WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) are pushing for as much public access as possible on Hatteras beaches. The NC delegation members yesterday sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and OMB Director Jacob Lew asking that the proposed off-road vehicle management plan for Cape Hatteras National Seashore provide maximum public beach access.  National Park Service officials have prepared a draft rule, which is currently under review prior to being released for public comment.

“The public access restrictions in this proposal are unreasonably excessive and far more than what is necessary for adequate resource protection,” said Jones.  “This is a jobs issue.  If the Administration is serious about job creation, it will revise this proposal.”  

 “Beach access is critical to the Dare County economy, and that is why I am working with Representative Jones and Senator Burr to make sure federal regulations are not overly restrictive for the local community,” Hagan said. “The Hatteras community has experienced three summers with many beaches closed, and some local businesses may not survive another. I will continue working with the administration, my colleagues in Congress and all relevant stakeholders to balance appropriate beach access with important environmental protections.” 
Congressman Jones has been a longtime outspoken advocate for responsible motorized public access.  In January of 2009, Jones introduced H.R. 718, legislation that would reinstate the Interim Management Strategy governing off-road vehicle use on Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS).

 In January, Hagan held “Conversations with Kay” in Dare County and talked with Outer Banks residents about their concerns with restrictive public access to North Carolina beaches. Also, Hagan has cosponsored the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, which would reinstate the Interim Management Plan for off-road vehicles at the Seashore. 

To see the full text of the letter to the DOI and OMB click here.