By IRENE NOLAN
Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials have decided that this year, off-road vehicles may remain on the beaches near Avon past the 9 p.m. closing time in order to watch the July 4 fireworks.
The fireworks will be staged on the Avon Pier and are scheduled to begin at 9:10 p.m. on Monday evening. The seashore’s beaches are closed in the summer from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. to protect nesting sea turtles. Since parking is very limited in the area of the pier, many folks used to drive out on the beach to watch — before beaches were closed at 9 p.m. under the seashore’s ORV regulations.
This year, seashore Superintendent Dave Hallac, in response to a request from a beach driver, consulted with his staff and decided to allow vehicles to stay on the beach until after the fireworks.
Hatteras Island District Ranger Joe Darling said in an email that Ramp 32, north of Avon, and Ramp 38, south of Avon, will remain open until after the fireworks show, which will last about 20 minutes. He also said that there will be park staff members on hand to monitor sea turtle activity.
Seashore officials are requesting that ORVs remain on the beach until 10 p.m. after the fireworks to allow ample time for pedestrians who are also using the ramps to leave the area first. All vehicles should be off the beach by 10:30.
IF you drive to the beach to watch the fireworks, remember that Radio Hatteras will broadcast “Music for Fireworks” from 9 until 10 p.m. at FM 101.5 and 99.9.
Also, seashore officials remind beachgoers over the holiday weekend that: