It was Salvo Jimmy who first jogged my memory in his comment on a blog about Highway 12 and the Bonner Bridge replacement.
He has a good memory or a really organized filing system.
As the reader comments turned to beach nourishment, SJ referred to a 2003 column written by a former superintendent and published in another island newspaper.
I remembered the article because I was the editor of that publication at the time. And I went into my non-digital, paper files to locate it.
The article that SJ mentioned was published in the summer of 2003 in a special issue on the 50th anniversary of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
It was written by Tom Hartman of Southern Shores and the headline was ?A turning point in park management.? Hartman was superintendent of the seashore from 1981-1994 and was probably the last superintendent even mildly popular with Hatteras and Ocracoke islanders.
It was interesting to read it again after a decade and all the water that has flowed across Highway 12 ? from Isabel in September of 2003 through Sandy in October of 2012.
A second article also caught my eye.
This one was written by Bill Harris of Kitty Hawk, Hartman?s predecessor who was the seashore?s superintendent from 1975-1981.
His column was entitled, ?Managing ORV issues on park beaches isn?t a new issue.?
Harris was the seashore chief who oversaw the development of an off-road vehicle management plan, as had been directed a few years earlier in an executive order by President Richard Nixon.
Those efforts resulted in the 1978 Interim Management Plan for Off-Road Vehicles.
That plan, vetted by the public, was sent forward to Washington, D.C., but was for reasons no one has adequately explained, never published in the Federal Register. It fell into a black hole in the Interior Department and, though many copies exist and it was followed for more than 25 years, it never became an ?official? plan.
In 2003, Harris wrote, ?A new plan may emerge down the road, but it is not the first park ORV plan, nor is it likely to be the last.?
He concluded with:
?For 25 years, the 1978 interim management plan has served the park and off-road vehicle users well. It has flexibility and has been changed through the years. The changes have been understood and supported by the users?Off-road vehicle use within Cape Hatteras National Seashore has come a long way since the turbulent days of the late 1970s. Is there any good reason to go there again? If so, what are the objectives to be achieved and why? Sometimes it is best not to try to fix something that is not broken!?
Hartman followed Harris as seashore superintendent and in 2003 he wrote about his 15 years when the Park Service was transitioning from a policy of nourishing beaches to prevent erosion to a ?let nature take its course? attitude.
Today, Dare County wants to nourish beaches in northern Rodanthe and Buxton ? and perhaps other problem areas on Highway 12 down the road ? so to speak.
I think you will find it as interesting as I did to go back and read what these two leaders wrote about issues that are still as controversial today as they were in the ?70s and ?80s and even 10 years ago when the columns were first published.
Enjoy. And a Happy New Year to all of our readers.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to read a 2003 column by former seashore superintendent Bill Harris, who served in that position from 1975-1981.
Click here to read a 2003 column by former seashore superintendent Tom Hartman, who served in that position from 1981-1994.