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New NPS report touts economic benefit of Outer Banks parks

A new National Park Service report for 2014 shows that more than 2.8 million visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial spent more than $170 million in communities in and around the parks.  This spending supported approximately 2,683 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of more than $212 million dollars.  
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NPS sets public meetings, expedites construction plans to meet new law's requirements

Cape 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. And 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 next week.

Both announcements relate to legislation passed in December by Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that instructs the Secretary of the Interior to consider some changes in the ORV plan. 
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NPS lifeguarded beaches will be open May 23-Sept. 7

The National Park Service's lifeguarded beach in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore will open Saturday, May 23, and remain open through Labor Day, Sept. 7.  
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CHAPA weighs in on ORV plan's new infrastructure

The 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.  
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Access groups make proposals to NPS on buffers, corridors

The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) has made public its proposals to the National Park Service on how it believes seashore resource management policies should be changed to comply with legislation passed by Congress last December.
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Cape Point closes to off-road vehicles

The National Park Service this morning closed Cape Point in Buxton to off-road vehicle access.  The closure is in accordance with the requirements of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Off-Road Vehicle management plan.

This morning, National Park Service staff observed American oystercatcher breed behavior approximately 0.6 - 0.7 of a mile south of Ramp 44 adjacent to the ocean shoreline, in an area commonly known as "the bypass." 
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NPS Centennial budget request seeks funding for maintenance backlog

National Park Service's budget request for the fiscal year 2016, which is before Congress, includes a major effort to reduce the maintenance backlog for the NPS centennial in 2016, according to Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

The National Park Service late last  month released its fiscal year 2014 deferred maintenance statistics for national parks. The $11.49 billion nationwide total was up from the $11.3 billion reported at the end of fiscal year 2013.
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ORV routes in front of villages close April 1

As required in the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the temporary closure of ORV routes in front island villages will begin April 1 and continue until Oct. 31. These areas remain open to pedestrian use.
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Seashore biologist discusses research projects on interview show....WITH AUDIO

Britta Muiznieks, wildlife biologist and research coordinator for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was the guest on Sunday, March 15, on the Radio Hatteras Interview show, "To the Point."

Currently, Muiznieks is coordinating three important research projects at the seashore, all of which are focused on the Park Service's dual mission of protecting resources while providing the public with access for recreation. The projects involve wildlife that nest on the seashore -- sea turtles, American oystercatchers, and piping plovers.
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Park Service implements pre-nesting closures

To protect breeding habitat for shorebirds, Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff members are implementing pre-nesting closures in several beach locations. 

During the winter, staff conducted annual assessments of preferred breeding habitat for piping plover, Wilson’s plover, American oystercatcher and colonial waterbirds.  All pre-nesting closures will be marked by March 15.  Pre-nesting areas for colonial waterbird sites will be marked by April 15 and all informational maps and supporting information will be posted at:  
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NPS announces seashore campground opening and closing dates

The National Park Service's Outer Banks Group has announced the dates for this season for the four park-operated campgrounds in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Also, for the first time this year, visitors will be able to make reservations at the Frisco and Oregon Inlet campgrounds.
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UPDATE: Vandals destroy more park property in Buxton

Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials reported today in a news release that vandalism continues to be a problem on the seashore in the Buxton area. This week, vandals set fire to two portable port-a-potty structures, resulting in substantial damage of the handicap bathroom facilities and adjacent fencing.  
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Vandals damage Cape Point campground

The National Park Service said today that the Cape Point Campground was deliberately vandalized on Tuesday evening, Feb. 10. 

NPS rangers are investigating vandalism to multiple loops of the campground where a vehicle drove off the paved access road and over vegetation, destroying significant areas of sensitive grass and low lying areas with tire tracks.  
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Lighthouses will open for climbing April 17-Oct. 14

The Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras lighthouses will be open for climbing in 2015 from Friday, April 17, through Monday, Oct. 14.

Bodie Island Lighthouse climbing hours will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily with ticket sales from 8:45 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse climbing hours will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily in the spring and fall, and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., May 22 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7.  Ticket sales for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse begin at 8:15 a.m. daily and close at 4:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and at 5:30 p.m. May 22 through Labor Day.  
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Newborn pony joins the Ocracoke herd

Hazelnut is the 17th member of the Ocracoke pony herd. The foal was born on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at approximately 10 a.m.  
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NPS releases some details of plan to comply with new legislation    

The National Park Service today released some details on how Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials plan to address legislation passed by Congress in December that makes some changes in the seashore's Off-Road Management Plan.

The Cape Hatteras legislation, passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Bill, instructs the Secretary of Interior 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.

It also makes other modifications to the final ORV plan, such as conducting 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.  
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Park Service plans burning of vegetation on Bodie Island

The National Park Service has announced that its fire management staff, will conduct a prescribed burning on section of Bodie Island in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore between Feb. 1 and March 30, weather and conditions permitting.

The burns, which are part of the Outer Banks Group Fire Management Plan, will consist of approximately 500 acres located east of  Highway 12, from Whalebone Junction south to Old Oregon Inlet Road, and a 400-acre section west of Highway 12 from Whalebone Junction south to areas that were burned by the seashore staff in 2014.
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