About 140 people assembled on Saturday May 8, 2010 to exercise their first amendment rights. It was a morning full of sunshine, God and country as these advocates for beach access gathered together for a rally at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.
“Rally for Beach Access” was planned by the OBPA to keep people on target for responding effectively to the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the outline for the future of beach access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The deadline for making DEIS comments was only three days away.
The morning began with a few dozen people marching through the center of Buxton carrying signs expressing personal sentiments regarding the continuing loss of beach access. Beaches are for Everyone. Stop the Insanity. Fix the Bridge. People are Animals too. Beach Closures too restrictive. Does Tradition Matter? Access for Future Generations. DEIS the Economy Killer.
The peaceful protesters were cheered on by car horns and supportive yells from the Saturday morning traffic. They walked in single file onto the baseball field at 10:00 a.m. as the music from the movie “Rocky” blared from the P.A. speakers.
This event was much different from the eight workshops conducted by the OBPA designed to educate people on the major impact points lodged between the covers of the 810 page hard-to-read DEIS. This had a mood much more like a political campaign. It was loud and it was noisy. The audience was energetic with their clapping and responses to the speakers. It was a red, white and blue event complete with patriotic music. It was America!
Speaking from a flatbed trailer that served as a make-shift stage, OBPA board member and emcee for the event, Rob Shay, instructed the crowd to remove their tops (hats) and face the American flag to say the pledge of allegiance. Bob Fox then asked for people to bow their heads as he said a prayer addressing the needs of the event.
Chairman of the Dare County Commissioners, Warren Judge, was the first of the eleven speakers. He said he felt like a Hatteras Islander in his heart though he lived on the other side of Oregon Inlet. This man left no doubt that he fully supported of the people who resided within the seashore and would fight to the bitter end to protect their right for beach access.
Allen Burrus, also a Dare County Commissioner and resident of Hatteras Village, spoke passionately about his heritage and the negative experiences that happened to his family brought by NPS policy.
Also on the list of speakers were OBPA members John Couch, Natalie Kavanagh, Larry Hardham, Wayne Mathis and Anne Bowers. Local residents Donny Bowers and Jeff “Wheat” Golding delivered powerful words about problems with the DEIS. Gary Gross, Project Coordinator for Dare County, pointed out the lies and half truths said by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Audubon Society. Jim Keene, President of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, spent his time covering the topic of cultural traditions on the island. Over and over, the fact that this is an access issue, not just an ORV issue, was driven home.
In between each speaker, the emcee kept reminding the crowd on how important it was to write comments on the DEIS now and tips of how to do it effectively. It wasn’t long before the lines grew at the help tables as people waited for information and assistance.
The tables were set up under a tent manned with OBPA volunteers helping people write their comments in both paper form and directly into the NPS PEPC website with several laptop computers that were receiving wireless internet.
“Rally for Beach Access” was a true exercise in the freedom of speech. Many speakers took off their proverbial gloves and threw big punches for the protection of beach access and the people’s right to be treated fairly by the federal government.
“Stand in the Sand BBQ III” Freedom Fest
Call for Volunteers
The OBPA (Outer Banks Preservation Association) is gearing up for its 3rd Annual “Stand in the Sand” fundraiser scheduled for Friday, June 25 from noon until dark at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.
Just like the two previous events, the fundraiser will sell dinner pork and chicken barbeque dinners, and will also feature guest speakers, music, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, beach access information booths, play area for children and several local artists.
It takes a lot of man power to make this event happen and there are many different types of jobs that need volunteers to fill. To find out what you can do to help, contact Greg at blufis@ live.com. Many hands make light work.
Stand in the Sand is one of our largest fundraisers of the year. All the money that the OBPA raises is used to pay all the legal challenges for maintaining reasonable beach access for everyone.
This fundraiser is always a fun-filled day for the community. Each one of us can be a part of preserving our beach heritage. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is worth fighting for. Please help!
The 2011 OBPA Prize Calendar is back from the printers and for sale now in your favorite tackle shops and stores on Hatteras Island. You may also purchase the calendar online by clicking on the Membership/Donations button in the top menu. The 2011 Calendar has over $28,000 in prizes! Get yours now!
Ramp 44 is located at the fish cleaning tables next to Cape Point Campground entrance and has been a source of contention for several years. This ramp has been closed for an extended length of time due persistent flooding caused by ocean overwash, extensive rainfall, lack of flood control and maintenance. The National Park Service's (NPS) remedies for these problems have been unsuccessful. NPS's latest attempt to solve the flooding problem at Ramp 44 failed miserably when they elevated the sand base by covering it with a CAMA approved clay and shell material. When wet, this substance becomes very slippery which causes vehicles to either get stuck or slide into the drainage ditches.
Superintendent Mike Murray addressed the ramp problems during a park update forum on February 13, 2010 at a Cape Hatteras Anglers Club meeting and accepted responsibility for the situation at Ramp 44. He explained that the park was required to adhere to environmental requirements even though the maintenance division knew it wouldn't work.
This situation at Ramp 44 continues to be a health issue as well as an access dilemma, and the OBPA has been in contact with the National Park Service on this matter consistently. Furthermore, the OBPA has pressured the NPS about flood control which has been non-existent since Hurricane Emily in 1993.
Enough is enough. The OBPA cannot solve this problem alone and we are asking you for your help. Please contact the NPS at 252-473-2111 ext. 148 and voice your concern regarding this matter. There is power in numbers and we need all of you to tell the NPS to fix this problem now.
Outer Banks Preservation Association President John Couch, presents a check to Sea Turtle volunteer Karen Pinion of the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.).
This contribution by OBPA will help N.E.S.T. in their efforts to rescue and rehabilitate stranded sea turtles and return them to their ocean home. OBPA is proud to be a contributor to this challenge.
The recent cold weather conditions have cause an overload of stunned loggerhead turtles and other sea turtles to be rescued by volunteers along the Pamlico Sound shores and the ocean beaches requiring extra handling at the acquarium in Manteo to see that they recover from this stunned condition and placed back in the gulf stream where the water is much warmer. Requests for financial help went out over the radio and in local newspapers and OBPA gave support to these rescues to N.E.S.T.