May 2012 Letters To The Editor

New Letters to the Editor....05.25.2012  10:45 am

Residents and visitors frustrated by spotty Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service

Our party was one of the many groups that did not make it back to Hatteras Island on Monday, May 7 -- five adults, two young boys, and a 7-month-old baby.  We had left a total of seven dogs on Hatteras and, if my husband had not been there and with a car (as I had carpooled with others in our group), it would have been quite an issue with no one to tend to the animals.   If we had been warned at the Hatteras Ferry terminal (where we caught the 12:30 p.m. ferry to Ocracoke) that we might have difficulties returning, we would not have chanced the trip that day. 

Having to book rooms for all of us on Ocracoke and pay for additional meals cost well over $400 -- when we already had paid for housing on Hatteras Island.  Sleeping in our cars was not an option in our circumstance.  Additionally, a fishing charter had been planned for the next morning.  Fortunately, that was able to be postponed, but if it had been your typical charter arrangement, a member of our party would have been out several hundred dollars for a fishing trip that she could not make.  Also, information we were given on Monday evening about potential ferry availability in the morning was not at all accurate. We were told to be there at 4:30 in morning for a 5a.m. ferry when the ferries were not even running at that hour recently because of the dark.  And people were told they could use the priority lane in the morning, and then those very people were told that morning to leave the priority lane and go to the end of the "tourist" lane. 

Correct and honest information (which sometimes might just be, "I don't know."), given clearly, would have saved a lot of frustration for those people.  We understand the problems the ferry system is facing and the economic issues the islands are experiencing, but a simple warning to potential passengers would have saved a great deal of frustration, time, and money for many.  This was not good publicity and public relations for the Outer Banks as a vacation and recreational destination. 

Sue Rayburn
Bruceton Mills, W. Va.

 The impacts of Irene, the winds, the super moon and the tides we can live with, with a grumble. However, the need for dredging has been apparent for months, so I'm a mite less tolerant of the delays at all levels in funding and proceeding with the operation.

 Intolerable, however, is any delay caused by the "need" for the environmental agencies to "sign off" on dredging. Just suppose they don't, or simply drag their feet? They're good at finding a weed, a grass, a sessile, crawling or swimming beastie that they deem more precious than our mere human activities. Is there really a nesting sturgeon in the way of the dredging plan? How convenient is that?

I don't have an answer, but I do have two questions. How have we allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent? And how many more economic insults, coming one right after the other, can we endure? Without all this blizzard of environmental help, we could do quite nicely, thank you.
Fred Westervelt

First piping plover nest hatches, closes Cape Point and Ramps 44 and 45

Insanity. You must not want any human visitors in the park. I will not plan a vacation that will cost thousands of dollars for me and my family unless I can be sure of beach access. The current plan does not do this. After 10 years straight of vacations in the Outer Banks, I have not visited in three years. I consider it a terrible loss. By the way, this weekend I'll be spending my money in New Jersey, where I know I will be allowed on the beach. Anyone who believes birds are more important than humans needs to have their head examined.

Mark Mason
Newport News, Va.

Why did I even buy a permit? There is no place open. What’s going to happen over the holidays? Maybe they should open places where there are no birds, such as 34 and other ramps. I went to 43 Saturday. It started to get crowded in the afternoon. This is not right or fair at all.

Pat Conley

It is terrible that the National Park Service has determined to close off that entire stretch of beach.  Shameful!

Roy Lloyd
Charlottesville, Va.

Guest Column: What makes a mom?

Happy Mother's Day, Anne!

Susan Wyche

 Night driving and beach fire restrictions go into effect

With the continuance of increasing restrictions by way of "regulation" not "legislation/law," our government further restricts our individual rights to use our natural resources.  The (not ours anymore) park is no longer a recreational area for citizens but a refuge and sanctuary for the use of wildlife and NPS personnel.  Our government continues to monopolize our lives, supposedly for the greater good of society, and, in our local case, wildlife.

Wayne Clark

A fire permit is more nonsense.  This could be accomplished with a sign.  It’s just another excuse for the Park Service to give out fines and impede people's enjoyment of the beach.

Ron M.
Midlothian, Va.

Asian tiger shrimp:  Love them or fear them?

Get your shrimp nets ready. I used to buy these at Seamark Foods, and they are good. As wild-caught, they should be awesome.

Native Son
Roanoke Island

Island Living: The trouble with the term ‘environmentalist’

We've visited the Outer Banks several times and are planning another vacation there this fall.  I live on a street where almost all the neighbors ride ATVs, motorcycles, and even riding mowers up and down the street almost every day. For fun.  It is not fun for me, who has to hear it and can't even have my windows open in this nice weather.  And I just read that traffic noise raises blood pressure, so the neighbors' fun is probably going to kill me. 

I appreciate limited beach access.  When I go to the ocean, I am going to see the natural world, the creatures that live on the beach, and to hear the sounds of the ocean.  You who live there are sublimely lucky. We stopped going to Myrtle Beach because it was so built up. Everywhere, more and more people drive ATVs or other off-road vehicles and that means more off-road use.  Why?  Why not just park and walk?  Don't all the beach rental pictures show people taking leisurely walks on the beach?  I have bird feeders and water, and my cats are 100 percent indoor.  The reward is a tiny patch of yard with a diversity of nature nobody else has, or evidently wants.

Marietta, Ohio

State Division of Marine Fisheries May Disappear

Great idea. Most people are all bored beyond words. I'm an ex-fed regulatory biologist, and my experience with other such agents has shown me that none are stupid. They all are capable to understand the various regulations and requirements of a multi-discipline agency.  The powers-that-be should be cross training by now, instead of protecting their turf and budgets.

Gary A. Mitchell
Ivanhow, N.C. 

Re-entry permits being issued only for Dare non-resident owners

I still do not understand why someone who rents long-term is going to be allowed re-entry prior to the person who owns the property.  If I call and ask my landlord to fix something after a storm, they can't get there until after me.


Seashore superintendent Mike Murray announces he will retire July 31

Somebody go hold the door open for him.

Montpelier, Va.

I'm happy to see him go. I just hope we don't go from bad to worse.

M. Breeden
Virginia Beach, Va.

Any way possible he could convince a certain judge to do the same? Glad he is going. Maybe someone with some sense will take over

Randall Barger
Faith, N.C.

UPDATE: July 4 fireworks are coming, but donations still needed

Visit Avon Property Owners Association on Facebook for updates on the fireworks and other news and events in Avon --


Congrats! We were in Avon in 2010 when there were NO fireworks. It was hard to explain to your kids that fireworks are over an hour away. Kudos!

Baltimore, Md.

New Letters to the Editor....05.09.2012  12:00 pm

Beach Access Issues

 We are the non-resident owners of a soundside house. We bought in Frisco because we could access the beach via the four-wheel drive areas. Now that our access will be restricted, we anticipate problems this summer.

Although the regulations place priority on the protected wildlife, I wonder if the NPS has thought about the ramifications--heated contention that could lead to violence--of not making other accommodations for people—those of us who will still want to go to the beach.

Increasing and adding parking in those areas that we humans can still access might ease the situation. The area between Frisco and Hatteras village is one area where additional parking lots—spaced so that not everyone was forced on top of each other like in Ocean City, Md.—could ease this situation. And, accordingly, decreasing the speed limit from 55 to 35 in areas where more people will cross the road would be an appropriate safety precaution. Making the lot bigger adjacent to the museum could help too. It would also help if Dare County officials could also ease restrictions on where we can park, without excessive ticketing that would only cause more grief.

The NPS must realize that we won't just disappear. Those of us who bought houses and most locals who live soundside, must have access to the beach, even if we have to lug all of our stuff across the road, a luxury that four-wheeling gives us (and I admit to enjoying). By some of us giving up four-wheel driving on the beach, we are compromising. But I won't compromise my access to the beach, which, for me, is a need not a want. So, how do I get to the beach unless more parking areas are constructed?

Elaine Douts
Sterling, Va.

Here, here! If our beaches are closed, I guess us locals will go from a "threatening species" to endangered. My family has been here long before there was even a Coast Guard (lifesaving) station here. They were all fishermen who respected their livelihood. They made sure to leave the beach pristine. I have seen more tourist trash and locals picking up after them. The locals rely on their beaches. It’s time for everyone to ask “Who comes first the human or the animal?” Relocate the birds, not the people who have been here longer than the birds.

Nags Head

A promising new clue to the fate of the Lost Colony

This kind of stuff appeals to my love of history and mysteries. I also think it's cool that it's so close to where I grew up and to where I spend my time now. Fascinating! Keep up the good work.

Christopher Smith

Night driving and beach fire restrictions go into effect

I felt that one of the biggest attractions to the Outer Banks was the easy-going, no-big-brother, relaxing atmosphere, which is now turning into the rules, rules, rules nasty world that I moved away from several years ago. It found me -- fishing licenses, trying to get tolls on the ferry which we have enjoyed for years, can't drive on the beach, and now, no beach fire and a permit to boot where they might let you have one. It may be a no pay permit today, but, people, wait and see where that goes. All this could make a grown man cry. I’m sorry to see the OBX citizens lose their freedom. There is a point where people won't take it anymore...

Richard Livingston

 Is ‘smart growth’ a U.N. conspiracy?

I am not a resident of your state. I live in northern California.  Many areas fall into Agenda 21: energy, our food supply, housing, transportation, property ownership, First Amendment, individuality and freedom, to name a few.

Smart Meters, microwave radio frequency gas and electric meters, are being installed to replace our safe analog meters.  These meters will tie into the Smart Grid and will allow energy companies to stop power at their will, especially during peak hours. The subversiveness is two-fold. Human cells and tissue can't thrive in microwave radio wave energy. Many humans and animals are getting sick, and we know individuals who have had to leave their own homes, continue to pay the mortgage, and  rent in non-Smart Meter cities, and as mentioned, the power company will have complete control over your power usage.

Our food is falling into the hands of genetic engineering, GMOs, which has had negative consequences globally.  Our government has reappointed the ex-vice president and lobbyist of one of the largest GMO companies to counsel the FDA on our healthy food and drugs.  The GMO company has produced poisonous pesticides and unhealthy bovine hormones to force cows to produce unnatural amounts of milk, leading humans to ingest more antibiotics from sick, treated cows.  GMO companies certainly do not have healthy food in mind for the population.

Much wild land will be off limits to the public.  Green-designed, high-towering buildings, think of Hong Kong, will house humans along railroad tracks.   Homes, property, and farms will be confiscated.  Transportation will be mostly by foot, walking, riding bikes, and perhaps the usage of electric cars.  We will not be allowed to travel without special consent.  Humans may be micro-chipped to keep tabs on their whereabouts, but disguised as a way to have immediate access to our health records. We will be assigned jobs and lose much individuality.  The family unit will change, as children will be educated for many years by the government-run schools in environmental, sustainability education for the good of the globe and will seldom see their families. 

Anyone who opposes the government may be confined to FEMA camps.  The goal to protect the environment through Agenda 21 will be to reduce the population by 85-95 percent.  The overlords will make decisions for the people.  Life will become one of control and fear.  As no one thought Hitler was much of a threat to Eastern Europe or could commit the atrocities his regime did commit, the micro control and fear is starting to exert itself in America.  Agenda 21 is benchmarked for the world.

The U.S. states of Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee are saying no to Agenda 21 and their related organizations and other cities in the U.S. are taking a stand.  Start reading, scanning the Internet, join Stop Smart Meter groups, demand labeling of GMO foods, and get involved with people who are trying to make a healthy difference.  You will be surprised at what you learn.
Thank you.

Coastside, Calif.

Neighbors of the old Coast Guard housing in Buxton are concerned about development

Well that didn't take long. NIMBY seems to exist everywhere.

Rex Xraigo
Saint Albans, W. Va.

Bodie Island Lighthouse restoration resumes

I have been waiting so long for this to be done.  I hope to be able to climb it next year. Thanks for the update. Keep the updates coming. Thanks!

Marrion Beers
Chardon, Ohio

Burr and Hagan introduce bill in Senate to overturn final ORV plan

I have been a visitor to the OBX since 1980, sometimes two times a year. One of the big reasons I come here is to be able to drive a four-wheel vehicle to surf fishing areas and visit "The Point." Stargazing at night in areas away from the houses has also been a delight where you can drive to get away from the light pollution. My friends and I are dismayed at the severe restrictions to ORV use and the seeming lack of common sense in the current ruling.

I have read and responded to all of the decrees over the recent years including wading through all the various proposals presented by the Park Service and writing to include my input to the public response. I can see where the current restrictions will further erode the numbers of visitors to the OBX once tourists and visitors realize the full extent of the restrictions. Some in my party this week cannot walk very far to fish because of physical limitations, and for them these new rules are a severe limitation to their enjoyment of the OBX experience that they had come to expect.

I have a biology degree from the University of Tennessee and used to work for the National Park Service in the Great Smoky Mountains. I am an environmentalist in that I support the proper protection for our natural resources, but cannot believe that these current restrictions are a common sense compromise for what the area needs, especially in light of the impact that weather and sea action has on the wildlife in the area near the beach water interface where ORV use occurs. The current permit price for ORV driving is way too high for short-term use, and the long-term permit should be pro-rated or good for 12 months from the date of issuance. My hope is that the bill H.R. 4094 is adopted by Congress. My hope is that a common sense solution can be found, but the current state of affairs is not one of them. I drive 10 hours one way to get here, and one of the main reasons that I visit the OBX is being taken away from me.

Charles Garvey
Knoxville, Tenn.

Good story, Irene.  I am printing it for future reference.  You have given us the facts we need to make our calls and lobby to get both this bill and H.R. 4094 on the floors of the Senate and House, respectively.  Thank you.

Eileen Graham
Gardners, Pa.

We have tried everything possible to overturn the plan.  How about contacting FOX news and let them know what's going on down at the OBX and how the government is pushing it way around just to save a few birds that are not even endangered.

Franklin, Pa.

Restrictions on access are needed to protect North Carolina’s scenic treasures. Pedestrian access is fine, but motorized is not. People do not need ORVs to enjoy nature. You are catering to industry and business lobbyists/money, and that is wrong. Never met an honest politician. Never will.
God save this country from you.

David J. Goldberg
Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.

Does this really have a chance of passing or is it political posturing?

Tony Hess
Kintnersville, Pa.

Guest Column: A family’s safety for the birds?

It would be interesting to see the official job description of a National Park Service ranger.

Elizabeth City, N.C.

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