April 22, 2015
NPS sets public meetings, expedites construction
plans to meet new law's requirements
By IRENE NOLAN
Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent David Hallac today released
an expedited schedule for new construction that is part of the 2012
Off-Road Vehicle Management plan.
he also announced five meetings for the first week of May for the
public to learn about and comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA)
of wildlife buffers and establishing corridors that will be released
Both announcements relate to
legislation passed in December by Congress as part of the National
Defense Authorization Act that instructs the Secretary of Interior to
consider some changes in the ORV plan.
The new law instructs the Secretary to
review and adjust wildlife protection buffers, keep them in place the
shortest possible duration, designate vehicle and pedestrian
corridors around resource closures, and confer with the state of
North Carolina on certain buffers and protections.
requires that the Park Service under a public process to consider
such changes as the earlier opening of beaches that are closed at
night during the summer, extending seasonal ORV routes in the fall
and spring, and modifying the size and location of vehicle-free
areas. And it instructs seashore officials to
construct new vehicle access points and roads "as expeditiously
Twenty-nine projects that include new
ramps, parking areas, pedestrian boardwalks, and an unpaved
interdunal road, were listed in
the seashore’s 2013 Environmental Assessment (EA) to Facilitate
(Construct) Additional Public Beach Access.
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.
Since the legislation was passed and
Hallac arrived as superintendent, seashore officials have conducted a
review of the construction projects.
Park Service said today in a news release that after the review, the
reprioritization of projects places emphasis on those that provide
ORV and pedestrian access to key recreational areas within the
seashore while providing resource protection.
construction projects will be phased in over several years. The
project titles, original, and expedited schedules are:
seashore staff has also been working on reviewing and modifying
wildlife protection buffers and corridors through the preparation of
an Environmental Assessment.
the week of April 27, the Park Service plans to release the EA, which
will present the seashore’s proposed action to modify wildlife
buffers and establish corridors. The release of the document will be
followed by a two-week public review period.
public meetings are scheduled for the week of May 4 to provide the
public with the opportunity to learn about the proposed action. They
are scheduled for:
May 6. Raleigh, North
Carolina. N.C. State University Campus, McKimmon Conference and
Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, from 6 until 8 p.m.
May 7. Hampton/
Norfolk, Virginia. Embassy Suites Hampton Roads, 1700 Coliseum
Drive, Hampton, from 6 to 8 p.m.
May 8. Kitty Hawk.
Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, from 6
until 8 p.m.
legislation also requires a public process to consider, consistent
with management requirements at the seashore, changes to the ORV
special regulation as it relates to morning opening of beaches,
extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and
modifying vehicle free areas. This second phase of the review will
be conducted beginning in July 2015.
more information, visit the park webpage at: