On January 20, 2017 the National Park Service (NPS) implemented a new ORV Management Rule at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (Seashore).  The new rule replaced the previous rule which had been in effect since February, 2012.  With this action, the NPS has officially addressed each component of the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015, Section 3057: Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (Act).

The completion of the NPS actions in response to the Act is a significant milestone in the efforts of beach access advocates which have been ongoing since the 1970s when executive orders were issued requiring the designation of ORV routes and areas on NPS lands.

The NPS aggressively began an effort to establish an ORV rule for the Seashore in 2005 in response to lawsuits from several environmental organizations in the previous few years.  The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA), led by the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA) and the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club (CHAC), has fought for the past 17 years on behalf of the members of these organizations and for all beach access advocates to insure any rules or policies implemented would preserve and protect the natural resources and recreational opportunities within the Seashore without prohibiting the access formally promised to the public at the Seashore’s dedication in 1958 by the director of the NPS, Conrad Wirth.

The first rule and associated wildlife management practices, which were implemented in February of 2012, had significant shortcomings.  Congress recognized these shortcomings and passed the Act in December of 2014 requiring that they be addressed.  The Act and many of the changes made by NPS to respond to the Act were influenced by recommendations made by CHAPA, its member organizations, representatives of local governments and the individuals who have advocated beach access throughout this process.

At this milestone, it is important to reflect on the changes made regarding pedestrian and ORV access to the Seashore as a result of the Act and to look forward to the future.

Click to Read More.....  (a pdf file will be opened or downloaded)



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.

 

 

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.

Jones Takes Action to Reform Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is taking action to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to prevent the waste of taxpayer money and implementation of unnecessary, economically harmful regulations.  This week, Congressman Jones is cosponsoring seven pieces of legislation that would bring transparency to ESA processes and reduce the law’s impact on economic growth.

 “In Eastern North Carolina, we continue to see the negative economic impact of unnecessary ESA-related regulations,” said Congressman Jones.  “These regulations are often based on suspect science, and they are implemented on top of other federal, state and local management measures that are already adequately protecting the species in question.  The bills that I’ve cosponsored would enact common-sense reforms, bring transparency to ESA listing and litigation procedures, and ensure that the economy and other important factors are fully considered before more unnecessary regulations are put into place.”

 A summary of the legislation that Congressman Jones is cosponsoring follows:

  •  H.R. 1314 – Would prevent special interest groups from bringing unnecessary lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which are settled on the taxpayer dime and often result in action being taken without advice from experts or impacted groups – by amending the ESA to allow input from any person, business, state or local government that would be affected by the settlement of the lawsuit.
  • H.R. 4256 – Endangered Species Improvement Act of 2014 – Would ensure that the federal government counts animals dwelling on both private and federal lands when determining recovery for species listed as threatened or endangered.
  • H.R. 4315 – 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in ESA listing decisions by requiring the data used in making those decisions to be publicly available online.
  • H.R. 4316 – Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in the cost of litigation brought against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the ESA by requiring FWS to report to Congress and make available online the amount of taxpayer money used to respond to lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to litigation, and attorneys fees awarded as a result of lawsuits.
  • H.R. 4317 – State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act – Would require that in making ESA listing decisions, the federal government use scientific and commercial data provided by states, tribes, and local governments that will be affected by the listing, and disclose to those governments what data was used in making the decision.
  • H.R. 4318 – Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act – Would place caps on taxpayer-funded attorneys fees in litigation brought under the ESA, making the law consistent with the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • H.R. 4319 – Common Sense in Species Protection Act – Would require that before issuing a critical habitat designation, the federal government must publish and make available for public comment a comprehensive analysis, taking into account public and private economic effects on land use, property value, employment, and the provision of public services such as water and power.

 For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


At the request of Congressman Jones, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior has scheduled a public hearing in Manteo extended the official comment period with regard to the designation of critical habitat for the Rufa Red Knot under the Endangered Species Act.


North Carolina - Alligator National Wildlife Refuge

Visitor Center

100 Conservation Way

Manteo, NC 27954

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Public Information Session

7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Public Hearing



The designation of critical habitat can have significant impact on how public land may be used.  Dare county has been directly affected by critical habitat designation for the piping plove and for loggerhead sea turtles in the past.

Many important public areas within Dare County as well as within other coastal North Carolina counties are included in the proposed designation.
The OBPA urges all residents and visitors to become familiar with the proposed regulation and to submit comments.
Click this link to review regulatory documents and submit comments prior to the June 15, 2014 deadline.