there is anything that can be guaranteed, it is change. Just as
the ever changing and dynamic barrier islands of Cape Hatteras National
Seashore constantly shift and alter, the people who are responsible for
managing and protecting the seashore is ever changing.
October 7, 2014
Seashore's acting superintendent
updates NCBBA members
By KYM A. HALL
some of you may know, I am currently serving in a temporary detail as
the acting superintendent of the Outer Banks Group, which includes the
seashore. As the previous superintendent transitioned out and
into his new position in the Southeast Regional Office, I transitioned
into new responsibilities and challenges to fill the gap left in the
interim until a new permanent superintendent is selected.
Currently, I am serving as the deputy superintendent of Glacier
National Park in Montana, whose rugged mountains are in stark contrast
to the gentle rolling dunes of the seashore.
I am excited
and humbled at the opportunity to continue the great work that is being
done here and to bridge the gap of change between myself and the new
During the nearly two months
that I have been on the Outer Banks, I have had the privilege and
opportunity to meet members of the North Carolina Beach Buggy
Association and discuss our shared goal of protecting and preserving
this special place and enhancing access, so that visitors and residents
can better enjoy this inspiring resource.
On Saturday, Sept. 13,
NCBBA held an Operation Beach Respect event and invited seashore staff
to participate. Several employees assisted with the clean-up and
greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with NCBBA members and share in
the barbecue afterwards. I want to thank you for including our
staff is this wonderful program and allowing them the opportunity to
work with a partner who shares a common interest in keeping our beaches
pristine. I would also like to extend a huge "thank you" to all
your members who participated in the clean-up!
In past articles,
we have shared with your members some of the exciting and progressive
natural resource-related plans and beach-access projects we have in the
works. I wanted to provide an update as to where we are with some
of these projects and where we hope to be in the near future. I
know that your members have a passion and appreciation for the Seashore
and are very interested in how we manage and protect this dynamic,
ACCESS PROJECTS UPDATE
March 2012, as a secondary planning effort to the ORV Management Plan,
an environmental assessment was conducted to evaluate the impacts for
potential developed areas within the seashore to increase public access
to the beaches.
The proposed developments will
facilitate visitor access along the seashore, provide a variety of
visitor use experiences, provide a satisfying visitor experience
throughout the Seashore for all visitors consistent with the purpose
for which the seashore was established, ensure that future and current
roads, ORV ramps, foot trails, boardwalks, and parking areas promote
the safety of all visitors, minimize conflicts between different types
of recreation users, and protect the seashore’s natural, cultural,
scenic, and aesthetic values.
Just in time for the fall fishing
season, newly constructed Ramp 25 opened to the public on Sept. 11,
becoming the first completed project under the ORV Management
Plan. The next phase of this project will be the installation of
a parking area, which has been funded and a contract has been awarded,
though a start date for this project has not been set at this time.
second major project that will be initiated will be Ramp 32, which will
include a foot path and a 10-car parking lot. The Ramp 32 project
has also been funded and a contract has been awarded, though no
official start date for the work has been set at this time.
UPDATE ON RESEARCH PROJECTS
Carolina State University and U.S. Geological Survey researchers
conducted a study to assess the effects of predator and vehicle
management practices on breeding American oystercatchers at the
seashore during the 2014 breeding season. The researchers are
reviewing and processing the 10,000 hours of video and heart rate
recordings that they collected during the field season.
Sense” (Phase 2) is still underway with nine turtle nests with sensors
still incubating. To date, 19 sensors and 14 communication towers
have been installed in the field. Although the data collected is
limited, the preliminary results look promising for the sensors'
ability to predict hatching and emergence.
has finalized an agreement with Virginia Tech to conduct piping plover
research at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The objective of the
agreement will be to aid the National Park Service in evaluating
several of the adaptive management initiatives outlined in the Off-road
Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. The study
is scheduled to start during the 2015 breeding season. A graduate
student has already been selected for the study and is planning a site
In closing, I want to express my appreciation for
the opportunity to be able to share with you the work that is going on
at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. To be able to keep your
members apprised of our accomplishments and future plans is something
that I truly feel is important. I also want to thank the members
of NCBBA for making me feel welcome to the Outer Banks and ensuring a
smooth transition between my time here and the new superintendent.
My goal is to ensure that the great work that has been
going on and the relationship we have built with each other continues
in the interim. I have truly enjoyed the beauty of this wonderful
place and challenges associated with preserving and protecting the
seashore for visitors -- not only for today but for generations to
Though fall is officially here and the weather is
cooling for the season, I hope that each of you is able to get out
there and enjoy the seashore as I know I will during the remainder of
my time here. On behalf of not only the National Park Service but
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, I hope everyone enjoys the wonders of
fall and great fishing.
Hall is acting superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
This article is reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Beach
Buggy Association September 2014 newsletter.)