A quick one for Hatteras
The National Park Service is currently reaching the conclusion of the long, and often brutal, procedure seeking to develop a final management plan for Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Service has proposed for public comment a regulation to manage ORV use. The comment deadline is September 6, and you’re of a mind to help protect one of the most beautiful and pristine stretches of beachfront on the continent, I’d like to encourage any or all of my readers who appreciate a fair approach to management of public lands to make a short comment.
The numbers don’t lie. Over the last four years under interim protections, wildlife is rebounding on the Seashore. Piping Plover pairs have doubled and fledged 15 young last year and 10 this year, successfully nesting at each inlet this year for the first time in many years. Black Skimmers and Gull-billed Terns have returned to the Seashore to nest after many years absent (I can speak personally to the abundance of Gull-billed Terns this year. Great birds). The number of sea turtle nests the last four years under interim ORV restrictions has nearly doubled the number of nests the previous four years. And even with these restrictions in place, Seashore visitation has increased and Dare County has had record occupancy of hotels and rentals.
The Southern Environmental Law Center, which has worked hard for sensible management of CHNS, suggests making the following points in your comment:
1) I support a regulation to manage ORV use within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
2) The regulation should include science-based protections for wildlife and vehicle-free areas for wildlife and pedestrians.
Anything else is up to you. If you’ve visited, consider sharing some of your experiences. If you haven’t, consider how important it is to have responsible, science-based, management of our public spaces, especially as it pertains to all those birds we love to watch all up and down the east coat.
The fight over proper management of the National Seashore has been a long and contentious one, but we’re almost to the point where the law is law and all parties can move forward with a clear understanding of what is required. Hopefully the birds and turtles, as well as those who enjoy them, will have a voice and an opportunity. Thanks for your help to make that happen!