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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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UPDATE: Senate passes defense bill that includes changes to seashore's ORV plan

After a week of seemingly endless procedural delays and debate, the U.S. Senate this evening passed the $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of  89 to 11.

Attached to the bill and also passed is a public lands package of bills, one of which includes some significant changes to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Off-Road Vehicle Plan.

The House of Representatives easily passed the bill last week on Thursday, Dec. 4.

The defense authorization bill, H.R. 3979, now goes to the desk of President Barack Obama, who is expected to quickly sign it.  
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House passes defense bill that includes changes to seashore ORV Plan

The U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon passed the $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of  300 to 119.

Attached to the bill and also passed is a public lands package of bills, one of which includes some significant changes to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Off-Road Vehicle Plan.  
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U.S. House, Senate poised to pass bill that would change seashore's ORV plan

In a surprise move, the lame-duck U.S. Congress -- hurrying to wind up its business and get out of Washington --  appears to be on the brink of passing legislation that would make some significant changes to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Off-Road Vehicle Plan.

Late on Tuesday night, lawmakers attached a package of more than 90 public lands and energy bills to the $585 billion 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.  
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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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Cape Point could open to night driving next week

A sea turtle nest that just doesn't want to hatch, especially with this month's chilly temperatures, will keep Cape Point closed to night driving for several more days. 

But the good news is that the night-driving ban that has been in place since early October could end by Thanksgiving.
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UPDATE: Turtle nest still not hatched, Point remains closed to night driving

The sea turtle nest near Ramp 44 in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore still has not hatched and continues to block driving at night to Cape Point. The nest was expanded more than  three weeks ago when it was between 50 and 55 days of incubation.  It's now at Day 77, according to the park's natural resources program manager, Randy Swilling.   
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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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Park Service wants public comments on proposed fee increases

The National Park Service's Outer Banks Group is proposing two fee increases and wants the public's feedback on the proposals. Affected by the increases would be the Wright Brothers National Memorial entrance fee and fees in the park's four campgrounds.
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Seashore's seasonal ORV routes reopen Nov. 1

Beginning Nov. 1, seasonal ORV routes will reopen in Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Some ORV routes may be temporarily closed due to a few remaining resource closures for sea turtle nests. 
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Night driving on ORV routes reopens on Sept. 15

On Monday, Sept.15 at midnight, off-road vehicle routes in Cape Hatteras National Seashore  will reopen to night driving where no turtle nests remain or to the first posted closure in that route. 
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Acting superintendent talks about seashore issues on 'To the Point' radio show...WITH AUDIO

Kym Hall, acting superintendent of the National Park Service's Outer Banks Group, was the guest Sunday, Sept. 7, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

The show, hosted by Island Free Press Editor, Irene Nolan, will air on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 and FM 99.9, at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month.  It will be repeated on the second and fourth Sunday.  
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Newly constructed ORV Ramp 25 to open on Sept. 11

The newly constructed off-road vehicle Ramp 25, located south of the village of Salvo and north of the village of Avon, will open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 11. 

"While the adjacent paved parking area for the boardwalk is not fully complete yet, we made the opening of the new ORV ramp a priority to offer beach access for our local residents and park visitors,” stated Acting Outer Banks Group Superintendent Kym Hall.
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It makes Turtle Sense:  Giving cell phones to turtles

Think of a sea turtle nest as a baby about to be born, and the volunteer nest watchers and National Park Service biologists as the pacing family members -- waiting, waiting, waiting.

When Eric Kaplan, a Frisco homeowner and founder of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center, realized how much time, money and energy went into management of sea turtle nests in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, he saw the solution in modern wireless technology that could pinpoint the hatch date.

“The best way to describe it,” Kaplan said, “is we’ve given cell phones to turtles.”  
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Boyle rules against CHAPA in lawsuit to stop ORV rule

Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina today ruled against the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance in its lawsuit to try to overturn the National Park Service's off-road vehicle law and final rule for the seashore, which became effective in February 2012.
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Who owns Bodie Island spit?

Most people would answer that the National Park Service owns the spit of land on the north side of Oregon Inlet.

But that is not the answer according to Dare County records.

According to the county, almost all of Bodie Island spit is in private ownership and is not part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  
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Circle of stones at old lighthouse site are being uncovered and prepared for a move

Whether climbing the stairs of the lighthouse, perusing the exhibits at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, or merely meandering along a bustling soundside dock, it is easy to see that Hatteras Island abounds with a rich history and a community that deeply cherishes its culture and traditions.

When it seems that a piece of the past may be slipping through the cracks and eventually be forgotten, local residents are quick to take action, initiating petitions for their cause and launching efforts in pursuit of proper historical preservation.

The circle of stones, which marks the former site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, is one such case.  
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Park Service releases annual resource management reports for 2013

The National Park Service has released its annual resource management reports for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for 2013.

Included are reports on management of piping plovers, seabeach amaranth, and sea turtles, which are federally listed as threatened – and some of the turtles are endangered.   The park also reports on American oystercatchers and colonial water birds, which are not federally listed but are state species of special concern. There is also a report on predator management.
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Click Here To View 2013 Archived Beach Access Information
Click Here To View 2012 Archived Beach Access Information
Click Here To View 2011 Archived Beach Access Information
Click Here To View 2010 Archived Beach Access Information
Click Here To View 2009 Archived Beach Access Information
Click Here To View 2008 Archived Beach Access Information

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