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Wings vs. Wingnuts

October 2, 2009

UPDATE: To those accessing this post from various and sundry fishing forums. Welcome.  Comments are heavily moderated. Thank you and thanks for the traffic you’re sending my way.

Over the last decade or so, the issue regarding ORV access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore has been a, shall we say, contentious one.  For years the National Park Service had avoided instituting a permanent off-road management plan, largely as a result of complaints by well-funded fishing and off-road lobbies in Washington worried about lack of access to popular fishing beaches.  In the meantime, numbers of birds that nest on the spits of sand in late spring and summer have declined as much as 85% in the last 20 years.  Piping Plovers and Least Terns are the federally protected species of most interest, but Common Terns, Gull-billed Terns, and American Oystercatchers have also experienced precipitous drops in nesting success and total numbers.

Two years ago the Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife sued the NPS to force them to create and enforce a beach management plan.  Though it seems counter-intuitive, this was precisely what many in the NPS had wanted.  They needed a federal decree to spell out that they had the authority to create and enforce a plan that, in theory, would appeal to all users of the beach, both wildlife and the many factions of interested human parties.  This consent decree went into effect in 2008 and closed off portions of the beach to ORV traffic during the three to four months of peak shorebird nesting.  In my mind this is a reasonable compromise; the fisherman still get the majority of the beach (if not the best fishing spots) and the birds get a quiet shoreline where they can nest in relative peace.

There was a lot of heat, if not light, two summers ago when the consent decree was finally enacted, but I’d heard less this past summer.  I had thought the worst of it was over, that the various interests had settled down into dealing with their new reality rather than fighting pointless battles.  Apparently, this was too much to expect.  As brought to the attention of the Carolina Birds community, there are those who would like to attempt to disrupt the upcoming Wings over Water Nature Festival by showing up to scheduled field trips with air horns, loud music and other weapons of mass distraction in an attempt to ruin the experience of the birders who make the trip to eastern Carolina and, presumably, dissuade them from visiting the area in the future.  From the message on an unnamed blog:

I will go to every Bird Club Meeting that there is.. I will go to every Bird Watching Event on this Island.. I will bring Air Horns and Discharge them @ will while on the Birding Trips .. I will make their stay on this Island as un-welcome as possible.. I guess I will become The Bird Watcher, Watcher..  Their next Get together is Nov. 6 Cape Hatteras Light House parking lot 9 a.m.  (Wings Over Water)   It will be hosted by the Carolina Bird Club.  I will be there with Bells on, or should I say Air Horns on..[sic]

Now I freely admit that this diatribe is mostly the rantings of a worked up individual presuming he’s preaching to the choir.  Such blatant machismo tends to wither in the light of day when confronted with a crowd of birders with the law on their side, as harassing federally protected birds with air horns is a felony offense, not to mention disturbance of the peace.  And it certainly seems odd that a Hatteras resident, a business owner, would voluntarily attempt to run off the good money brought in by the WOW festival from North Carolina and beyond while complaining that birders are having a detrimental effect on business.  The irony is apparently beyond him, and last time I checked my money was just as spendable out there are anybody else’s.  But his argument is, again, that the beach closures are having a negative effect on the Hatteras economy.  This is an especially simplistic take in light of the facts.

In the summer of 2008, the first year the consent decree necessitating closures of several beaches was put in place, tourism was up.  Statistics compiled by the visitors bureau showed a 7 percent rise in occupancy in June.  This was, you may remember, the summer of $5 gasoline across the nation.  So even with $5 gas, restrictions on beach driving, and a freaking wildfire just onshore, tourism was up in 2008 during the summer months, this according to the NPS visitation data.  ORV advocates may rightly make the point that tourism is generally down in the Outer Banks from a peak in 2002, but the time of year where visitation has dropped the most is during the winter months, notably when all beaches are accessible by ORV.   If beach closures are adversely affecting tourism in the area, wouldn’t it be most obvious during times when the beaches are actually closed?

Granted this past summer, 2009, has been a particularly low ebb. It cannot be denied that tourism is down on on the NC coast nearly 15%.  However, given the near collapse of the American economy, nearly 10% unemployment nationwide (and higher in eastern NC, Pennsylvania and New Jersey from whence many OBX visitors come), and, most importantly, a 20% drop in tourism nationwide, the fact that the National Seashore, and Hatteras in particular, are doing 5% better than the national average cannot be discounted.  That’s the important point that cannot be repeated enough, that Cape Hatteras National Seashore continues to outperform visitation expectations regardless of the status of the beach closures.  This is why the NPS testified to Congress last year that the consent decree plan is superior to the plan in place before.

Which gets me to the frustrating point of all this jibber-jabber.  Birders, by virtue of the conspicuous nature of our avocation, are being scapegoated here.  The National Park Service has needed to take care of this situation a long time.  That they needed a court order certainly makes a difficult situation even more difficult, but the National Seashore has been something of a political football throughout it’s entire history due to its unofficial status as a playground for DC elites.  It has long operated under different rules than the rest of the protected seashores in the park system and without the lawsuit nothing would have changed.  There are still some gray areas, but the consent decree has largely closed the gap and even if the fishermen and beach drivers don’t realize it, the NPS has made concessions to the ORV lobby to preserve access to most of the beach during breeding season when it would certainly be within their authority to shut the whole thing down.  Besides, birders are barred from the beaches as well and those who have been caught by the NPS in protected areas have been dealt with no differently than any other individual in a restricted area.  Yet we’ve not heard fishing and ORV groups take up their cause.

28975141v1_350x350_Front But rather than attempt to take responsibility for the acrimonious state of the issue,  or perhaps hold their lobbyists accountable for taking such a hard-line uncompromising view of the situation, or even to argue for increased beach access for fisherman and birder foot traffic alike, a vocal minority have apparently decided to take their frustrations out on other users of the beach who are clearly “different”.  On those with binoculars and scopes.  On us.  They already go out of their way to verbally abuse folks with binoculars on the beach.  They already vandalize the homes and automobiles of bird-friendly individuals who live on the island. They already post signs intended specifically to antagonize us on their autos and businesses.  Now they make plans to ruin the experience of attendees of the largest nature festival in the state, a long-time money maker, and then they complain that business is down.  Frankly, I have absolutely no sympathy for business owners who go out of their way to offend a whole segment of their current and potential customer base and have the temerity to bemoan the fact that fewer of those customers are giving them money.  If you can’t adapt to the changing paradigm, if you are more interested in chasing consumers away rather than attracting them, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in business.  The free market is a bitch that way.

Despite that fact that Hatteras is a major east-coast pelagic hub and WOW is a very real indication of our market influence, we’re still not seen as a legitimate consumer base to be considered.  It’s a shame that so long as the fishing community, and even then only the beach-fishing community as beach closures have no impact on charter or head-boat operations, is seen as the only real user of National Seashore resources, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, nothing will change.   So wear your binoculars proudly.  Let those with anti-birder paraphernalia on display know that such an adversarial tone towards visitors has economic consequences.  In this economy, they shouldn’t be turning anyone away.

If you are able to do so, attend Wings Over Water.  It’s a great festival that deserves a bigger national voice.  I’m sadly unable to go this year, but the birding is phenomenal on the Outer Banks and we shouldn’t let infantile thugs determine who gets to enjoy the area.  Cape Hatteras National Seashore should be managed for all those who use it, not just those with the loudest voices and the most lobbyists.

Or at the very least, it should be clear that birders have loud voices too.

  1. October 2, 2009 12:24 pm

    Wow. Kick-ass post!

  2. Nate permalink*
    October 2, 2009 2:24 pm

    @Corey- Thanks!

  3. October 3, 2009 10:03 am

    Sadly, society indulges, or at best is unaware of, the infantile thugs and this situation is no different from that holding in Malta, where life and death are more obviously at stake. Or a million other places. It’s impossible to fight on all these fronts. I keep thinking there has to be some revelation that will solve such problems at a stroke but all I’ve found so far is despair.

    It’s particulary galling to hear of bully boys in the US, which I’d always thought to be above the intimidatory mentality, unlike my own dear continent.

  4. October 3, 2009 1:12 pm

    Great post, but so frustrating.

  5. Nate permalink*
    October 3, 2009 4:17 pm

    @Andy- Sadly, I think the intimidatory mentality is there wherever there are people unhappy with the way things are changing and frustrated with their lack of ability to stem the tide. Ultimately the new becomes the accepted, for better or for worse, and people have to come to grips with that. There have been incidences of intentional disruption of shorebird and, especially, turtle nests (the ORV plan is intended to help sea turtles as well), so life and death is at stake though I can’t imagine it ever being as bad as the situation in Malta though. Now that is frustrating.

    @Nick- Thanks, and yes. It’s gotten to the point where I’m uncomfortable entering some establishments with binoculars even if I know it’s something that’s important to do. I can’t imagine being chased away from one of my favorite places to bird in the world just because some ignorants want us gone.

  6. October 5, 2009 11:00 pm

    The Outer Banks situation sounds really volatile. I hope that the noise is just the work of a few particularly loud individuals, but it’s discouraging that these few are allowed to dominate the public debate.

  7. Nate permalink*
    October 6, 2009 9:46 am

    @John- It is, and oddly so given the evidence that those who support returning to the previous management plan don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

    People are resistant to change, and while the local bird club and the NPS have not been as good at making their case as I would hope, it’s still a change that needed to be done.

  8. Ginny permalink
    October 16, 2009 12:40 pm

    Mr. Carter has put out a lot of information in his post “planned disruption of Wings Over Water”. I ask you to do one simple thing, do your homework and verify Mr. Carter’s assertions.

    Traditional Use there are pictures at the anglers’ club of model t vehicles outfitted for fishing.

    Current Use For further comparison, you can find a mixture of new and old pictures at k#

    With respect to the miles Closed for resource protection, as per Derb Carter

    “”At maximum, during the peak of the bird breeding season, less that 13 miles of the 67 miles of Seashore have been closed to ORV use for resource protection.” – Derb Carter

    Fact: The Maximum number of miles closed to ORVs because of resource
    considerations occurred during the week ending 6/18/09 and was 21.3 miles not 13. When you add the 14.7 that has been closed on a long-term basis and the 12.6 that is seasonally closed, you have a total of 48.6 of the 67 miles closed to ORVS. For a ramp by ramp list see

    As per Derb Carter “The good news is that all species have benefitted from enhanced protections the past two years. … threatened plovers and fledged chicks have increased …”

    In point of fact, as per the NPS resource reports during the first full year of the modified resource protection plan the number of nesting pairs of plovers fell from 11 to 9. The number of fledged chicks fell from 7 to 6. And the fledge rate remained essentially unchanged (.67, .64, .67 for 2009, 2008, and 2007).

    As for turtles the numbers are up state wide but the false crawl rate has remained constant around 1:1.

    As per Derb Carter “Despite being in the midst of a recession, visitation to Cape Hatteras National Seashore has increased each of the last two years.”

    In previous press releases where Mr. Carter did reference his source, he used occupancy figures for the entire county. Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are the primary locations impacted. On Hatteras Island the local water usage was down. So if visitation is up, then there must be one heck of a water conservation effort in progress. I live here and I can tell you there is not.

    Finally, according to Derb Carter

    “Second, you will be asked soon to help defeat proposed legislation to
    overturn the wildlife protection measures on the Seashore.”

    The legislation does not seek to overturn wildlife protection measures but rather seeks to return the wildlife protective measures such as buffer size and triggers to those specified in the NEPA/ESA compliant Interim Protected Species Plan.

    p.s. As for vandalism, yes there has been some at resource protection sites but the culprits have not been located. That is, we have no idea who is to blame and to assume it is ORV proponents is wholly inappropriate.

    As for vandalism of persons, I live right close by one of the individuals and have seen no evidence of such vandalism. I have not seen any arrest reports either. Again, without identifying the culprits, it is wholly inappropriate to pin it on ORV proponents.

    As for words, trust me the persons pushing for increased protection have been just as guilty. Just go read the “Beach Bums” article in the insight magazine. The title itself says enough but here is the link Quite simply when it comes to words there is plenty of blame to go around.

    As for economic impact, I have yet to see more than a handful of birders on Island during the November fishing tournament which has been recognized as the largest surf fishing tournament in the world and brings 720 participants plus many more who either help work the event or simply come along with spouses or to engage in many of the festivities. In contrast, the local bird club has 8 members,
    while the local anglers club has well over 1,000 members. Just some facts about the so-called minority.

  9. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 1:01 pm

    @Ginny- I followed much of your conversation on the carolinabirds listserve. You’ve only repeated here what you said there. I suspect that if you ignored the refutation of your claims there, there’s little I can add that will resonate.

    You misinterpret much of your data. Why would fledge rate increase? It’s a percentage, correct? It’s fledged birds divided by eggs lain. The total number of fledged chicks can increase without impacting the rate one bit. And when you’re dealing with such small numbers in the first place, there’s no reason to think only two summers is going to produce a wildly different result. These things take time.

    Re: Vandalism. You cannot deny that there has been vandalism on or near the protected beaches. If ORV proponents are so concerned about being blamed for it, perhaps that should speak out a bit more forcefully against it. And perhaps they shouldn’t plan to disrupt WOW.

    Re: economic impact in November. Who cares? The beaches are fully open then, fishermen are well within their rights to use them. Good for them. Why should birders be expected to lend a hand. Isn’t accepting the fishermen’s rights to the beach during the tournament enough? Hell, that’s all birders are asking for.

    We all have a right to the beach and a desire to enjoy the OBX. I simply fail to see how the consent decree prevents anyone from doing that. Tourism on the OBX still outperforms expectations, and the consent decree doesn’t change any of it. And that’s even with half the businesses on the OBX intentionally antagonizing birders.

    Which is, had you read what I wrote, the point of this post. Stay on topic, please.

  10. John A Mortensen permalink
    October 16, 2009 2:54 pm

    Then I guess I will see you all there, after 12 years with the Air Force and growing up in the South Bronx of NY City.. I fear No One and Nothing, BRING IT ON. All ready got my tickets, see you all there..I’ll be the REDNECK with the Lifted RED JEEP Orange Kayak on top, I’ll be wering my favorite shirt… Looking Foward to meeting you all.. JAM out

    Personally, I would like to clarify things that have been flying around the Internet that were taken by a MOLE, and posted to different sites that do not have a clue of what Atrocities that have been a plague to the Good People of Hatteras Island. Many Business no longer make a profit, some have out and out closed their doors. These are not just new start up businesses, some have been around forever. Many more will close this year and so on and so on.

    Many home’s have been foreclosed on, many, many good hard working people now have no jobs to go to. This, as some would like you to believe is just the effect of the Economy, and that people are hurting everywhere. I say BS!!

    Last years excuse was the price of gas, this years excuse is the economy. Folks it’s the Closures, the people that are not coming here anymore, are all the folks that live within 8 hours of here. The Hard Core Fishermen that used to like to chase Drum in the Spring.

    These guys lived within a 400 mile radius, from all over both VA. And NC. I would great them with pleasure each and every year, some for over a decade. They would have all their stuff @ the ready and just role on a moments notice. As soon as they heard the Bite was on. They would come each and every week and when the Spring Drum was over, they would come back and play with the Cobia well in July.

    They would come back in the Late Summer just a Family trip, Kids and wives, Fathers and Mothers some Great Grandfathers and Great Grand Mothers. That was the time that I would get to meet their spouses and generations of their Family, many a bond has been made with me and lots of folks, all kindred souls, from all over this fine land.

    This was all done @ Cape Point, Buxton N.C., my chosen home. The Point used to be our Town Square, if you will. You knew where to find me and my family and my very dear dear friends. This went on undaunted for years, because it’s more than one of the Best Surf Fishing Spots in the World (Surf Fishing’s Mecca) I have heard it referred to in many a magazine. It was our Community Meeting Place where we all used to meet and discuss the day’s events.

    No more, If I am lucky, I get to see some of these folks once or twice a year. Not the Dozen or so trips that I would see them on each and every year. These people have told me both last year and this that its not the economy and it wasn’t the price of gas. It’s the loss of the ability to go to a place that they want to be. Be it Cape Point or Hatteras Inlet, generations of families have brought their children, and then their children brought their children’s children, to once a great place. Hatteras Island N.C.

    The Draw was so great for me that several years ago, I packed up and left Va. Beach, to come and live with the fine people of HI. When I first moved here a good Friend of mine Big Jim Weston Said “Johnnie you will never go hungry here” And for the most part Jim was right, I have been accepted here by Native and New comer alike. I have been to their homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, which are all day events, Based on Family Tradition, values, morality and a hard work ethic.

    I am lucky that I came here when I did. I had 5 Good years of unfettered access to the best fishing grounds on the entire east coast. The best Drum Fishermen on the planet taught me how to do it. Some that have never left this island except in times of war, when their Country called on them and they answered the call of service. The same Country that is now going back on its Promises of unfettered access to this Recreation Area Into Perpetuity. Well folks I guess forever is only bout 60 years these days.

    Some have left this Island forever and are Drum fishin with the Big Man upstairs everyday, all Citations up there I bet. No hassles, no Closures, nature and humans living in harmony, the way it should be. Not some un-scientific, court ordered, BS Decree that makes absolutely no sense at all.

    I have had the pleasure of passing on what has been taught to me to people from all walks of life and from every state of the Union, and even some folks from overseas. No More, thanks to a greedy bunch of lawyers, and the save the Earth bunch. Believe me God does fine without you all medalling in his work. He has for years and will continue to do so long after we are gone.

    They like to quote figures that they have tallied for North of the Bridge, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Manteo. They have so called counters in place that count all the cars at Whalebone Junction. Then use some kind of Voodoo math to estimate the number of people in said vehicles. Sound like the same BS formulas that they use in the Marine Fisheries Department to close off species of fish to us like they do.

    There is nothing wrong with the North Beaches, if that’s what you like but most folks that like the more remote, desolate Places, come for The Hatteras Island experience drive right past all the McDonalds and Burger King Lounges , (no disrespect meant at all North of the Bridge is what it is and folks like that too) South of the Bridge and North of the Bridge are 2 very different worlds as most of you all ready know. If I wanted to live North of the Bridge, I would have never left Va. Beach.

    Next One by one I will point out discrepancies and Spin by someone who claims to be a champion for the environment. Taken from my Personal Blog, mind you just a little excerpt not the entire article, with the figures of what animals were killed to produce 3 chicks of Non-Endangered Spieces. Who’s name puts that battery acid type taste in my entire mouth, so I will refrain from typing his name too many times, this means YOU DERB CARTER!!!!!!!!

    “Planned disruption of Wings Over Water”

    First off I do not see any mention of WOW Festival in my BLOG @ all. Second, I believe that at this Point its DERB’S PLANED disruption of his own Festival.

    Third, I “I” stated what I “I” was going to do on my own Personal BLOG site, no mention of Law Breaking what so ever. Not only that, I “I” have all ready attended a meeting of the Cape Hatteras Bird Club, and much to somes dismay I “I” was not taken away in hand cuffs, because I “I” did nothing ILEGAL.

    Next Direct From DERB CARTER “A small group of ORV users who think they own our National Seashore and can drive on the Seashore beaches anywhere and anytime have plans to disrupt the Wings Over Waters birding festival this November”.

    My response: I guess he’s got me here, technically I guess 1 is the smallest number there is (Group Definition: A small number of people with correlative talents committed to a common purpose, specific goals, a similar working approach as well as evenly distributed accountability among members. (Source Wikipedia)

    I would have thought that a group would at least need to consist of an number graeter than one.. Just like their Champion Bill Clinton wondering what the definition of the word “IT” is.. Spin Spin Spin

    Next piece of DERB out of his mouth…Notice how benefited is not spelled correctly.. (That’s for all the Elitist’s, one of which he is that like to point out spelling and grammatical errors) And Call us Rednecks Personally, I keep it real and let it all fly. But I am running this all through Word today just so I can make fun of Mr. Carter. Water Birds is 2 words BTW …

    “The good news is that all species have benefitted from enhanced protections the past two years. Nesting colonial waterbirds have doubled, threatened plovers and fledged chicks have increased, black skimmers returned to the Seashore to nest, and sea turtles have nested in record numbers. At maximum, during the peak of the bird breeding season, less that 13 miles of the 67 miles of Seashore have been closed to ORV use for resource protection. Despite being in the midst of a recession, visitation to Cape Hatteras National Seashore has increased each of the last two years”.

    My response: Fact: The Maximum number of miles closed to ORVs because of resource considerations occurred during the week ending 6/18/09 and was 21.3 miles not 13. When you add the 14.7 that has been closed on a long-term basis and the 12.6 that is seasonally closed, you have a total of 48.6 of the 67 miles closed to ORVS. Looks to me to be third grade math.

    FACT, as per the NPS resource reports during the first full year of the modified resource protection plan the number of nesting pairs of plovers fell from 11 to 9. The number of fledged chicks fell from 7 to 6. And the fledge rate remained essentially unchanged (.67, .64, .67 for 2009, 2008, and 2007).
    Guess he can’t Spell or do math to well. Thanks Jim/Ginny you are the Statistician and we need ya..

    “Derbisim So what can you do to help. First, go to Wings Over Water in November. Enjoy some of the best Fall birding NC has to offer. Do not be intimidated by these tactics. Defy the thugs. We know several of the individuals involved in this and have been working with federal and state law enforcement”.

    And we Know you, See ya @ the event I “I” know “I” will be there.. Will you…

    Folks if this moron thinks that this was the calling all REDKNECKS alert, he is a fool. It’s not time for that yet, but be sure one day that call will come. And then you will have to ask yourself that question, will I fight for what I believe in or will I sit and watch it be taken away from me. I have known my answer for years. And I am always @ the ready..

    Your Friend in Birding, Creepin While Your Sleepin, Black Knights Checkmate.. JAM out

  11. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 3:16 pm

    @John- Ok, you’re angry. Fine. The bottom line is, again, that tourism on the OBX outperforms expectations. It’s currently doing so again this year.

    Tourism is down everywhere. It sucks. But despite the beach closures, tourism is doing better on the OBX that it is just about anywhere else in the country. It may be hard to see when everyone is down in the cellar, but the numbers are what they are

    Second, you’re lying. You don’t mention WOW by name, but you do mention disrupting an event on November 6, which just so happens to be a WOW event.

    Third, if you cared so much about businesses failing on the OBX, perhaps you would do well to not intentionally antagonize a full segment of people that use the OBX.

    Honestly, you cannot complain about businesses failing while at the same time attempting to run customers off. It completely defeats your stated purpose. Which, again, you’d realize is the point of the post if you’d actually read it.

  12. fishinmama permalink
    October 16, 2009 3:54 pm

    it must be nice to pick and choose information as you want to show for your cause.

    i encourage you to read this:
    please note that it is most probably not the consent decree that is helping bird productivity (that is, if productivity is actually up), but the predation control (which i also find revolting) and the weather.

    and this – go to the editorial (left side of pg menu) titled “shooting from the hip can injure a toe” – author mentions the blog you have cited, as well as Mr. Carter’s less than stellar posts on the Carolina bird site.
    there is some enlightening info also on the increased visitation #s because of extra ck-in weeks, due to when Labor Day fell….sometimes statistics can lie, if you get my drift.

    and while the economy certainly may be a factor in people vacationing, i find it that much more disturbing that the consent decree was even put into place, adding to the economic woes of the island.
    it’s not just ORV users who are adversely affected by the closures, but pedestrians as well.
    why would anyone want to “go to the beach” if they can’t get “to the beach.”

  13. Justin permalink
    October 16, 2009 3:58 pm


    I find it really sad that you guys blame the ORV users for the supposed decline of shore bird. The rise and fall and evolution of species has been given credit through the widely accepted theory of evolution. Are humans excluded from evolution? If memory serves me correctly beach erosion has wiped out far more nests than ORV users. While I am not clear on the numbers, I do every year that nor’easters wipe out multiple nests are the OI and HI spit as well as Cape Point. Nesting below an elevation well below the high tide (and LOW tide) line of a storm event that occurs potentially a couple times of year, doesn’t seem smart. I know of atleast 30 fishermen, all respectable humans, respecting the laws, not running over wildlife, not hot rodding, or all of the other malicious comments made about them, that do not frequent the OBX 50% as often as they used to. 30 guys (and I don’t consider myself to know that many in the fishing community, that spend $1000/wk for multiple weeks a year that may not even come anymore due to closures. I have to wonder how much the birdding community contributes to the economy, as I am down during peak migration of 90% of the species, and rarely see anybody bird watching/photography. I am not trying to start a hate issue just being rational.

    I have to wonder why it is OK for park rangers and volunteers to drive through closures when most of these guys recieve a little on the job training where as most of the ORV group has mulitple years of beach driving skills. Disturbance is disturbance if these birds are as delicate and fragile as claimed. Somehow they are able to nest of roof tops (skimmers and oyster catchers, as well as many terns and gulls). I just wish there would be a logical, straight answer and not right wing or left wing. Why do the beaches HAVE to be closed? I am quite sure there were species of animals displaced by collection of materials to build your house, car, etc, but that’s ok isn’t it? You HAVE to have your house and your car and luxeries. I wish the anti ORV’s would learn to live off of the land, ON the land, with materials obtained by hand. Practice what you preach. There is a happy medium. Pea Island. Mattamuskeet. Bodie Island. Not to mention the thousands of acres that nobody uses that aren’t in any pretection. Why take it all Nate? Why ruin the way things have been for years. If they were going to die off, it would have been done in the 70 some years that people have been driving the beach. Sounds like a power hungry land grab. Why not close the entire island? Displaced people have to find elsewhere to live, destroying more land, more natural resources, etc, thus creating a problem elsewhere. Sure they won’t be as concentrated as Hatteras, but never the less, effecting a few animals…that’s what this is about anyway, right? A few birds? Check your facts before you write Nate. Why not walk into the buisnesses left on Hatteras Island (other than the few that support you) and preach your word. Why mess with somebody else’s lifestyle that had no interest in harming your’s? It’s sad to know my kids may never get to experience such a wonderful place because of a few ‘non native invasives’ as we all at, that want the beaches closed.


  14. John A Mortensen permalink
    October 16, 2009 4:00 pm

    Nate I suggest you get your numbers from someone other than Derb Carter. Why not go directly to the source, our County.. Here is the Dare County Web Site.. Take a look..Nov. 6th is also the Anglers Club Tourney 7,200 Fishermen in town.. I’m not angry nor am I lying, but I am tired of being lied to and it is going to cease.. I will do what ever I want wherever I want in a Legal manner. I suggest you also take a look @ all the Sheriffs cars while your in town, you will see the Free and Open Beach’s Sticker Proudly displayed on each and every one of them .. Oh I forgot you won’t be here …. Here is the link ..Gett he facts and stop believing the lies spewed by the only person to gain from all of this in a monitary manner.. Your boys made around 317,000 in the past 2 years.. Wake up its about money and a land grab, its not about nature..

  15. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 4:11 pm

    @fishimama- I could say the same for your information.

    I, frankly, have no issue with predator control. Racoons are not native to the OBX and are attracted by the garbage left by beach-goers. Predator control is par for the course for endangered species management.

    Edited to add: With regard to the special analysis .pdf, no where does it cite sources for any of its statements, the most egregious of which is “As a vulnerable area exposed to severe weather conditions, it is not likely to ever be a poster child example of successful breeding results for protected species.” It is precisely because of the exposure to severe weather conditions that the species in question are found there. Regular creation of new inlets and sandbars provide substrate for nesting shorebirds.

    With that in mind, there’s no reason to take any of the subsequent document seriously.


    @Justin- Frankly, I find it sad that you guys blame birders for the beach closures. Put your strawman away, there is not a single person advocating for a complete closure of the beaches, only for the short time that the birds are nesting and even then, there are plenty of beaches that are accessible. If you choose not to come, then I’m sorry, that’s your decision. Scapegoating birders doesn’t solve anything.

    I, personally, would support controlled pedestrian access to some of the closed beaches, but I understand that NPS has a mission to protect the ecosystem in the best way they can. If that means closures as in the consent decree, it’s a price I’m willing to pay for the health of the beach.

    I find it sad that my kid won’t be able to enjoy the OBX either in the way that I love it. What you forget is the OBX are for everyone, not just a small, if vocal, minority of users.

  16. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 4:12 pm

    @John- You’re going to protest a bird walk at a Angler Club Tourny? Or you think Carolina Bird Club is holding a walk at the Tourny? I don’t understand. What does that accomplish?

  17. John A Mortensen permalink
    October 16, 2009 4:20 pm

    I never said it would accomplish anything…Ask Derb its his Disruption.. Your first sentence is a disclaimer of even knowing him.. Yet you have the exact blurb he had. I would also bet you never read the whole Blog Article. I believe you are the liar Sir.. To everyone else going to the event, I know Nate can’t make it, See ya there.. Not gonna sit by and be Idle, the Birding Comunity as a whole is to blame.. You started all this crap.. Own up to it.. JAM out for good..

  18. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 4:27 pm

    @John- Won’t accomplish anything? Then why are you even doing it?

    The blurb is publicly available through the state birding listserve archives. But go on believing we’re all conspiring against you if you need to.

    And I didn’t realize I had to run my personal schedule through you, John. Next time I’ll drop you a line so you know exactly what I’m doing at all times, since it seems as though you’re weirdly concerned about it.

  19. James Higham permalink
    October 16, 2009 5:38 pm


    Sir, you are so far off base with your assumptions it is almost funny. I will try to address these assumptions.
    First, the data used to compile visitor usuage is flawed, go check the nps website. The Vogelsong study was peer reviewed and deemed “useless”, yet its “best available science”. Also, north of the bridge is just as JAM described it. Look at all of the gateway lands to NPS property nationally, they are almost all the same. Water consumption would seem like a common sense approach, but that left the islands a long time ago. Also, nps installed ramp counters after the implimentation of the Consent Decree. What good does that do after the visitor useagetraditional useage is altered? Why would anyone come to a beach if they knew it would be closed?
    For resources, what good are more chicks if they are depredated? That is why fledgling rates are important? Also, the only species of shore bird afforded protection under the ESA is the Piping Plover, and they are listed as threatened, not endangered. Other species are not on the ESA, like American Oystercatcher, Least Terns, ect. With over 800 mammalian predators trapped and killed, surely that in addition to fully closed beaches should help the birds? Surely being a bird guy, don’t you know they have wings and fly/nest where they want, like Cora June Island, where conditions are near perfect? Why would a group like Audobon stop the creation of these islands? Because it is not about the birds. Raccoons, Red/Grey Fox, Otter, Mink, have been there a long time. I doubt the indians brought these animals over. This is nature. Survival of the fittest. Get over it.
    The majority of people using the CHNSRA are NOT birders. YOU are the minority! If you knew anything about CHNSRA you would know this. Why do you think Sidney Maddock was kicked out of Conner’s Supermarket in Buxton? Look at all the comments at the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee meetings, how many birders were there? As far a trash on the beach, which is what claim you make for raccoons, the beach users clean the beach, not NPS, not DOI, not the Audubon, Defenders of Wildlife, not the Southern Environmental Law Center. Beach users clean the beach because WE “Preserve and Protect”. We care and are not paid, like others who want the beach for their own personal playground for the elite. We care. I doubt there is anything in WOW about a trash pickup. Check out Operation Beach Respect, which has been going on long before the CD. If you really cared about the birds, maybe that SHOULD be in the WOW planning. Oh, its not about the birds.
    A short time for beach closures? What world are you living in? How is April thru the August (the most important “tourist season”) short? This is when people want to access the beach. Not in Feb. If you wanted to see the birds during nesting season you would need a scope the size of the Hubble with the closures existing at that time. Clearly you don’t have a grasp of time and duration either.
    Nate, thanks for not coming to CHNSRA, believe me, it is much better without you.

  20. John J Sellers permalink
    October 16, 2009 6:47 pm

    Folks, I am no wear near as eloquent as those who have posted before me. I was down this spring and will be down the 1st week of November but my wife and I skipped our traditional June trip. Why? Beacause of health issues I can’t fish a spot I can’t drive to. Period. Went to NJ instead.
    Will I check out the WOW event, probably but will do nothing illegal or disruptive. Just want to engage in a reasonable discussion with someone who can explain why a birds rights are greater than mine. I’m an Army veteran of veteran of the Vietnam war, taxpayer and disabled. Why should I be banished? That’s my only question. Jack Sellers

  21. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 7:01 pm

    @James- Sir, I will address your assumptions of my assumptions.

    1) Your beach access counters makes the assumption that the primary beach users are fishermen. There are lots of other people who are not birders or fishermen who continue to use CHNS. Again, money coming into the OBX is up. Tourism is beating nationwide estimates. That fishermen may lose access to the beach for 1/4 of the year doesn’t appear to have an impact on those making money off of those who visit CHNS.

    2)Whether or not Black Skimmers are nesting are nesting elsewhere on the OBX is irrelevant and has no bearing on the NPS’ decision to protect those that nest on CHNS. The same goes for other nesting birds. Populations of birds who nest on the OBX have dropped, the NPS has a mission to do something about it on their land.

    3) Depredation is a problem mostly because numbers of nesting birds are at historical lows and predator numbers are artificially high due to human use of the beaches. It’s not “nature” if human interference is the cause of this discrepancy. In order to truly address the situation in an attempt to bring numbers back to a sustainable level, NPS would have to close all of the beaches, which again, no one is suggesting. “Survival of the fittest” is a ridiculous oversimplification of the situation. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    4) Operation Beach Rescue is great. I fully support efforts to take responsibility for human actions on the beach. I don’t see why all users of CHNS can’t all get behind it.

    5) April through August is peak tourism season, not necessarily fishing season. John, just earlier, said November was the best time of year. You should get your stories straight. And, honestly, as someone that’s been on Cape Point in February, there were plenty of fishermen out there every time I’ve made the trip. Good for them, I have no desire to prevent fishermen from using the beach.

    6)No birder is suggesting that they need to be able to see the birds during the beach closures. The idea is that if the birds have a place to nest they will become more common generally at other times of the year.

    7) Thanks for not coming? I go to CHNS several times a year in all times of the year. I love the OBX. And last time I checked, my money spends as good as yours.

    Would any of you please explain how intentionally chasing money off the OBX accomplishes anything for the businesses in the communities there? Any one?

  22. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 7:07 pm

    @John Sellers- Sir, please put away the strawman. Who is banishing you? There are still open beaches year round that are accessible by ORV.

    No one is saying a bird’s rights are more important than yours. Who are you to say one user of the beach has more right to their avocation than any other anyway?

    This is what happens when fish lobbyists engage in a scorched earth policy. You get people taking their dollars elsewhere because they believe the incorrect information you’re spreading. So when fishermen complain about business going elsewhere perhaps they should take some responsibility for their rhetoric.

  23. mike permalink
    October 16, 2009 7:33 pm

    Saturday, Sept. 26, will be National Hunting and Fishing Day (NH&FD), and a whole host of events will be taking place throughout the country.

    Many people don’t realize the contributions sportsmen have made to the protection of wildlife and the environment over the years. Nationwide, America’s 34 million sportsmen and women, through licenses, permits and special taxes, generate $100,000 every 30 minutes totaling more than $1.75 billion per year for fish, wildlife and habitat programs. No one contributes more for conservation. You’ll not see this kind of money spent on fish and wildlife by environmental groups or animal rights groups. Simply put, sportsmen put their money where their mouth is
    ……..where is autoban and peta….JS

  24. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 8:15 pm

    @Mike- When did I ever, ever, deny that hunters and fishermen contribute to conservation through license and permit fees? I agree that PETA is a joke, they’ve never done anything to contribute to conservation. But you’re wrong that environmental organizations don’t either. Organizations like The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife do a lot of good work for the same goals. We all want land available to enjoy.

    But that’s not the topic of this post and completely irrelevant.

  25. Justin permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:59 pm

    and are you seriously worried about what we write enough to send it through moderation? Is that not what John and some others are complaining about? Not saying you are taking anything out of context, but let what is said and what is be, not send it through a moderator or editor before it is published.

    Nate you never said why we had to be denied the traditions that weren’t hurting a thing, especially the birds…meaning drum season on the Point through April and May and more recently cobia season in June. Yes there is access, but funny thing, the closures restrict the ‘hot spots’.

    Nate if your experience of the OBX is to have the beach like a parking lot, go to Fort Fisher or Assategue in VA/MD, as that is what the closures have done to the OBX during ‘tourist’ season when groups other than fishermen come. Yes I have saw it with my own eyes when it is like that.

    I still what gives the rangers the right to drive through and patrol when clearly nobody is in there? Disturbance is disturbance and from what Ive seen, they drive as bad as any ORV use I have met. Kind of like a cop speeding in and out of traffic because he can.

  26. Nate permalink*
    October 16, 2009 9:50 pm

    @Justin- Comments are going through moderation because I prefer to spend time with my family this evening rather than babysit my blog. If you have a problem with it, no one is twisting your arm to post here.

    No one is denying anyone “traditions”. Beaches are available for fishing year-round, even when Cape Point and others are closed. Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t necessarily even have a problem with NPS allowing pedestrian fishing access to the popular locations during breeding season. I think there’s room for more compromise there, but that’s ultimately up to NPS and I defer to them as to the best practices for wildlife on the beach.

    The concept of “tradition” is sketchy at best. The CHNS is National Parkland, which means that activities that may in the past be considered “traditional” are curtailed for the greater good of the landscape. It’s the same reason you can’t run ATVs in Yellowstone or log the Great Smoky Mountains.

    Rangers have a right to drive in restricted areas because they work there. If you can’t see how occasional ranger forays into restricted areas are different than constant dawn til dusk beach traffic then I don’t know what to tell you.

  27. James Higham permalink
    October 17, 2009 12:11 am

    1. Beach users are shell collectors, people who are disabled and cannot lug all their beach things without a vehicle, bathers, surfers, fisherman, and people who just like to be out there. As JAM said, Cape Point is our “get together spot” for a number of reasons, not just the fishing. The enabling legislation is the CHNSRA, you need to re-read the enabling legislation and the Organic Act. Please refer to CHNSRA as specifically provided for by Congress. OBX is too general a term, use one or the other. Carova to Ocracoke or whatever you use to make your case about tourism numbers is irrelevant, as the Villages encompassed are different in economics because there are no Outlet Malls and the like within CHNSRA, the area within CHNSRA is the draw. If you cannot access the draw, well you should get my point. “Doesn’t appear to have an impact”, you should read the Dare County press release recently put out, and look at the Cape Point campground picture. You don’t know what you are talking about.

    2. NPS cannot protect birds out of their jurisdiction. The birds are lured to the dredge island with decoys and calls. There are pre-nesting closures set up March 15 to create disturbance free nesting habitat. Vegetation has been allowed to overgrow habitat that used to support vast colonies of Shore birds. Take that up with NPS, oh wait, its not about the birds. Look at the Salt Pond near Cape Point. Look all over CHNSRA, vegetation should have been managed all along, but instead it has been allowed to grow and deteriorate the habitat. That is why the bird numbers at CHNSRA have declined, not because of beach use. No habitat equals no birds. By the way, the largest Least Tern colony in NC is atop the Belk store in Kill Devil Hills, maybe you could have a WOW there, as tourism is at its peak, you could even wear your binoculars. NPS mission is to manage CHNSRA as the legislation specifies, not the way it is currently being managed.

    3. If the beaches were completely closed, wouldn’t that be survival of the fittest? Look at all your NWRs, USFWS does NOT know what is going on with resources because they let nature take its course. There are no predator control programs there, they manage the “problem” predators, they do not hire a full time trapper. Look at the Nature Conservancy’s grasp of the Eastern Shore of VA barrier islands. Do you think they have resource personell counting the birds there? You don’t know what you are talking about, sorry.

    4. Too bad under the guise of environmentalism, you say you wish more beach users would help at CHNSRA, but it is not about the birds or the beach ecosystem, it is money and politics. That is why they “DOW, SELC, DOW” just shut it down and left. Look at their position at the REG-NEG table, they gave away nothing, and just took, no “good faith”. They did not even follow the pre-requisites to become members of the committee, one being NO litigation. They didn’t want videotaping, hmm wonder why. Afraid as most enviros are of people, they had to move off HI and onto NPS property. BTW, real men stand up for themselves, and do not hide behind law enforcement.

    5. Fishing is relative to what you want to catch, the same fish are not there all year round, just as the same birds are not there all year round either. Some like to catch Red Drum, some Spanish Mackeral, some Striped Bass, some Bluefish, some Speckeled Trout, and there are overlapping seasons, but, again, this is relative. I would fish every month at CHNSRA all year long if the beaches were open, yes its that good. Not just Cape Point either, but the good spots. Most of the good spots are Oregon Inlet, Ramps 23-38, Cape Point, South Beach to the Frisco Village (Ramp 49 is an excellent bathing and shelling beach) Hatteras Inlet to the rip, Hatteras Inlet (north end of Ocracoke) South Point Ocracoke, and everywhere in between. If CHNSRA was managed according to the enabling legislation, this discussion would not be happening.

    6. Idea? Clearly science is not in your vocabulary. Data supported by peer reviewed science does not support your “ideas”. If you read “beach bums” in the Audobon Magizine, you will see Sidney Maddock there during breeding season, not beach closure time. That specific chick was killed by a ghost crab, not an ORV or a pedistrian, or even a mammalian predator. There is no documentation of any bird or turtle run over by an ORV at CHNSRA, and any photos you have seen are STAGED.

    7. If your money is as green as mine, go to the Orange Blossum, Conners, Dillons Corner, Frank and Frans, and just about all businesses within CHNSRA with your binoculars on, your Audubon T-shirt, with a spotting scope on your back, and let me know how it goes.
    You (birders/enviros/ecolawyers) have taken enough from the great people who make CHNSRA their home, and from the visitors who come from everywhere to enjoy CHNSRA as specifically provided for by Congress, thru the enabling legislation and the organic act.

    8. Your responses to other posts. Same goals? I doubt it. If half the money was spent on the environment instead of legal fees and lobbying, well, lets just say I’ll leave it at that. Riddle me this, if NPS/DOI is cash strapped enough, why are you taking reimbursement from these agencies and the taxpayers for suing DOI/NPS? Just to further the “green” cause? Give me a break. You (ecos) are not putting your money where your mouth is, just hiding behind law enforcement, judges, laws, and the like. Traditional use “sketchy”? get a clue, we have been driving the beaches long before “green” was in. We have been “preserving and protecting” long before you even knew about CHNSRA. Rangers and the like have a right to drive in closures because they work there? What about commercial fisherman? Again you have no clue what you are talking about. Even if resource personell drive thru, just because they learned it in a book they can drive thru? There is something called the real world, again, get a clue. We have been stewards of CHNSRA since the ships had sails. All of a sudden its no good?

    9. Executive Orders are not law or legally binding. A one size fits all is not the way to manage a dynamic environment such as CHNSRA. So Yellowstone is the same as CHNSRA? Get a clue. E.O. are not legally binding, go read a law book, perhaps you are a lawyer, and maybe they didn;t teach this in Law School. 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name. I doubt the likes fall into that 1%.

    10. “We all want land we can enjoy”? Tell that to the people who “used” to enjoy Cape Cod National Seashore, myself included. One weekend in the 80s, my father and I went to fish one of the great spots within CACO. But there was a chain accross the access with a sign that said “no entry”. Access went from 40 miles to 7 with spring and summer completely closed. I guess if you are on the Kennedy compound, this is applicable, but not for everyone else?

  28. Nate permalink*
    October 17, 2009 8:36 am

    1. Fine, CHNS then. But what is the issue at stake here? Is it business on OBX communities or CHNS beach access? Because if you’re talking about business on HI, the beach closures don’t affect charter operations or beach houses (as occupancy rates are still higher than the national average) for non-fishers or kite stores or wind-surfers. The only people affected are beach fishermen, and even then, only on the closed beaches. You claim the closed area on HI is the draw, but tourism is still well ahead of the national average, so your argument doesn’t hold water.

    2. I don’t deny that NPS has shirked its responsibility somewhat with regard to habitat degradation. But you’re making the assumption that the consent decree is not a small part of the greater management plan. It’s a piece of the puzzle.

    3. The artificially high numbers of predators and the historically low nesting shorebird #s are both a direct result of unsustainable human use of the beach. That’s artificial selection, not natural selection. “Survival of the fittest” is just shorthand for a complicated ecological process that’s not really in play here.

    4. SELC and DOW left the negotiating table because nothing was being accomplished. Do I, who has no connection with either group, think it was necessarily the right thing to do? No. But I understand why they did it. The status quo at the time was beneficial to ORV groups and those groups would have stalled the process to keep the status quo for as long as possible. With the consent decree in place, it at least provides an impetus for those groups to work towards a solution.

    5. It’s sort of a shame that the best spots for fish are also the best spots for birds, but it speaks to how great CHNS is. Like I said before, I think there;s room to compromise for pedestrian access to beaches that are currently closed. It’s far from a perfect situation, but it’d be a show of good faith by the NPS.

    6 Beach Bums is not peer-reviewed, nor does it claim to be. If you have evidence that the photo was staged, let’s have it then. Even so, one photo doesn’t prove or disprove anything. Beach traffic disturbs nesting shorebirds and can cause them to abandon their nests.

    7. I do, and I wear my binoculars. And they took my money. I also stay at hotels or rent a house and eat at restaurants when I come out. My credit card has never been rejected. There’s still business coming to HI. I don’t understand why you think scapegoating birders and running that business off is good for business. It completely undercuts your entire argument that your concern is for businessowners on HI.

    8. I know people have been driving on beaches forever, but when the land was turned over to the NPS, things had to change. It was traditional to graze sheep in Yosemite, it was traditional to market hunt in Yellowstone and log the Great Smokies. Things change. Get over it. I don’t doubt that there are those long-timers that are good stewards of the beach, but when you throw your lot in with those who clearly aren’t, don’t be surprised when you get tarred with the same brush.

    9. Sure, one size fits all is not the way to manage CHNS. The consent decree is not yet the law of the land, it’s a place from which to start a discussion. A better place than the previous management plan because it better takes into account shorebirds and turtles.

    10. I don’t know what to tell you except that part of the reason we both love CHNS is because it’s so pristine and wild. Sometimes things have to be done to preserve that wildness so that it doesn’t turn into VA Beach or Wrightsville.

  29. Harvey L. Warren permalink
    October 17, 2009 10:55 am

    I too are a disabled Vietnam Vet. I have fished the point for many, many years. If I have to walk, I can’t fish. I don’t have a good tally of the money I’ve spent on the island but you can count on it as being substantial. My fishing buddies and I, after the closure, looked for another state to fish and not Hatteras. I’m reminded of the farmers in California that can’t get water for their crops because the government won’t release water because of a SMALL FISH!
    We all love nature. I’ve seen fishermen on the point go out of their way to protect birds and mammals. I’ve also seen fishermen police other fishermen that don’t respect the area and the wildlife there. Birds for humans! That’s just great!!!!

  30. James Higham permalink
    October 17, 2009 11:27 am

    1. Beach Access and business on OBX communities are directly related. Not just the closed areas but ALL areas within CHNSRA. Shell collectors, surfers, bathers, disabled are people affected too. Tourism for Dare County may be up revenue only, but look at the tax increases and such that Ginny has put together, that does hold water.

    2. The consent decree is the management plan, its not a piece, its the whole thing. It was done behind closed doors without public input, which violates the Organic Act, Federal Adminstrative procedures act, DOI mission statement, among others. There were great protections afforded to birds and turtles under the Interim Management Strategy. It was working too, look at the NPS resource reports. USFWS does not issue FONSI easily.

    3. High numbers of predators? Please tell me the correct number of Red Fox, Grey Fox, Otter, Possum, Mink, ect should be within CHNSRA? A complicated ecological process not in play here? What do you think the outdoors are?

    4. Nothing was accomplished at Reg-Neg because the birders and rich doctors did not budge in their position, they just kept wanting more and more. The status quo at the time of Reg-Neg was the consent decree, perhaps you have your dates wrong? Stalling the process by ORV proponents, get your facts right. These (ORV/Access) caucas worked extremely long and hard without pay, while your side got paid extremely well for every minute, and didn’t even have the guts to attend all the meetings, which were laid out months in advance. Their attendance alone shows how much they care, even while getting paid to do it. Stalling, its called “good faith negotiations”, which was another prerequiste for membership to said committee. You really should read a report about reg-neg. Try

    5.A good show of faith by NPS would be an ORV access corridor, not a pedistrian corridor. Some who wanted to make the trek to the point were forced to wade in knee deep water thru the 1000 meter closure in your pedistrian corridor. The birds are in these areas becuase NPS has allowed habitat to deteriorate, forces the birds out on the beach where predators and disturbance is a problem.

    6. Beach Bums is an example of natural selection. Common sense will tell you their photos are staged, I dont know if that qualifies as evidence or not. I think you have editorials and “best available science” mixed up, go back and read 6. There is no mention of peer review there. USGS surveys, ect is what I am talking about. BTW USGS surveys are NOT legally binding either, they are a recommendation to land managers, not law. They deserve peer review, and unbaised scientists, not people with political agendas to further.

    7. I doubt some of these folks actually let you in their place of business. Could I have some specific examples? Scapegoating birders? Hardly, you are the people who have altered CHNSRA, you deserve every bit of what you get.

    8. Things changing after NPS got land control? Go read Conrad Wirths letter to the people of CHNSRA. Again you don’t have a clue.

    9. Consent decree not law, I won’t even touch that one.

    10. CHNSRA was created so it doesn’t look like VA Beach or NJ. One thing, it is not wilderness, it is the CAPE HATTERAS NATIONAL SEASHORE RECREATIONAL AREA. TOO BAD FOR YOU!

    Nate, this is a waste of my time. You clearly are not educated in the dynamics of this issue and it shows. You think you know what you are talking about, but dont have a clue.

  31. Justin permalink
    October 17, 2009 11:38 am

    Like I said, there is Pea Island, Bodie Island and Mattamuskeet all within a rocks throw. Why can’t you guys be happy with that and leave Hatteras to mixed use? I have a degree in fish and wildlife management, and have learned that sometimes you just can’t make chicken salad out of chicken crap. While you’re at it, push for technology to end the Noreasters in May and late april so there isn’t over wash. Nobody wants to develop the island like VA Beach or Wrightsville, but part of the uniqueness of the OBX is the ability to drive the beach. Leave the permanent closures already there, but why keep people out during peak drum season and peak cobia season? Why are humans not part of the natural way of life.

    Get your facts straight about predators as well. Raccoons are native. Red foxes are not, as well as feral cats. Get rid of the red foxes and cats sure but don’t skew the science of something occuring naturally when humans, birds, and predators are natural to the area. Just because they’re eating what you want to look at through your binos doesn’t give you or the NPS or any other bleeding heart the right to change a way of life. If you are so concerned over the wildlife, why not walk through the wilderness to the OBX, swim across the sound and inlet, and travel by foot where need be as to not run over any bug, frog, snake, turtle, etc (part of those I actually pull over to move out of the road so as to not get hit). Go totally no impact. Don’t wear bug spray, as it lessens the chances of naturally occuring species the chance to feed. After all, automobiles, roads and bridges aren’t a part of the natural process and thus impead on some species in one way or another. Don’t show favoratism to one species.

    Sounds rediculous? Yes. Record what you type and listen to it and what people are trying to tell you may sound a little less rediculous.

  32. Nate permalink*
    October 17, 2009 12:32 pm

    @Harvey- Again, not all the beaches are closed. There are always beaches accessible by ORV even during the closures. There are always places that are inaccessible to some people for whatever reason, that doesn’t mean they have to be. Where should we draw the line? Should there be an escalator running all the way out to Cape Point?


    @James- Birders have not altered access to CHNS. We are simply users of the area the same as you. By blaming us for the actions of the NPS, you are absolutely scapegoating us. Find another bogeyman.

    You don’t have evidence that the photos were faked other than “common sense’? Color me surprised.

    Yes, the area is a Recreational area. So why is your recreation favored over any one else’s? You still have not addressed the question as to how chasing money off the island is good for businesses. It completely undermines your stated purpose. Are you really concerned for business or just pissed off that your favorite fishing sites are inaccessible part of the year?


    @Justin- Your slippery slope argument is completely ridiculous.


    @all- At this point we’re just repeating ourselves. Thanks for the traffic. I’m closing comments for this post.

    Edited: It should be noted, however, that not one person addressed the content of this post; that scapegoating a group of visitors, intentionally chasing money off the island, or boycotting CHNS puts the lie to your supposed concern for HI businesses. Apparently, there are people that would rather see businesses on HI completely fail, than to try to come up with a workable solution. It’s impossible to compromise with scorched earth tactics, and indicates SELC was right to take the matter to the courts.

    Edited 10/22: Comments are re-opened, but heavily moderated.

  33. August 27, 2010 1:23 pm

    Excellent, excellent post Nate. The comments expressed by people who are upset because they can no longer visit their favorite fishing spots when federally protected birds are breeding really demonstrates how actually disconnected from nature these guys are.

    Its a real shame because people who hunt and fish should be true caretakers of our natural heritage instead of being mostly concerned with animals they hunt and fish for. Their comments demonstrate that this is more important to them than non-huntable, threatened wildlife.

    By the way, I just have to mention that some of the stuff that Jim Mortenson said was hilarious because it sounds so crazy. Like ¨JAM out¨ and ¨bring it on¨. I know hes angry and the issue obviously affects him at a personal level but Im sorry, its just funny.

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