The National Park Service has announced that it will reopen Cape Point to off-road vehicles on Sunday, Aug. 30, after a closure of almost five months.
The “closed” signs may be removed by the time the beaches open to vehicles at 7 a.m. on Sunday, but it could be later in the morning before rangers can clear the area. Be sure to check signage before driving to the Point.
Cape Point has been closed to ORVs since April 7 to protect nesting shorebirds, including piping plovers and American oystercatchers, and colonial waterbirds.
The Point was reopened to pedestrians on Aug. 17, but remained closed to vehicles because of a single oystercatcher chick that had fledged but still needed protections.
American oystercatcher chicks are considered fledged when they are observed flying for 30 meters. However, park biologists explain that the chicks are large and awkward, so the park’s wildlife buffer rules call for an extra two weeks to be sure the chick is flying competently before the area is open to vehicles.
Last year, Cape Point closed on April 2 and did not reopen until Aug. 26, which was at that time the latest reopening date for the area since the ORV plan became effective.
For more information on beach access, check Google Earth maps at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm or call 252-475-903