April 16, 2015
CHAPA weighs in on ORV plan's new infrastructure
By IRENE NOLAN
Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) has made
recommendations to the National Park Service on the new public access
infrastructure projects that seashore officials compiled as part of the
Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan that became effective in February 2012.
29 projects, which include new ramps, parking areas, pedestrian
boardwalks, and an unpaved interdunal road, were listed in the Final
Environmental Impact Statement on the seashore's ORV plan that was
released in the fall of 2011.
In 2012, the Park Service opened a
public scoping period for comments on the proposed construction
projects that included new ramps, parking areas, pedestrian boardwalks,
and an unpaved interdunal road. That was followed in 2013 by an
The projects are to be funded with ORV
permit fees and were not ranked by priority. So far, only one -- Ramp
25.5 between Salvo and Avon -- has been completed, though the parking
area there is still under construction.
Legislation passed in
December by Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act
instructs the Secretary of Interior to consider some changes in the ORV
plan. The law also requires the Secretary to construct new
vehicle access points and roads at the seashore "as expeditiously as
Seashore Superintendent Dave Hallac said after he
arrived on the job in late December that seashore staff members were
prioritizing the remaining 28 projects and determining what will be
required to get them completed.
He said in late February that
the newly prioritized list would be made public soon, possibly in a
week's time. However, it has still not been released.
an umbrella organization comprised of groups that support more
reasonable access to seashore beaches than is allowed under the ORV
plan. The alliance includes the Outer Banks Preservation Association,
The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, and Cape Hatteras Anglers
Club, and members of the Hatteras Island business community.
group commented on the projects during public scoping in July 2013. And
on March 5, in response to the new legislation, CHAPA wrote to Hallac
with additional comments and priorities for the construction projects.
In the letter, CHAPA endorsed eight ORV-focused projects and listed them in order oF priority. They are:
endorsed 18 pedestrian-focused projects as "admirable" but said they
should not be paid for with ORV fee permit funds. These include
boardwalks, handicapped accessible boardwalks, and some parking areas.
- An unpaved interdunal road between Ramps 45 and 49 with a new Ramp 48 to the beach.
- ORV Ramp 32.5 between Salvo and Avon with a 10-car parking area and foot trail to the beach.
- ORV Ramp 59.5 on north Ocracoke.
elevated section of Lighthouse Road at Ramps 43 and 44. On this
one, CHAPA urges the Park Service to reconsider opening a drainage
system that was successfully used for decades to reduced roadway
flooding from the wetlands.
- ORV Ramp 63 across from Scrag Cedar Road on Ocracoke.
- A 10-car parking area at Ramp 4 on Bodie Island to allow groups arriving in multiple vehicles to consolidate.
- Ramp 25.5 parking area. (Construction has started since the letter to Hallac was written.)
unimproved 20-vehicle parking area near the Pole Road/Shell Road at
Hatteras Inlet. CHAPA actually recommends that the area be
expanded for 40 vehicles.
- CHAPA recommends that the Park Service add several new projects -- with ORV permit fee funding -- to the list. They are:
- Reopen Ramp 2 on Bodie Island, which would negate the construction of a new Ramp 2.5.
- Reopen Ramp 1 on Bodie Island, if not totally, then seasonally.
- Construct a bypass behind the dunes from Ramp 44 to Cape Point.
- Construct an ADA ramp north of Ramp 2 to eliminate perceived conflicts there when pedestrians use the ramp to get to the beach.
a parking fee to pay for improvements to Coquina Beach showers,
bathrooms, and parking, add ADA access, and pay for additional
Finally, CHAPA declined to endorse all or part of five more projects. They are:
10-car parking area at the former U.S. Coast Guard Station on Bodie
Island. Too close to Coquina Beach parking area and would add to
- Additional access road at Coquina Beach. Would cause congestion.
- ORV Ramp and 10-car parking area a half-mile south of Coquina Beach. Wouldn't be needed if Ramp 2 reopened.
- Foot trail to the beach at Ramp 4. ORV funds should not pay for foot trails to vehicle-free areas.
50-car parking area at former Buxton Coast Guard Station. Access to
this area should be via the Park Service's Lighthouse Road and not
through the residential area off Old Lighthouse Road.
Click here to read the entire CHAPA document on infrastructure projects with comments.