By IRENE NOLAN
With Ramp 49 still badly flooded, the National Park Service has opened an alternate route for off-road vehicles to reach the beach in the Frisco area.
Back-to-back tropical systems dropped record amounts of rainfall on Hatteras Island in late May and early June leaving ramps in the Buxton and Frisco area and the Cape Point Campground badly flooded.
Although it’s been several weeks since the record rainfall, the water levels have not dropped much at Ramp 49, which is still under about 20 inches of water in places. According to seashore officials, high-clearance ORVs are getting through the standing water on the ramp. However, travel is not recommended for ORVs with low clearance.
To help drivers reach the Frisco beach, the Park Service last evening opened up Ramp 45 at the back of the Cape Point campground so that vehicles can reach the newly built Inside Road, which will take them behind the dunes to the new Ramp 48 and to Ramp 49.
The campground has been closed because of flooding since the storms, but Hatteras Island District Ranger Joe Darling said that the water level has decreased enough that the road through the campground is passable. The road has up to six inches of water, in a few spots, he said, especially at the entrance, but most of it has lower water levels.
Ramp 45 is at the back of the campground and just over the ramp, drivers can turn right on the Inside Road, which is dry through to the end of Ramp 49. The Inside Road meets Ramp 49 at the end of the flooded area.
Darling also said that the water on the road at the entrance to Ramp 43 has dropped to about 6 inches and is passable. The beach is open from Ramp 43 to a closure for nesting birds near Cape Point.
Ramp 44 is also open, but, although some of the rainwater has dried up, ruts in the road have caused the standing water to remain up to 12 inches deep in places.
On southern Hatteras, Ramp 55 is also open to ORVs near the Ferry Docks in Hatteras village, and the Pole Road is open and dry.
Many of the ramps on northern Hatteras are also open to ORVs.
Click here for the latest beach access and ramp status report for the seashore.