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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

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The (Taking back the n…): The NPS can do all the education they want, so what. The point is there are VFAs now for visitors tha…
billfish (Taking back the n…): Mr. Adams, When procuring your night driving permit, you will actually find a stipulation for using p…
AnonVisitor (Taking back the n…): Better education on night ORV use should be done by NPS in conjunction with their light pollution age…
More (Taking back the n…): More than once I have been sitting on the beach at night fishing and had an ORV drive quite close by …
Tom (Taking back the n…): Light pollution has been getting worse over time. As little as 15 years ago you could lay on the beac…
Al Adam (Taking back the n…): Off your meds again BF? While driving the beach at 10 mph it is actually rare that any artificial lig…

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Chamber of Commerce is seeking businesses that responded to NPS economic survey

Friday 11 February 2011 at 4:57 pm

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce wants you to contact them if you were one of the 72 businesses on the Outer Banks that responded to a National Park Service survey on the economic impacts of beach closures in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The economic study was conducted by RTI International of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina from June 1, 2009 until Aug. 31, 2009. In addition to the business survey, the report includes traffic counts at the seashore’s ORV ramps and an intercept survey with visitors on the beaches, not necessarily in ORV areas.

It was part of an environmental study by the Park Service to choose an alternative for off-road vehicle rulemaking on the seashore.

“As part of its continuing effort to obtain a fair resolution to the beach access issue, particularly as it relates to the economies of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, the chamber is seeking information from businesses that were surveyed by the company hired by the National Park Service,” the chamber said in a media release this week. “The report issued by the company claims minimal impact to area businesses. The chamber strongly disagrees. It is important for us to know the locations of those businesses that received surveys and responded.”

The business survey conducted 72 phone interviews on the Outer Banks.  Fifty-six of them were businesses in the eight villages in the seashore, and 16 were with businesses north of the seashore.

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Access advocates are exploring all options to soften NPS selected alternative

Friday 04 February 2011 at 4:13 pm

Advocates of more reasonable beach access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are anxiously waiting for the National Park Service’s proposed rule for off-road vehicles at the seashore.

They are probably going to have to wait a while longer.

The Park Service released its 2010 annual reports this week, as it is required to do under the 2008 consent decree that settled a lawsuit against the seashore by environmental groups.

The reports cover protected species of birds and sea turtles at the seashore and also provide an update on the park’s off-road vehicle management plan.

In the reports, the park again said that it would not be able to meet the April 1 deadline for a final rule.  The U.S. attorney for the Park Service made this clear in a status hearing on the consent decree in the courtroom of federal Judge Terrence Boyle in December.  Also, Superintendent Mike Murray followed up on the delay in a meeting with reporters in mid-December.

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Pity the poor seabeach amaranth….It doesn’t get any respect

Friday 28 January 2011 at 10:39 am

In the years of discussion of off-road vehicle rulemaking for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, have you ever heard anyone utter the words, “seabeach amaranth?” 

Have you heard anyone talk about seabeach amaranth at a public meeting, public forum, public comment session, or negotiated rulemaking committee meeting?

Have you seen anyone railing against protections for seabeach amaranth on discussion boards or blogs or in letters to the editor of a publication?

Chances are very good that you have not. And there is also a chance you never heard of seabeach amaranth, don’t know what it is, and don’t know why we should care about it.

As far as I can tell, not even the Southern Environmental Law Center has had a word to say about seabeach amaranth on its website or in its media releases.

Seabeach amaranth just doesn’t get any respect, despite the fact it is one of three federally protected species that the Park Service’s Final Environmental Impact Statement aims to protect from harm – by people and, especially, of course, from ORVs.

The other two – piping plovers and sea turtles – get pages and pages and pages in the FEIS.  Seabeach amaranth is almost a footnote.

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