The National Park Service today closed Cape Point to off-road vehicle access because of a turtle nest about to hatch.
The closed area begins about two-tenths of a mile south of Ramp 44. The closure should be temporary – about a week.
There is pedestrian access.
The turtle nest reached day 55 of the “hatch window” and the area will remain closed to ORVs until the nest hatches.
The sea turtle nest was laid naturally on July 30, high on the beach near the toe of the dune. Efforts were made to find a route around the backside of the nest but the configuration of the duneline prohibits this action, according to a Park Service media release.
Normally, depending on the condition of the nest, the protection measures are installed between day 50 – 55 to protect hatchlings that may emerge at any time. This nest was given the greatest amount of time before the closure was installed as specified under the terms of the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan.
The seashore has experienced a record number of sea turtle nests in the 2013 season with a total of 252 nests. So far, the warm sands and sunny conditions have been conducive to timely nest hatches this season.
The nest protection area resulting in this closure will be monitored daily for a natural hatch. Once the hatch occurs, the nest will be excavated after several days to allow for any remaining hatchlings to emerge. The contents of the nests will be inventoried and the protection area removed, which will reopen ORV access.
Cape Point reopened to ORV access on Aug. 23 – just a month ago—after having been closed for four and a half months for nesting shorebirds.
For more information on beach access, check the Park Service’s Google Earth maps at
http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/off-road-vehicle-use.htm or call 252-473-2111.