June 29, 2016

Flooded ramp situation in Buxton, Frisco improves


The flooding situation at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore off-road vehicle ramps has improved since back-to-back Tropical Storms Bonnie and Colin dumped record rainfall on Hatteras Island on Memorial Day and into the first week in June.

However -- going into the July 4 holiday weekend -- standing water is still deep on Ramp 44 in Buxton and is especially problematic at Ramp 49 in Frisco.

Hatteras Island District Ranger Joe Darling said today that Ramp 49 is in Frisco is the only one still sporting a sign that it is "not recommended for use by low-clearance vehicles." He said that although the ramp has dried out a good deal, areas of standing water remain. The water has become deeper in places as larger trucks have traveled through the ramp, digging ruts in the sand.  The largest of the holes, Darling said, is probably about 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep -- with water covering the entire width of the ramp, leaving no room for going around one side or the other.

Natalie Perry, whose family owns Frisco Rod & Gun and Frisco Market near Ramp 49 in Frisco, said many visitors have been in the store asking about the ramp.  Some of them, she said, are using it, but store employees are advising folks to check it out carefully and travel through it only if they are comfortable with the water depth.

The Park Service has provided an alternative route to the Frisco beach that is through Buxton.  ORV drivers can reach the South Beach via Ramp 45 and the Inside Road to new Ramp 48.  To use this route, turn onto Lighthouse Road in northern Buxton and keep going until you reach the Cape Point Campground, which is still closed.  Turn right into the campground and follow the loop road to the back of the campground and Ramp 45.  The old ramp is one lane only, and it's hard to see over the "hump," so drivers should travel carefully.

On the other side of Ramp 45, take a right on the new Inside Road, which is a sand road that is two "lanes" wide.  Travel several miles to Ramp 48 and the South Beach in Frisco.

The other choice for ORV drivers on southern Hatteras is Ramp 55 near the Ferry Docks in Hatteras village.

While the Inside Road is dry between Ramps 45 and 48, it has a foot of water on it between Ramp 44 and 45, Darling said. 

Ramp 44 also has up to a foot of water in some places, though Darling said vehicles are using it.  The good news, he said, is that the road to Ramp 43 is dry and has been cleared of sand by Park Service maintenance equipment.

Lighthouse Road leading to Ramps 43 and 44 and the Cape Point campground has mostly dried out. The campground is mostly dry but muddy.  The deer and Canada geese are enjoying it, but it is still closed for camping.

Darling said that when Ramps 44 and 49 dry out, the Park Service is planning to grade them and add more sand and a sand and shell mixture.


Park Service opens alternate route to Frisco beach
Record rainfall leaves some seashore ramps flooded


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