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Monday, 03 October 2016 06:29

Proposed ORV Rule Published in Federal Register

Public Comments Due by October 21, 2016

CHAPA Assessment of Proposal and Instructions for Submission of Comments

9/30/2016

On August 22, 2016 the National Park Service (NPS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (FR Doc. 2016-19844) (Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Cape Hatteras National Seashore—Off-Road Vehicle Management).  The public comment period for the proposed rule ends on October 21, 2016.  We urge you to review the proposed changes to the ORV rule and to submit comments.

The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) sent the attached letter to North Carolina Senators Burr and Tillis and Congressman Jones on September 23, 2016 to advise them of our reactions to the proposed rule.  We share this letter with you to aid you as you prepare your comments.   Click here to open or download the September 23 CHAPA letter

The proposed rule changes were prepared by the NPS as a direct result of the legislation sponsored by our senators and congressman in December, 2014.  CHAPA believes that the proposed changes to the rule will have a favorable impact on access, however, additional changes are necessary if the legislation is to be viewed as a success.

NPS identified Alternative 2 in Cape Hatteras National Seashore – Consideration of Modifications to the Final Rule for ORV Management Environmental Assessment – February 2016 (EA)as their preferred alternative.  In March, CHAPA commented that the preferred alternative was a good starting point but that additional changes should be incorporated into the Final Rule.

The proposed rule does not include the suggested changes submitted by CHAPA in March.  It is essentially the same as the preferred alternative from the EA.  The goal of our recommendations is to establish an ORV rule that will both insure resource protection and allow maximum access for both pedestrians and ORVs.  We believe that NPS should incorporate our recommendations to better meet the intention of the law.  CHAPA has advised the NPS of our position.

We ask you to review the proposed rule and provide your comments to the NPS.  Your individual participation in the proposed rule comment period is critical to the success of our efforts to improve access at the Seashore.  Click here to open the rule making portal where you will be able to read the proposed rule, read comments submitted by others, and submit your comments electronically.

Other Info:

Click here to open or download CHAPA's Original Comments on February, 2016 EA.

Click here to open or download the entire February, 2016  EA in pdf format.

DATES: The public comment period will be open for 60 days. Comments must be received on or before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) on October 21, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN): 1024-AE33, by any of the following methods:

Comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal, or submitted by mail must be entered, or postmarked, before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments submitted by hand delivery must be received by the close of business hours (5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

Answers to frequently asked questions are available here: https://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/news/16_051.htm.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 October 2016 06:31
 
NPS Publishes Proposed ORV Rule Changes - Comment Period Open PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2016 13:44



Outer Banks Group

News Release - Cape Hatteras National Seashore

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 22, 2016         16-051

 Contact: Michael Barber, 252-475-9032

 Public Comment Period Opens on Proposed

Revision to Existing Special Regulation for Off-Road Vehicle Use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The National Park Service (NPS) is inviting the public to comment on a revision to the rules for off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The proposal has been published in the Federal Register, and the public has 60 days to review it and submit comments.

The proposed changes include revising the times that certain beaches open to ORV use in the morning, extending the dates that certain seasonal ORV routes are open in the fall and spring, and modifying the size and location of vehicle-free areas (VFAs).

The new proposal would also allow the Seashore to issue ORV permits with more varied time periods than currently exist and would change one ORV route designation to allow pedestrian use of an area on Pamlico Sound without the requirement for an ORV permit.

This process of updating the special regulation that outlines the rules for ORV use was required by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.

“The Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff is committed to providing our local community and visitors from around the world with a variety of opportunities to enjoy this beautiful place in our care,” said Superintendent David Hallac. “Balancing the needs of our visitors and preserving this important national treasure for future generations to enjoy it is our top priority, and these proposed rules can help us accomplish this mission.”

Community input is essential to the development of new regulations, and the public is encouraged to review the draft proposal and send comments that NPS will consider before finalizing the rules. Additional information about the comment period follow.

DATES: The public comment period will be open for 60 days. Comments must be received on or before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) on October 21, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN): 1024-AE33, by any of the following methods:

Comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov, or submitted by mail must be entered, or postmarked, before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments submitted by hand delivery must be received by the close of business hours (5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Answers to frequently asked questions are available here: https://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/news/16_051.htm.



 
CHAPA Offers Reward for Information Regarding Green Sea Turtle Incident PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 13:39

Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) is offering a $2,500 reward on behalf of the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA), and Cape Hatteras Anglers Club (CHAC) for information leading to the identification of the persons responsible for the green sea turtle incident last weekend.

On the morning of Sunday, August 21, Cape Hatteras National Seashore personnel found a severely injured sea turtle on the beach approximately 0.66 miles north of Ramp 32. The sea turtle, identified as a threatened species Green sea turtle, is believed to have come onto the beach some time in the evening, or night, of August 20 in order to lay a nest in the sand. Turtle tracks led from the ocean to the nesting site approximately twenty feet above the high tide line in an off-road vehicle travel area. The injuries to the sea turtle were so severe that the turtle had to be euthanized by National Park Service staff.

If you have information that could help investigators, please call the Dare County Community Crime Line at 800-745-2746 or 252-473-3111. You may also submit confidential tips online at http://darecommunitycrimeline.org/cms/tips.

 
Nesting Sea Turtle Severely Injured on Cape Hatteras Beach PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2016 06:40

On the morning of August 21, National Park Service staff found a Green Sea Turtle severely injured near a nest site. It was evident that the turtle had been injured by a vehicle driving on the beach. The turtle was too damaged for medical attention and was euthanized on the scene. We would like to remind all off road vehicle drivers to be attentive to potential nesting wildlife and carefully avoid them. Incidents like this can hurt responsible beach driver's access to areas in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and could set back hard fought policy changes implemented last year.  If you have information that could help NPS find the person who did this please contact them. Information to contact them can be found in the following NPS Press Release.


Outer Banks Group

News Release - Cape Hatteras National Seashore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2016         16-050

Contact: Boone Vandzura, 252-475-8307

 Nesting Sea Turtle Found Severely Injured on Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach

On the morning of Sunday, August 21, Cape Hatteras National Seashore personnel found a severely injured sea turtle on the beach approximately 0.66 miles north of Ramp 32. The sea turtle, identified as a threatened species Green sea turtle (chelonia mydas), is believed to have come onto the beach some time in the evening, or night, of August 20 in order to lay a nest in the sand. Turtle tracks led from the ocean to the nesting site approximately twenty feet above the high tide line in an off-road vehicle travel area. The turtle had begun to lay eggs into a nest dug into the sand when it is believed, based on significant evidence found at the scene, that a motor vehicle struck and ran over the nesting turtle. The incident was not reported by the involved party.

 The injuries to the sea turtle were so severe that the turtle had to be euthanized by National Park Service staff. Nine sea turtle eggs were found immediately adjacent to the injured turtle. Biological technicians working at the scene were able to salvage an additional 172 eggs which were deposited in a nest site nearby in hope that these eggs will eventually hatch in a natural state.

 National Park Service rangers are working with federal, state, and local authorities to understand the circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information that may help determine the circumstances and events that led to the severe injuries of this sea turtle are asked to contact the Dare County Community Crimeline. For more information, please contact: http://darecommunitycrimeline.org or call 252-473-3111 or 800-745-2746.

Superintendent David Hallac stated, "this is a tragic and unfortunate incident. We ask that all people utilize caution and look carefully for nesting wildlife when enjoying the Seashore's beaches.” Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore are reminded that sea turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be present on Seashore beaches at any hour of the day. The maximum speed limit in off-road vehicle areas is 15 miles per hour. Nighttime driving restrictions are in place during summer months to protect nesting sea turtles. All off-road vehicles must be off of Seashore beaches no later than 9:00 pm.

 

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Comment Now on ORV Rule Changes! Deadline is March 18 PDF Print E-mail
March 9, 2016

The deadline for submission of comments to the National Park Service on the Environmental Assessment (EA) for consideration of modifications to the ORV rule currently in effect at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area are due Friday, March 18, 2016.

The EA describes three alternatives for possible changes.  CHAPA submitted comments today which advised that additional modifications must be made to any of the alternatives if the objectives of the legislation which required this public process are to be achieved.


Your individual participation in the EA comment period is also critical to the success of our efforts to improve access at the Seashore
.

Click here to open of download CHAPA's Comments on EA.

Instructions for submission of comments are provided below.

Click here to open or download the entire EA in pdf format.

Click here to submit comments electronically.  (Select the “Open for Comment” link to view and comment on the EA.)

  or,

Comments can also be mailed to: Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.

To ensure your comments are included in this process, they must be entered into the above referenced website or postmarked by March 18, 2016. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, social media, or in any other manner than those specified above. Bulk comments in hard copy or electronic formats submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.


Click to view Alternatives Summary.......
 
NPS Releases EA for Proposed ORV Rule Changes PDF Print E-mail
February 17, 2016

On February 17, the National Park Service released for public review the the Environmental Assessment (EA) for consideration of modifications to the ORV rule currently in effect at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.  As described in the press release below, public comments can be submitted during the 30 day period ending on March 18, 2016.

You will recall that the NPS conducted scoping meetings during the summer of 2015.  At that time, OBPA submitted proposals for consideration.  Those proposals can be reviewed in other articles on this website.  OBPA will compare the EA to the 2015 proposals and submit comments accordingly during the next 30 days.

Your individual participation in the EA comment period is also critical to the success of our efforts to improve access at the Seashore.

OBPA urges you the review the press release and the EA and provide comments.  As you may recall, the promulgation of the rule is a long, highly regulated process.  The current rule was implemented in February, 2012.  Rule changes can only be implemented after following the same process used to establish the original rule.  Therefore, opportunitiies to make rule changes such as the ones under consideration now are few and far between. 

The EA is a 169 page document prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  While you may not want to read the entire document, you will want to review the three alternatives discussed by the NPS.  Page 51 of the document (actual page 59 within the pdf) is titled "Table 1.Alternative Summary".  The NPS preferred alternative is Alternative 2.  These alternatives are described in detail with accompanying maps in other sections of the EA.

A link to the one page Alternative summary follows the NPS press release below.

Click here to open or download the entire EA in pdf format.


Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Please submit your comments now!

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2016         16-013

Contact : 252-473-2111 | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Available for Public Review and Comment

Consideration of Modifications to the Final Rule for Off Road Vehicle Management Environmental Assessment

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) released today, for public review, an environmental assessment (EA) for the consideration of modification to the final rule for off road vehicle (ORV) management. The Seashore is holding public comment meetings to consider changes to the ORV special regulation (final rule) as it relates to morning opening of beaches, extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and modifying the size and location of vehicle free areas. This EA, prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, will be open for review and comment for 30 days from February 17 - March 18, 2016.

This EA was prepared in response to the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291) pertaining to the Seashore’s Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Plan.

Seashore staff will conduct five public meetings to provide information on the EA and receive public comments. The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • February 26, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
  • February 29, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Embassy Suites by Hilton Hampton Hotel Convention Center & Spa, 1700 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA  23666
  • March 1, 2016, 6 p.m.– 8 p.m. – Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hwy 12, Buxton, NC 27920
  • March 2, 2016, 6 p.m.– 8 p.m. – Ocracoke School, 120 Schoolhouse Rd, Ocracoke Island, NC 27960
  • March 3, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, NC State University Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695

The EA is available for review and comment at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha-orv-ea. Select the “Open for Comment” link to view and comment on the EA. Comments can also be mailed to: Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. To ensure your comments are included in this process, they must be entered into the above referenced website or postmarked by March 18, 2016. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, social media, or in any other manner than those specified above. Bulk comments in hard copy or electronic formats submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

For more information see the park website at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/parkmgmt/2015ndaact.htm.

Click to view Alternatives Summary.......
 
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The OBPA is a not-for-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) IRS designation.  Donations are tax deductible.

 
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NCBBA Donates $10,000 to CHAPA to fight for Access 11/21/2013



Jim Keene, NCBBA Director (center) presents a check to John Couch (L), OBPA President and David Scarborough (R). OBPA Treasurer in the amount of $10,000.00 to be used by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) in the continuing fight for free and open beaches.



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Local Commentary on Important Access Issues

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