access to South Beach is on the way, thanks to a wintertime project by
the National Park Service (NPS) that focuses on the former ORV ramp 45
just south of the Point.
Beach, or “The Hook,” is the shoreline that is situated just south of
Cape Point, and which is solely open to pedestrians year round. Due to
changes to the off road vehicle management plan that stemmed from the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, the road that
leads to this isolated beach will be improved, shortening the walk to
road that is being addressed is situated along the interdunal road
close to ramp 44, and is currently accessed via the NPS managed Cape
Point Campground. Locals and longtime visitors will remember this route
as the original ramp 45, although the former beach road has not been
altered or improved in years.
will be a rehabilitation of that road,” says Cape Hatteras National
Seashore Superintendent David Hallac. “We’ll be bringing the [condition
of the road] back to how it used to be. It won’t be a paved road, just
an improved dirt road with clay and shell on it – similar to ramp 44.”
“We’re not changing the road in any way, just bringing it back to the way it was many, many years ago,” he adds.
and hard sediment has already been added to portions the road to
increase its elevation and accessibility. When the project is
completed, the road itself will be 6-12” higher due to the addition of
clay and shell material, and an unpaved parking area that will
accommodate 25-30 vehicles will be added to the end of the road, just
behind the dune line.
footprint of the road will remain the same, but the higher elevation
will make it less prone to flooding, and easier to access for all
varieties of vehicles.
The end result will also reduce the current walk to South Beach from the Cape Point Campground by 1/3 mile.
this road is completed, anybody will have the ability to drive down
this road and park at the end,” says Hallac. “We will recommend high
clearance or 4WD vehicles - just because it is a park road - but anyone
will be able to drive down, park at the designated area, and walk out
and enjoy the beach.”
The definitive completion date is not set in stone, but the NPS plans to have the improved road finished by the spring of 2018.
Beach has always been a quietly popular spot, simply because of its
isolated location. “…It’s one of the most remote beaches [in the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore],” says Hallac. “And the purpose of this
project is to get people that much closer to South Beach.”