October 7, 2013
Government shutdown protesters march peacefully
to Lighthouse beach….WITH SLIDE SHOW
By IRENE NOLAN
crowd that Park Service Hatteras District Ranger David Carter put at
100 to 150 people marched peacefully down Lighthouse Road, past
barricades, and out to the closed beach at the site of the old Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse about mid-day on Saturday, Oct. 5.
There were no incidents, Carter said, and after milling around on the beach a while, the crowd marched back up the road.
assembled at property in northern Buxton all morning and got their
signs and American flags ready – there were lots of American flags.
were not allowed, but all the marchers walked around the Park Service
blockade of the road. The three or so rangers in two vehicles
parked there let the crowd move on by without trying to stop anyone.
few folks yelled obscenities at the rangers, said Paul Stevens, the
Park Service’s chief of law enforcement, but he added that 99 percent
were cooperative and understanding – as they have been since the
government shutdown forced seashore facilities and beaches to close
In fact, in the photographs taken by Island Free
Press photographer Don Bowers, many marchers stopped at the barricade
to chat with the rangers, ask questions, or offer their support.
marchers, both residents and visitors, were a mixed lot – babies in
strollers to seniors in wheelchairs. Some biked, but most walked
under another day of sunny skies with warm temperatures and light winds.
only nine law enforcement rangers on duty for the entire seashore, park
officials had determined to let the march go on – which has, more or
less, been their approach to the beach shutdown since Tuesday.
long as you don’t try to drive a vehicle to the beach around the
chained ramps or cause other problems, you can get to the beach.
Most are parking in technically closed oceanside access areas and
walking over the dune or getting access to the technically closed beach
from private land.
So far, the arrangement seems to be working well for beachgoers and for park rangers.
far the most disappointed visitors are the anglers who want to load up
their off-road vehicles with gear and fish in some of the more remote
However, on Saturday afternoon, Frank Folk of Frank
and Fran’s tackle shop in Avon said there were 10 folks in his store
and “they are happy.” Folb said they are fishing anywhere and
everywhere they can and have noted that the rangers have been “nice” to
Many business owners report that sales are down, but that they are managing for the time being.
One business forced to close by the shutdown opened briefly over the weekend and closed again today.
Avon Fishing Pier operates as a Park Service concession, and the
managers were told last Tuesday to close down the establishment.
It’s the first time that anyone can remember park concessions being
forced to close during a shutdown.
It’s prime fall fishing season and anglers and management were unhappy.
decided to go ahead and open the pier despite the Park Service edict on
Saturday morning and it remained open until this morning.
other attractions are also open. The Graveyard of the Atlantic
Museum in Hatteras village near the ferry docks is a state-owned
facility, and Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station & Historic Site in
Rodanthe is a private, non-profit.
Chicamacomico is one of
America’s premier maritime museums, showcasing the little-known, yet
fascinating history of the United States Life-Saving Service.
They were America’s first “Rescue Heroes,” and were the predecessors of
today’s U.S. Coast Guard. Chicamacomico is the largest, most
complete oceanfront U.S. Life-Saving Service complex left in America.
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum is one of
the many sites on the Historic Albemarle Tour and the National Outer
Banks Scenic Byway. It is located in Rodanthe, the northernmost
village of Hatteras Island, oceanside at 23645 NC Highway 12, or Mile
Post 39.5. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
from mid-April until the end of November. There is an admission
fee. To learn more about Chicamacomico, visit www.chicamacomico.net.
of the shops and restaurants in the villages of Hatteras and Ocracoke
are also open, and the state-owned ferries are running.
Service’s Stevens said today that only five tickets have been issued
since the shutdown began – three on Ocracoke for going around
barricades and through vegetation in vehicles to get to the beach, one
on Bodie Island, one at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and one at
CLICK HERE TO VIEW SLIDE SHOW
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