Friday 24 October 2014 at 5:21 pm
This is another in a series of blogs looking at issues at other national parks in light of the ongoing disputes here at Cape Hatteras National Seashore about access to our beaches.
Most issues here at the seashore eventually boil down to the interpretation of the dual mission of the National Park Service, which is to preserve lands for future generations while providing public access for recreation.
Sure, parks were created to curtail development of some natural areas, but the Organic Act of 1916, which established the National Park Service, says that the purpose of the NPS shall be "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Congress also addressed the dual mission when it established Cape Hatteras as the nation's first national seashore in 1937.
Friday 17 October 2014 at 7:00 pm
Kym Hall, acting superintendent of the National Park Service's Outer Banks Group, accepted an invitation to come down to Cape Point this morning and have a first-hand look at access issues at Cape Point.
Cape Point reopened to ORVs disappointingly late this year -- not until Aug. 26. It had been closed since April 2 for pre-nesting and then nesting shorebirds. Then, as the shorebirds were clearing out for the season, two turtle nests that were expanded as they approached their expected date of hatching cut off access until later than ever before in the nesting season.
Since the Point reopened, there have been several access issues just as the fall fishing season was getting underway. And, by all reports, the fall fishing has been really great.
The beach from Ramp 44 to Cape Point has seen serious erosion in recent months and is now very narrow -- more so than usual. The Park Service created a detour of sorts behind the dunes to help ORV drivers navigate the very narrowest area -- appropriately known as The Narrows.
However, even that was not enough to allow vehicle access during last month's very high flood tides, caused by an approaching full moon and very big swells from a low pressure far out in the north Atlantic. The beach was pretty much impassable at high tides off and on for some time.
Friday 10 October 2014 at 5:05 pm
If you haven't registered to vote in the Nov. 4 general election by the time you read this, it's too late.
Under North Carolina's new voting law, enacted in 2013, the deadline to register to vote next month was at 5 p.m. today -- Friday, Oct. 10.
Under the new law, voters cannot register on the same day they vote. This is a change from past elections.
That provision of the new state law was blocked from being enforced in this year's election by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 1. Then, it was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Oct. 8.
Another provision of the new law that forbids votes cast by mistake in the wrong precinct from being counted was also blocked by the Appeals Court and also reinstated by the Supreme Court.
If you are now confused about what you are and are not required to do to vote this year, you would not be alone.
And if you heard Republicans talking at some point this week in various statements issued in Raleigh about the "voter ID decision" by the court, you need to know that this latest legal wrangling is not about the voter ID provision of the new state law.