's Carolina-style boat, not Hatteras-style. Roanoke Island boatbuilders put the exaggerated flair in those boats, evolving from the Harker's Island skiff style. Warren O’Neal was one of the very first Roanoke Island builders to do so.

Native Son

Outer Banks Angling: The loss of a Sunday drive

Thank you for your article. It brought tears to my eyes. I wish that I had been able to take my last drive down my favorite beaches. I am very saddened about what is happening to our freedom on our beaches. Beach driving is one of the things that is unique about being on the OBX, along with fishing, beach combing for treasures, watching the sunrise while drinking your morning coffee while the pelican undulate down the shoreline and, the most spectacular, watching the dolphin play in the surf.  At least we have not turned into Daytona Beach.

Kill Devil Hills

Public scoping period opens for proposed infrastructure improvements

I propose no action. I have been visiting OBX close to 20 years. Beaches have always been pristine and I always found ORV vacationers to be good stewards. I made many friends with the business community over the years. Your NPS-imposed policy changes will drastically affect the number of vacationers who visit to visit to fish in the future and will only have a negative effect on these businesses. I personally bring, on average, eight to 10 guests to the OBX yearly for fishing, mostly to the inlet and the Point. Many have expressed reservations about whether they want to come this year if this current policy remains in effect. Did I mention, they are pretty loose with their money? Please reconsider.

Richard Biedenbach
Louisville, Ohio

My question is this, “Mr. Murray, why are you seeking public comments on this proposal when you totally ignored our comments on ORV access to our beloved beaches?”

Pat Calvert
Newport News, Va.

I am in favor of these two improvements -- an unpaved interdunal road (IDR) between Ramp 45 and 49 with new ORV Ramp 47.5 to the beach and widen Ramp 49 and add connector road and five-car parking lot to Billy Mitchell Road near Frisco Campground.

Eddie Clark
North Chesterfield, Va.

Restored skipjack donated to Ocracoke non-profit, Ocracoke Alive Inc.

Having a skipjack in North Carolina is ridiculous.  Understand, I am a fan of the Outer Banks, have fished there, etc., but a skipjack is native to and only really germane to the Chesapeake Bay, where it evolved from the log canoe, bug eye, pungy, etc. -- a shallow-draft sailing vessel with a centerboard.  Good for the man who made the donation but the boat would have been better donated in Maryland.

Of course, similar conditions prevail in the sounds of North Carolina, shallow water and short chop,  but, still, this is a Chesapeake Bay boat.  Ought to be in the Chesapeake Bay.

Well, anyway, God love you for preserving the boat.

Jim Hackett
San Francisco, Calif.

St. Johns Church in Avon is moving up after Hurricane Irene

I visit St. Johns when I am on the Outer Banks for vacation.  The congregation is so friendly and welcoming.  I am pleasantly not surprised by the rally to remodel the church.  What a wonderful example of community.  I look forward to worshipping there again on my next visit.

Cheryl Davis
Pulaski, Tenn.

There were no smiles in sight, but first day of permit sales at Hatteras was uneventful

Thought my taxes already went to fund federal parks. I am disgusted at the way this fee was implemented by the government. Fishermen have been driving on the beaches for years and the so-called bird is still returning. Why does it cost so much for a permit when other parks charge by the day. I think the most I have seen charged is $5 a day at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Why does it cost so much money for a permit?

Dan Zielinski
Chesapeake, Va.

Two structures near Hatteras Lighthouse burn to the ground

The loss of the access to the ORV areas is one of the main reasons I and my family have not returned to the OBX. Being able to enter the beach areas and move to a spot away from the masses to enjoy the water, sun, and friendships made is the main reason we came and rented a house, went out to eat, bought fishing gear and beach gear, and spent our vacations relaxing with family and friends twice a year.Sadly this issue is why we haven't been back.

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

USFWS says bridge replacement is compatible -- with conditions

Mike Bryant is out of his mind.  Get real, Mike.

Marc McGumptry
Richmond, Va.

In light of the above references given about protected migratory birds, etc. and the impact on other common birds, I am remembering a past occurrence of the destruction of an over-population of Canada geese on Pea Island. After the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Park Service had established all this refuge and area to attract and protect migratory birds, why in God's name do they destroy what they were sworn to protect? I mean no disrespect to the refuge or wildlife personnel, but are you sure this is the right way to do it?

Retired, Not Retarded

You have got to be kidding me. So basically one man is trying to prevent people from safely accessing a recreation area? By any means necessary seems to be the motto of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Southern Shores

The only way to stop the gulls from getting hit by cars on the Oregon Inlet bridge is to put a roof over it to keep the gulls from dropping scallops and clams to break open so they can get to the meat inside. I don't read any studies anywhere that have taken this into account.

Larris Tolson

I have a comment for Mike Bryant. Are you serious? Some birds run into the bridge? We eat fowl? Human beings are the ones at risk here. This bridge is at least 15 years past its lifespan. The power hungry control groups that call themselves environmentalists have put new meaning in the word Mental. When did safety for children and human beings trying to get to a hospital or to the mainland for a job drop below the value of the life of a bird? There must be something about men with the name Mike, because Mike Murray of the Park Service closed our beaches because of bird eggs, now this clown wants to stop a bridge replacement and give up 11 acres of property for the birds, that by the way was stolen from the people here to begin with. What has happened to this country? I can only hope and pray that somebody in office has the backbone to stop you and put an end to this insanity.

Carol Dawson

He already said he is not going to listen to anyone, so why waste time with him? He is another voice in a long line of government tools who stand in the way of what should and needs to be done.
Replace the bridge now.


This is a prime example of too much government control and collusion with special interest groups. In today's line of thought, it’save a bird and kill humans. Time to turn it around, folks. Remember these things in November 2012.

J. Williams
Granbury, Texas

The Bonner Bridge construction and paved roadway was one of the worse things to happen to Hatteras Island. Before that, it was the duneline construction in 1933, which has caused erosion and prevents migration of the island. Before that, it was deforestation in the 1800s. A new bridge is not intended for current residents. It's part of the overall plan to make Hatteras private. The Park Service does not want us here at all.  Please keep in mind, the villages here were established long before there was a United States Of America.

You got to be kidding. You bird lovers have lost everything God gave you to reason with. I am completely dumbfounded by your arrogance.


Yes, one must watch out for those pelicans, indeed. I can't count how many close calls I've had with pelicans nearly going through the windscreen. Not. Actually, I'm far more worried about my government looking through my windscreen -- and every other window I own anywhere -- than I am about pelicans flying through them. Given the choice, I'd rather have the pelicans any day. A lot less risky in my opinion.

Jim Rosenthal
Annapolis, Md.

New Letters to the Editor....03.09.2012  2:30 pm

Access groups sue to stop Park Services ORV plan and final rule

Next thing will be that humans will not be able to step foot on the island. The animals must have a very smart law team! Maybe we could talk to our law team and rename the human race as animals. Then we will be granted permission to go onto our maintained and cared for by humans beach. I wonder how much money the animals have donated to maintain their beach? Who can I donate to so us humans can stop this insanity?

Mike Mattingly

This decision by the National Park Service this is the most asinine decision I have ever heard. It is obvious that NPS thinks more of a bird than the well being of residents and vacationers who produce income for the villages. NPS and the environmentalists should be ashamed of themselves. I have been visiting the island for 30 years and have never seen anyone harm a turtle or a bird. This decision on a fee for access to a public beach which I pay taxes for is outrageous. This is just another case of bureaucratic nonsense.

Norman  Brown
Charlotte, N.C.

Commentary: NPS refusal to drain stormwater is a point of contention for islanders and visitors

Do they think that they know better than God? Long before there was the National Park Service, there was God, and God had no problem draining the swamps and wetlands as he saw fit. The waters would drain into the ocean long before it had time to grow these so-called bacteria . Some of that "pretty nasty looking stuff headed south” (silt, little fish, mosquito larva, etc.)  was probably meant for fish food and food for hatchling shorebirds as it washed ashore. Is the NPS its unquestionable wisdom denying endangered species their natural food source?

I can remember clearly as a child when there was a road that looped around from Cape Point to the Lighthouse. There was a bathhouse and parking area on the north side between the lighthouse and the Point. There was also a swamp drain like the one at the back of the Cape Point campground. We didn't seem to have this type of flood problem back then. Maybe that is because they used common sense and left the drains.

Buddy McDaniel

Guest column:  Where is the truth on sea turtle nesting success?

This commentary is a nice read. A similar analysis for plovers shows that they actually aren't endangered (in the U.S.). Much like the Canadian geese that never seem to make it back to Canada, the plovers don't migrate to Canada so they are endangered there. The U.S. is treaty-bound to treat migratory birds that are endangered in other countries as endangered here.

The facts don't raise donations. SELC's false image of tiny little birds stuck in the ruts that ORVs make in the beach sand apparently does.

Bill Jones

Hatteras Realty owner Stewart Couch dies in Nicaragua

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Stewart's passing. My contact with him was through our continuing education classes or OBAR functions. He was always a delight and fun and informative participant.  Stewart was a tremendous asset to the real estate community. His presence will be missed! My condolences to his family, co-workers, and friends.

Cindy Rhodes

Island Living: Lessons to be learned from renovating or repairing your house

Humorous as all get out  How about a finished picture of what Mikey did. It would be good for his business!

Levittown, Pa.

Island Living: The DMV took my license because they thought I was God, and other everyday frustrations

Could be worse. For example, you could live in Saudi Arabia and have the last name of "Allah." Of course, if you lived there, more than likely you wouldn't have a driver's license.

Jim Rosenthal
Annapolis, Md.

Jones introduces bill to overturn both ORV final rule and consent decree

It's an election year!

Carol Dawson

Congressman Jones: Congratulations and thank you for introducing House Bill 4094.

Congressman Jones, you have the best interests of both those who want reasonable access to the beaches and those responsible environmentalists.  It is a responsible compromise.

I am a resident of the Outer Banks  and understand that unfettered off-road vehicle is not responsible nor is excessive protection of the wildlife.

You may use my remarks for the record on House Bill 4094.

Bernard Tetreault

I have been going to the Outer Banks since 1969 and driving on your beaches since 1974. In that time, I have spent a lot of money enjoying the beach, eateries, stores, motels, campgrounds, and fishing charters. I am just one family. It would be a shame to see the Outer Banks only through pictures and watch the economic conditions ruin the businesses that have thrived all those years.

David Alexander
Newport News, Va.

I have lived on Hatteras Island 22 years. I have a home and although it can be challenging to live here, I love this island. My best friends wait a year to visit Hatteras and tell me how fortunate I am to live here. To take away the basic freedom to enjoy these beautiful beaches is beyond absurd. Please don't let that happen.

Terri Callahan

Rep. Jones: Thank you for introducing HR 4094. It is time to end this fight and secure the ability of American sportsmen to enjoy the ability to gain access to the Outer Banks via a vehicle. I stand by my fellow fishermen and proudly claim we do more to protect and enhance the great resource of the beaches and fisheries of this region than any other group who claims to be experts.

Terry Fennell
Mokena, Ill.

NPS is using this to make $3-$5 million a year. Check out the profit at Cape Cod, Mass. That is where Murray came from.

Manns Harbor

As a 40-year vacationer to the Outer Banks, it has been an extremely sad turn of events over the last five years or so.  My four kids were all "raised" on these beaches every summer.  They are all grown now and continue to make the Outer Banks their favorite summer spot.   Within the last year, we bought some property near the Cape.  That was always a dream of ours.  Now I am beginning to second guess that. Please do what ever it takes to kill the current restrictions that have been put in place.

Ronnie Bowman
Chesterfield, Va.

Outer Banks Angling: The loss of a Sunday drive

I enjoyed your article as I too have ridden on this beach since the ‘60s when I was a small child and loved driving and fishing on them when got my first ORV.  I pray that some politicians with some common sense will see what this foolish decree will cause for the OBX and strive to prevent it from taking effect.

Terry Phelps
Suffolk, Va.

Park Service issues annual resource, law enforcement reports

I fail to see any violations for fishing license. I have been checked every year. I know that everyone does not have a license. How come these violations are not listed?

Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

(Editor’s note: These violations are not listed by the National Park Service because the saltwater fishing license is mandated and administered by the state of North Carolina.)

Public scoping period opens for proposed infrastructure improvements

These projects may be good for spending money, but there are other needs, such as present buildings that deserve some further scrutiny.

James S. Borland

A very large majority of people spoke in favor of beach access at several public meetings. Your voice was not heard then and it will certainly not be heard now. It's better to loudly tell your elected officials want you want. All the above is just NPS procedures and policy to keep someone employed. If you live anywhere else in America but here, you would think this is great, and that's the problem.  

Kevin Mc Cabe

This is an incredible waste of money at a time when dollars need to be spent wisely. Where is the maintenance revenue going to come from to maintain these boardwalks? A couple of northeasters and these boardwalks will be either buried or washed away.

Montpelier, Va.

Seeing the sights from the air with island native Dwight Burrus

I just read this story.  It’s hard to believe Dwight Burrus and I don't know each other.  I'm am old CG Kodiak guy.  I've recently closed my aircraft maintenance shop there and moved to Talkeetna.  Fell in love with the Outer Banks back when we used to surf fish on weekends from Elizabeth City.  Anyways, just saying hi and I'd like to stop by someday. I noticed the old H-52 number 1403 is for sale in Palmer.  If Dwight has any interest, I know it pretty well. It's set up as a fire drop plane, the only one still flying.  It's on ebay motors.

Chris Campbell
Talkeetna, Ark.

There were no smiles in sight, but first day of permit sales at Hatteras was uneventful

My wife and I go on vacation once a year. We buy a 10-day fishing permit and take our truck on the beach to enjoy the days fishing.  I won't buy the ORV permit, and I won't be buying the 10-day fishing permit. If I had not rented the house already, I would go on vacation elsewhere. 

Jeff Smith
Broadway, Va.

For 30 years, I have enjoyed the Outer Banks and supported, in my small way, the economy of the island.  I don't see the point in driving 700 miles to be relegated to the beaches that are currently accessible to driving.  It will make the experience far less than it has been and will dissuade me from making the trip.  This is extremely sad to me, as the two trips a year were the highlights for me and my family.  I understand that not all visitors are appreciative of the rules and common sense of driving on the beach, but this is overkill.  I will miss the Outer Banks and the joy and peace it brought to me.  Good luck everyone on the Outer Banks.  Our family will truly miss the Outer Banks and finding another place that means the same to us will be impossible.

Hank Lasecki
Independence, Ohio

UPDATE:  Hyde County is gearing up to take on legislators over ferry tolls

I read that the ferry director stated that there will be no exemptions for Ocracoke residents.  If so, this means we will have to pay ferry tolls, gas, and possibly hotel costs to serve jury duty.  This is absolutely unacceptable and probably illegal. Perhaps some type of civil disobedience can be organized to bring state and national attention to the state legislature/ferry director's  embarrassing decision. 

Donald J Hahn Jr.

UPDATE: Third suspicious fire damages house in Waves

We have a unit in Slash Creek where people want to shut off street lights and have been calling for the sheriff to call us so he can shed some light on some of the homeowners, not to shut out lights. However, we cannot get a phone call back from him, any ideas?

Janet and Pat O'Brien
Sicklerville, N.J.

(Editor’s note:  Call the Dare County Sheriff’s Office at 252-475-5980 and ask for Chief Deputy Steve Hoggard.  Tell him The Island Free Press sent you!  I will add, though, that light pollution is a problem on Hatteras Island, and there are way too many nighttime lights at Slash Creek Condos.)

Winter schedule on Cedar Island-Ocracoke route extended

Guess there are just not enough day visitors from Cedar Island to Ocracoke. I have been anxious for the new schedule to start and now am disappointed again. Leaving on the 10:30 a.m. ferry and having to return at 1 p.m. does not give any time to shop on Ocracoke, or have lunch or even look around. Crazy schedule! We miss Ocracoke and want to go shopping there.

Atlantic, N.C.

New Letters to the Editor....03.01.2012  12:50 pm

Jones introduces bill to overturn both ORV final rule and consent decree

Please don't forget that CHNSRA was our first national seashore ever. CHNSRA belongs to all of us.

Shirley Schoelkopf

Please give this treasure back to the people.

Sungho Chung
Upper Malboro, Md.

They have stolen my vacation beach access. I need that access for days and nights as I've done for 20 years. I restore my soul and renew my outlook on life each year on the points and inlets of our national seashore recreational area. God bless you for trying to get it back. I do not believe that those in power understand just how personal this is as a family bonding and mental health recreational facility.

Tim O'Neill
Severna Park, Md.

The hurricanes just about got rid of the Outer Banks, but this ORV issue,not driving on the beaches, surely will. We have people all over the USA and Canada coming down for weeks at a time, spending their money that helps the economy down in North Carolina. When they can't drive on the beach, they will not come.

Brenda Styons
Roper, N.C.

The National Park Service is killing hundreds of cats, foxes, and raccoons to "protect the birds and turtles." Where is PETA?

Manns Harbor

We have traveled from Arizona to the OBX five or six times and love your area and beaches.

Jerry and Diane Schwarz
Glendale, Ariz.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tim Medlin
Portsmouth, Va.

My friends and I fish there twice a year. If the beach access is limited, I think a lot of fishermen will look for another beach, and that will really hurt the economy of the Outer Banks.

Ronald Smith
Philadelphia, Pa.

For many years I've read about how the environmental groups have said that beach driving damages the bird nests. I have never read a scientific report on this. When a nest is found, the Park Service seals the area. This plan to stop ORV access must stop.

Peter Edwards
West Chester, Pa.

Thank you, thank you, thank you............


Get it done!


Judge Boyle keeps consent decree in place, but seashore still operating under final ORV rule

"Boyle considers that the two cases – the one in his court and the one CHAPA filed in Washington – might be litigating the same issues." I find it really odd that one single U.S. District Court judge wants to and can dictate the entire policy of the DOI/NPS, specifically enabled by and for the bias from Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, and the National Parks Conservation Association. It sounds as though he is not happy that the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia will hear the CHAPA lawsuit rather than his court. Too much power in the hands of one is not healthy for a population. It is sad to see Americans freedoms eroded by rouge fanatical groups, biased judges, and individuals that have too much power and influence. This is the catalyst of which many revolutions have been born. It’s time to re-examine our priorities as a nation

Ken Miller
Salisbury, N.C.

I have been coming to Cape Hatteras since 1971, two to four weeks per year.  I have followed the litigation over the last few years.  I have been a proponent of pay to play. However, the system that is being used is going to be a problem.  I feel that we should be able to get a permit online and there should be accommodations for weekend visits without an annual permit.  During the season, getting a permit on the weekend of arrival is going to be a nightmare, and the chance of hundreds of disgruntled tourists is a problem I think the NPS would wish to avoid.  It appears to me, that by making the permit process so time consuming, the powers that be are discouraging people from using the beaches.  I will be retiring to North Carolina in four months and plan to do my fishing at Topsail and Fort Fisher.  My friends and I are coning to the Cape in September for one week, and if the problems persist, this will be my last trip.

J. Floyd Uhl
Millersburg, Ohio

NPS has crossed the line. I'm a lifer of N.C. This is wrong. Another example of too much government.

William D. Waters
Washington, N.C.

If the government is need of money so bad why are the sensible people allowing judges and the Park Service to completely ruin the economy of Cape Hatteras Island.  Shame, shame, shame on every congressman and senator for allowing this insanity.

Carol Dilllon

I think the judge’s decision to keep an iron fist over the outcome plays well into the hand of CHAPA. The strongest point made by the CHAPA lawsuit lies in the belief that the decision of the NPS was
Pre-disposed before the EIS and final decision in the ROD was rendered.  The NPS rules were based on the direction of the court and not the scientific evidence and public comments before them.

Stafford, Va.

It appears one individual (Boyle) wants to make sure he has input in any final determination as to how the beaches owned by our citizens are used?  What a sorry legal process when one individual  can cause such a problem for citizens, tourists and our economy.  Truly, government is too involved in our lives! This is just one important example!

Wayne Clark
Ocracoke, N.C.

Judge Boyle doesn't have enough common sense to be hearing this case. His actions have shown he knows nothing about the Outer Banks. He is taking Murray's word on this matter. Ten birds? Really? Who was there the whole time counting over all those miles of beach? The Outer Banks belong to the people and, believe it or not, the turtles and birds have survived without Murray. Wildlife adapt. Funny, though we are dealing with some of the smartest birds and turtles because none of the closures appear around the $1 million homes. Let someone hear this who hasn't been paid off by special interest groups. In this hard economy we are going to let birds and turtles cause the economy on the Outer Banks to fall? Only in America, The United States of the Offended

Randall Barger
Faith, N.C.

The lack of insight and commonsense that our representatives possess amazes me. Groups organize, create websites and petition, but our representatives do not listen. All elected officials associated with this matter should be fired. There are very simple solutions to this elementary problem. Money could be raised appropriately to assist with endangered species by promoting ORV rather than treating enthusiasts as outlaws. You will drive vacationers away. You will drive locals away. You will lose real estate and other tax dollars. And finally you will lose the Outer Banks completely. Thankfully, I doubt I will be here to see it, but our children will. Although sad, they will laugh at the foolishness displayed by our representatives.

Mike Grant
Suffolk, Va.

I can’t believe that there is still the emphasis on the bird counts. This is not a wildlife refuge. These birds are not endangered. Why is this still the main body of this issue? The issue should be that they are stealing the rights of the American Citizens to access the recreational area.

Barboursville, W.Va.

 A "few" people are not happy? Have they not been listening? Almost everyone who vacations there, as well as all the locals, is "unhappy" about this!

Diane Eaton
Brick,  N.J.

Access groups sue to stop Park Services ORV plan and final rule

My family started going fishing around Avon in the ‘70s.  I am 32 and have also enjoyed fishing there.  In my life I have seen many things change in that area.  For example, we used to purchase all of our groceries from Charlie Williams, who is now passed away.  Now we have a Food Lion.  Some things are a good change, but stopping any driving on the beach is an outrage.  The price of vacationing in Avon is not getting cheaper. In fact, just a cottage for my family is over $2,000 a week.  Now, to get us all to the beach we must pay for a permit.  Just two for a week would be $100. That is also an outrage.  What is the world coming to when we take a vacation and have to purchase permits to fish and to drive in our own state?  I think we are being taxed and restricted to death.

D. Rackley
Nashville, N.C.

Big Cypress National Preserve takes flak for its ORV plan

We are having the same problem here with Huguenot Park. I am a member of Florida Open Beaches and was hoping you could send me e-mail updates. The Audubon and other groups have been trying to close our beach access for years. Let me know how I can help you.

Rosemarie Ellis
Jacksonville, Fla.

Commentary: A young Hatteras waterman weighs in on the absurdity of catch shares

During the BP spill, NOAA used the Coast Guard to protect the interests of BP, not the fishermen or the residents of the Gulf Coast. The BP spill showed that government regulators have been captured by the oil companies and corporate lobbyists. Obviously, individuals fishing from small boats are better for conservation than large corporate factory fishing fleets, but individuals lack the power to get government imposed monopolies. Likewise, individual donors, unless they are billionaires, don't have the power to buy off environmental organizations that corporations do. You describe a corrupted EDF VP. Apparently EDF is serving corporate interests not the environment on the catch shares issue. EDF isn't a radical environmental organization. EDF is an organization corrupted by corporate money.

Jacksonville, N.C.

Commentary: Parks administrative history makes a case


Rob Beedie
Norfolk, Va.

Hatteras Realty owner Stewart Couch dies in Nicaragua

It is with great sadness that I read about the passing of Stewart Couch. First and foremost, my family and I would like to send our condolences to the Couch family. They have had such an impact on just about everything that makes up Hatteras Island. From real estate, family business, island history,  and beach access, the Couch family has left its mark and we all have benefitted.  Not only is this a terrible loss to the Couch family, but also a tremendous loss to the community. We have been renting our vacation beach houses from Hatteras Realty for over 15 years and had the opportunity to deal directly with Stewart on several occasions. He always went the extra mile to make sure everything was exactly how it should be for our accommodations and vacation. I will never forget his daily updates after Isabel and Irene, letting everyone know how things were progressing on getting the island back in business. His passing will leave a huge hole in the Hatteras Island  community, and I know his legacy will live on at Hatteras Realty and on the island.

John Holloway
Berlin, Md.

We have the Couch family and all at Hatteras Realty in our prayers, God bless and be with you, today and always... We are here for you if you need us.

Al and Eloise

Very nice article on Stewart. We've been renting our home through Hatteras Realty since 2002 and had the pleasure of meeting Stewart on several occasions.  His staff, residents on the island, and rental homeowners will truly miss him. Our prayers are with Stewart's daughter and his brothers.

Debbie Feese
Annandale, Va.

Stewart was very kind.  It will be a different Island without him.

I first met Stewart at a morning surf check just over the dunes in front of the old lighthouse site and before steel jetties and the remains of the older lighthouse that was clinging on the what little life it left. Back then there were even two set of dunes to reach old mother ocean. We all had a blast back then before the traffic increased, late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Surfing was our way of life. Back then every thing I owned could be packed neatly in my camper van. I use to stop in the Red Drum Tackle, fill up with some gas at 59 cents a gallon and check the fishing report. You could always see an old "WOODIE" that had just made it off the beach, rusty as could be without floor boards and half a frame. It was a good day if you could still smell the big red drum or blues, fresh in the coolers. I'm glad to have known Stewart briefly through the years! How they go by way too fast!


I still can't believe it.  This is a true loss to the Outer Banks.  What a great man he was!  My prayers go out to his family. 

Powells Point, N.C.

Hatteras Island will miss this man. He loved to share what he had with all. There has never been a nicer person down here.


I have always felt that Stewart protected us, his Realtors. A lovely man. I will miss his humor and his devotion and his smile and, of course, his blushing cheeks.

Zia Montesi
Powells Point, N.C.

Highway 12 has an uncertain future in an era of rising seas

Just now learning that its a fragile system? You should live here for 50 years and see what has happened and, now, all of a sudden, we have a problem. The whole area is slowly washing away, inches to feet.

Native Son

Hatteras will become an island were only the elite play. Paradise lost to the working class person. So sad.

Annette Barr
Petersburg, Va.

Island Living: We are all people who are naked in our glass beach houses

Joy, I find you comments and story wonderful and truly in tune with your name -- JOY! A true sense of free spirit and a freedom to enjoy the life you've been given in this crazy world.  I embrace your right to the laid-back lifestyle and salute you for sharing it with the world, and that's exactly why our family enjoys visiting the fine folks in the OBX area.  Warm, friendly, free spirited and joyful in life!  Keep it up and keep smiling. It always keeps them guessing. And, Joy, keep singing at the top of your lungs. Make a joyful noise! 

Ron Kline
Lexington, Ohio

Outer Banks Angling: The loss of a Sunday drive

Very good article!

James Rose
Franklin, Va.

Being from New Jersey, I have become accustomed to overbearing rules and regulations in this state. That is why it was always such a joy to come down to OBX where people still had the wonderful free beaches to drive and fish. That to me was the meaning of a national seashore. Sadly, it seems that joy will be ending.  Hopefully, the powers to be will not let that happen.

Kurt Renart
Buena, N.J

"Upon winning our independence, our country instituted a whole new line of taxes and fees in order to support ourselves."

Incorrect. May I suggest a study from 1787-1913 then 1913-2012 on taxes and the Constitution? The duties of the federal government and the method of taxation for the first 100 years had zero to do with sustenance, the Constitutional duty or goal was protection against foreign and domestic tyranny and protect commerce from fraud and harm international and interstate.

The 16th amendment ratified in 1913 gave the Federal Government for the first time the power to collect income taxes.

The fees you speak of are contemporary constructs and unconstitutional.

Sandston, Va.

I agree, Rob. It is a sad day indeed when freedom and liberty are taken away from something so dearly loved. I, too, will pay whatever it takes to fish those sands, and maybe, God willing, you will be able to write "the return of the Sunday drive."

Mark Carter
Charlotte, N.C.

Beautifully written!  I so agree with you.  I am going to hold out buying a permit as long as possible because I love where I live and I love this beach.

Shaun Gerhard

Great article, Rob. Thank you for taking the last drive for so many of us that couldn't be there. I agree with you on the fee. Right now I would pay $1,000 bucks a year to the state of North Carolina to have the beach back and managed properly. It is beyond painful to pay National Park Service $120 to further mismanage this beautiful national treasure and for less beach than before.

Michele Horrigan
Gaithersburg, Md.

Very well put, Rob. You write as well as you fish.

Neil Swartz

This is all so sad. It breaks my heart as someone who loves Hatteras Island and it just feels like home, though it's not officially. It makes me sad for the residents, those whose very lives depend on the tourists, fishermen, and campers for income for their businesses. Some changes are just not good.

Jane Daughtry
Murfreesboro, N.C.

Park Service issues annual resource, law enforcement reports

I have been coming down to Cape Hatteras for over 20 years. A group of friends and family have been coming at least twice a year to go fishing. We rent a house, shop at the local stores and tackle shops.  I would have to say it’s my favorite place on earth.

I am an animal lover.  I would go out of my way to help any animal in need.  Many of times, I have yelled at the people set up next to us for not handling a shark or a skate correctly and causing it unneeded pain.  Through the years, we have helped birds that have been caught up in fishing line, a shark that was tied up in a net, and even have moved turtles off the road where they may be run over.

We do come down to Hatteras to fish the Point though, arguably the best surf fishing spot in the world.  In recent years the Point has been closed when we came down to fish. We drive eight hours and spend all the money for rentals and food and tackle to find out the place where everyone wants to fish is closed.

Apparently, the main reason for this is to protect the nesting birds. This is important to me, but I feel a compromise could be reached.

Although I don't really want to, I have no problem spending the money for beach access if I know I can fish the Point.

My thought is to take some of that money you will be collecting and hire more rangers to patrol the area. Maybe have an escort car which would lead a group of cars to the Point and back. Similar to what they do on the Bay Bridge Tunnel when they are doing construction.  Also rely on the responsible fishermen to police the area. We certainly would not let some idiots spoil it for the rest of us.  We would report questionable behavior to authorities.

Also if it’s the drinking that is a concern, don't allow any alcohol at the Point. I personally like a cold adult beverage while fishing, but I would be glad to give that up if I was able to fish the Point.

Finally, if the Point is going to be closed, let people know in advance so they don't spend all the money to come down.  Really, it almost false advertising!

Gerry Hess
Alburtis, Pa.

There were no smiles in sight, but first day of permit sales at Hatteras was uneventful

Do not buy their tax stamp.     Let them arrest you and put you in a federal prison.   From what I understand, the federal prisons are not that bad -- tennis, golf etc. If everyone refused to buy their tax stamp, they would have to discontinue their ways.  Believe me when I say that they do not what to put everyone in prison. 

John Dumbleton
Franklin, Pa.

This is the slow, steady death of Hatteras Island.  Nice job with this planned suicide.  I hope attitude doesn't play a role when I go in to get my permit because I will have a BIG one!  I hope and pray that locals are not selling these permits.  No job is worth the pay when you grease the palm of the of an already slimy government agency.  Have to do it for Assateague Island in Maryland and no longer buy the ORV Access pass.  Limited access and a steep permit for birds and turtles? They will always find another place to nest. 

Kim Holloway
Berlin, Md.

This is unfortunate. We have vacationed in Avon for over 20 years, and always enjoy the experience of driving across the sand to find the perfect spot to enjoy our days by the ocean. Because we are two families with two cars that stay for two weeks, this new tax will add $200 to our expenses, which seems unreasonable. Who set the price? How did it get from 0 to $50?

Longmeadow, Mass.

If the NPS allows "occupiers" to break the law in D.C. and camp out where they are not allowed to, then why can we not "occupy" the beaches. It seems that the complaints on beach access are similar. One percent of the population wants the beaches closed, while 99 percent want them open. It seems like the 1 percent always wins.

Richard Lafferty
Nutter Fort, W.Va.

Hey, I’m all for preservation in most instances, but this is above and beyond good reason. In 30 years of visits and extended stays to the area, I have never once observed anybody with a blatant disregard for nesting wildlife, and I've never seen anybody abuse the dunes by not using ORV trails correctly. There are jerks all over, so I'm guessing there probably have been isolated violations in the past, but this is punitive to average American families who have chose to make the OBX, “their summer place” year after year. Rather than displaying a disregard for the precious environment, we always pick up garbage as we walk the shoreline and once even cut a gull free that had become entangled in a six-pack carrier. I don't think we are exceptional in this regard as I think many try to give back to an area they love enough to consider their second'home. I am concerned about animal rights, but in the end, I am human too. 

Deb Allen
Clarkesville, Ga.

Thanks to Island Free Press

I'm a non-resident owner of a rental property in Avon.  I try to get down to Hatteras Island three to four times a year, sometime more, sometimes less.  In between those visits, I really appreciate your efforts with Island Free Press to keep me informed of what is happening on the island when I am not there.  Thanks again for sharing all the information you do through the website.

Nate Davis
Fairfax, Va.

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