August 8, 2013
Cape Point will remain closed to
ORVs for several more weeks
By IRENE NOLAN
the federally threatened piping plovers have finished nesting on Cape
Hatteras National Seashore beaches, Cape Point will probably remain
closed to off-road vehicles for several more weeks.
according to Park Service public affairs specialist Cyndy Holda, is
that there are two American oystercatcher chicks that are foraging
along the ocean shoreline approximately seven-tenths of a mile south of
Ramp 44 in Buxton.
Holda said the chicks are taking short
flights, but that they are not strong enough yet to fly any
distance. She noted that oystercatcher chicks are heavy and
“awkward flyers,” so it takes them more time to fledge.
Cape Point itself is not closed, so some pedestrians are wading in the water around the closed area.
Holda said that the beach between Ramp 44 and the Point where the chicks are located will probably open to pedestrians shortly.
according to the Park Service’s final rule and ORV plan, the ban on
ORVs must remain in place for two weeks after pedestrian access is
opened. This, she said, is to allow the chicks to get used to
people in the area and flying from them before there are vehicles they
must deal with.
The ban on ORVs until two weeks after the area
opens to pedestrians apparently applies only to American oystercatchers
because, as Holda noted, the birds are heavy, awkward flyers that take
more time to learn to fly distances.
American oystercatchers are
not federally protected, but are state-listed species of special
concern, and as such are protected by rules and buffers by the Park
Service’s ORV plan and final rule.
Cape Point closed to vehicles
this year on April 9. It also closed on April 9 last year, but opened
on Aug. 3. It looks as if this year, the ORV route to the Point may
well not be open until the third or fourth week of August.
number of miles open to ORVs on Hatteras Island was reduced this week
in the Park Service weekly report on miles and ramps open.
to this week report, 7.13 miles of Hatteras Island’s 40 miles of beach
were open to ORVs. Another 6.44 were closed for resource
protection, and almost 27 miles were open to pedestrians.
Last week – and for most of July – there have been about 8 ½ miles of Hatteras beach open to ORVs.
difference is caused by more beaches being closed because turtle nests
about to hatch are being expanded down to the ocean and there is no
room for ORVs to pass behind them. This is happening at Ramp 49
in Frisco and several other areas. These closures are shorter
than the bird-nesting closures.
Holda also said today that,
after a late start to the nesting season, the number of turtle nests in
the seashore may surpass last year’s record 222. As of today,
there were 218 turtle nests.
comments powered by