April 18, 2016

A conversation with the seashore superintendent

The spring's news and issues at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore were the topic of the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, April 17. The guest for the interview was seashore Superintendent David Hallac.

In a wide-ranging discussion with host Irene Nolan, editor of The Island Free Press, Hallac talked about many issues, including:

  • The new off-road vehicle corridor -- established under modified buffer rules for nesting birds -- that is now in effect at Cape Point. The corridor has a good chance of keeping the Point open well into May. In recent years, the Point has closed in early April. There is also a corridor at South Point on Ocracoke.  The corridors take vehicles around American oystercatchers exhibiting nesting behavior. ORVs may travel slowly through the corridor without stopping, but pedestrians are not allowed. This will continue until there are chicks on the ground, which could be about a month if a nest is established. Hallac says the science shows that "when a human being walks past nesting birds, they tend to flush and are clearly disturbed."  They are less disturbed, he said, when the people are in vehicles.
  • Stormwater and flooding issues in the area of the Cape Point campground.  Hallac updates the seashore's continued conversations with the state's Department of Environmental Quality to put a plan in place to drain the area.
  • Extended seasons for all four of the seashore's campgrounds -- at Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, Frisco, and Ocracoke.  The campgrounds will be open through Thanksgiving.  Reservations can also be made for all four campgrounds  now at www.recreation.gov.
  • New places to buy ORV permits, including online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.recreation.gov.  The Park Service has given up the temporary trailers it used to dispense permits, though you can still buy them in person at the Visitor Centers at Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke.  However, you can also buy an annual or seven-day permit online and print it out at home before you visit the park.  The Park Service has dropped fees for getting a permit online and for shipping.  So the permit costs the same when puchased online as when purchased at a Visitor Center. Click here for more information.
  • The purchase of ORV permits online is up 55 percent this year, Hallac said.  Overall, he said sales of permits are up 7 percent.  Last year, the seashore sold 35,000 ORV permits, up from about 30,000 in previous years.  "Obviously, ORV use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is very popular," Hallac said.
  • The seashore's new and improved Facebook page and daily and weekly reports.  Pinned to the top of the page is a Ramp Status Report that is updated daily.  Also now available on the Facebook page are the weekly reports on natural resources (bird and turtle nesting) and miles open and closed at the seashore.  Hallac says you do not have to sign up for Facebook to have access to the seashore's page -- www.facebook.com/CapeHatterasNS.
  • Public comments on the Environmental Assessment of changing some of the rules in the final ORV plan, including such things as times of opening beaches, length of time seasonal ORV routes are open, and location of vehicle-free areas.  Hallac said the seashore had 1,451 comments submitted.  That compares to 1,800 submitted after the first public scoping meetings last August and 9,300 on buffer modification rules last spring.

To listen to the interview with Hallac, scroll down to the "To the Point" logo and click on the arrow.

"To the Point" airs on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 , at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month.  It is repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at www.radiohatteras.org.


Radio Hatteras is Hatteras Island's community, non-profit radio station and depends on grants, memberships, and underwriting.

It broadcasts around the clock with news -- including such things as surfing and fishing reports -- community announcements, music, and special programs. The station is also now streamed live. To listen, go to www.radiohatteras.org.

Our community radio station also needs your support, and you can give that by purchasing a membership or by underwriting the station if you are a business or another community non-profit.

Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.

E-mail [email protected] or call (252) 995-6000 for information about underwriting opportunities.

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