The National Park Service reopened some off-road vehicle routes in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to night driving early this morning.
The seashore’s ORV special regulation states that from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, night driving is allowed on vehicle routes, or portions thereof, with no turtle nests remaining. Where turtle nests remain, the beaches are closed, as they are in the summer, from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m.
Beginning today, the seashore will begin listing night driving openings and closures on the ramp status update table that is pinned to the top of the seashore’s Facebook page..
The ramp status table is updated every day.
Yesterday, Hatteras Island district ranger Joe Darling reported the status of night driving in the Hatteras district:
- Ramp 32: Open 1.4 miles to the north of the ramp.
- Ramp 38: Open 0.35 miles south of the ramp.
- Ramp 43: Open
- Ramp 44: Open
- Ramp 55: Open
- Ramp 48 and Ramp 49: Closed to night driving because of turtle nests.
Ramp 48 and Ramp 49: Closed to night driving because of turtle nests.
Ramps on northern Hatteras and Bodie Island and on Ocracoke that are open to ORVs at night will be listed today on the ramp status report.
Ramps with turtle nests in place on portions of the routes will have yellow reflective posts in place to delineate night driving boundaries, Darling said.
The seashore so far has reported a record 323 sea turtles nests this year. Many had hatched before Tropical Storm Hermine passed over the islands over Labor Day weekend. About 121 nests remained in the ground before the storm, and about 47 were lost. That left somewhere around 70 nests that still could hatch.
As more nests hatch, more ramps and routes will be opening to night driving.
All ORV routes are open to night driving on Nov. 16.
Also, on Nov. 1, the seasonally closed village beaches (tri-villages of Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo, Avon, Frisco, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Campground) will reopen to ORV use, except for sections of the beach with sea turtle nest protection areas.
The seashore’s Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CapeHatterasNS/?notif_t=notify_me_page¬if_id=1473107565858946.
The ramp status update is also available on The Island Free Press. From the Home Page, click on Beach Access and Park Issues. See the ramp status update in the blue bar at the top of that page.