September 8, 2014

Acting superintendent talks about seashore
issues on 'To the Point' radio show...WITH AUDIO

Kym Hall, acting superintendent of the National Park Service's Outer Banks Group, was the guest Sunday, Sept. 7, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

The show, hosted by Island Free Press Editor, Irene Nolan, will air on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 and FM 99.9, at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month.  It will be repeated on the second and fourth Sunday.

On the show, Nolan will be interviewing newsmakers about the events and issues that affect all of us who live on Hatteras Island and those of us who love to visit here.

"You can expect to hear from folks who are making the news, those who are decision-makers, and some who are just plain interesting to talk to about the island and its past, present, and future," she says.

Because the station's all-volunteer staff and small budget are stretched tight, the show is pre-recorded.  At this point, listeners cannot call in questions.

Also, the station can be received only on Hatteras Island, though the board of directors of the community, non-profit hopes that funds can be raised soon for online streaming of the programming.

For now, the audio will be posted the week after the interview so Island Free Press readers who missed the show or who do not live on Hatteras can listen in.

Here are some highlights of yesterday's interview with Hall:

  • Buxton beach restoration. Hall outlines the procedure the county must use to get a special use permit from the NPS for the beach nourishment project.  She calls the timeline, which would put sand on the beach in the late summer of 2016, "ambitious," but says it would be possible. "We will do as much as possible to expedite that timeline," she says.
  • Controversy over new Ramp 25.  The contractor built the pedestrian boardwalk to the south of the new ramp,Minstead of to the north as called for in the Environmental Assessment of the new ORV-related projects.  Hall said that the designer thought "it was the most logical" placement, but the Park Service should have looked more closely. "It was a lesson learned on our part," she says, adding that in the future the NPS will be "very clear" with contractors. 

The cost of the ramp is not discussed in the interview, but the Island Free Press did learn just after it was recorded that the total construction cost is $655,420.  That includes the parking lot with pervious paving, which is not yet complete, but is projected to cost $77,977. The ramp opens Sept. 11.

  • Shorebird and turtle nesting.  Both are down this year at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore despite the added protections of the off-road vehicle plan and special regulation. Hall says the park biologists are looking at the reasons. However, she said that there will always be "an ebb and flow" and that the park must look at the longer-term trend.
  • Circle of Stones.  Hall says the big, granite stones engraved with the names of the keepers of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be relocated to the new lighthouse site sometime this fall -- or at the latest in the early spring.  After the lighthouse was moved in 1999, the stones were arranged in a circle to mark the original site and "footprint" of the 1872 tower.  However, that site was eroding quickly, so the stones are in storage until they can be relocated.
  • Frisco Pier. Hall says the Park Service has just awarded a contract to have a dive team go underwater to find out the shape of the support pilings. "Right now, we don't know what's under the water," she says.  Meanwhile, the park's maintenance staff members will soon tear down and remove the pier house and the ramp that leads to it.

Finally, Hall says NPS hopes to appoint a new superintendent for the Outer Banks Group around Nov. 1.  Since the Park Service does not usually move folks during the holidays, she says, it could be early January before the new superintendent arrives on the Outer Banks.


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