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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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Outer Banks Chief Ranger Paul Stevens will retire on Feb. 27

After 30 years with the National Park Service, Paul Stevens, chief ranger with the Outer Banks Group, will retire on Feb. 27. 

Stevens, a long-time resident and Outer Banks Group employee, transferred to Cape Hatteras National Seashore in 1988.  He served in other parks including an internship at Cape Lookout National Seashore, as a park technician at Moores Creek National Battlefield  and Congaree National Park, before transferring to the Outer Banks Group national parks to live and work. 
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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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New seashore chief is guest on 'To the Point'...WITH AUDIO

Dave Hallac, the new superintendent of the National Park Service's Outer Banks Group, which includes the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was the guest on the on the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, Jan. 18.
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NPS proceeding with environmental study on Buxton beach nourishment

The National Park Service has issued a notice of intent to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Dare County's plan to nourish the beach in north Buxton.

The notice, which was filed in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, begins the public scoping process for the Environmental Impact Statement that is required by the Park Service before it issues a special use permit to the county to pump sand on the eroding beaches in the area.  
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NPS seeks information in Hatteras deer poaching incident

Cape Hatteras National Seashore law enforcement officials are seeking the public's help in solving the case of a  deer that was illegally shot and killed in Cape Hatteras National Seashore during the week of Dec. 14.    
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Carteret County residents get an earful from Dare at Cape Lookout hearing

Chaired by Rep. Pat McElraft of Carteret County, the N.C. House Select Committee on the Wise Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Cape Lookout National Seashore conducted a hearing Tuesday at the College of the Albemarle's auditorium on that seashore's proposed Off-Road Vehicle Plan.

McElraft brought the hearing to Dare County to give voice to the experiences of Dare County residents when they went through the same process at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  
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Red knot’s status elevated, raising specter of more restrictions

The rufa red knot, a shorebird that migrates along the Eastern Seaboard, became a protected species under the Endangered Species Act Tuesday when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service elevated its status to threatened.

Increasing protection of the bird, which is a subspecies of the red knot, has raised concern on the Outer Banks because of its potential to broaden restrictions on beach access during prime surf-fishing seasons.

After the change was proposed, a series of public hearings was held by the wildlife service, including one in Manteo on June 5. According to a USFWS statement, some 1,700 scientific documents were analyzed and over 17,400 comments were received during a 130-day public comment and study period.

Of special concern here is the designation of critical habitat for red knot, which will happen after public hearings next year.

Read the story by Russ Lay in the Outer Banks Voice.

UPDATE: Cape Point now open for night driving

The stubborn turtle nest at Ramp 44, which is at Day 90 of incubation, has still shown no signs of hatching, but the Park Service has gone ahead and dropped the ban on night driving in the Cape Point area.

The night driving ban has been in place since Oct. 6 to keep potential hatchlings from the nest -- and another before it -- protected from headlights of vehicles on the beach at night that could disorient them.
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Park Service names new superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The National Park Service's Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin announced today that Dave Hallac has been selected as superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Outer Banks Group. 

Hallac has managed the Yellowstone Center for Resources, the resource management and science division at Yellowstone National Park, for the last three years.  He will start his new assignment at Cape Hatteras in early January 2015.  
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