Outer Banks Preservation Association
Post Office Box 1355
Buxton, North Carolina 27920
Status Report: NPS ORV Management Planning Project 4/24/2015
On April 13, 2015 we announced that CHAPA's recommendations regarding changes to the Resource Management Program required by the new law were sent to the Superintendent for his consideration. Since that communication, two additional events of which you should be aware have occurred.
1. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Provides Input to NPS in Accordance with Section 3057 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act
On April 15, 2015 Gordon Myers, Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission provided information to the National Park Service (NPS) which included buffer and corridor and management practices recommendations regarding North Carolina state species of concern, sea turtles and piping plovers at the Seashore. This action was taken to help NPS fulfill the requirement of the new law that "...appropriate buffer protections for species not listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973..., but that are identified for protection under State law" be determined after coordinating with the State.
CHAPA supports the NCWRC recommendations (click on link to read) and believe they provide sound direction to NPS for the management of buffers and corridors in a manner that will balance resource protection and pedestrian / ORV access at the Seashore in a way that is consistent with the intent of the law. We urge you to read this document. You will find that the recommendations provided to NPS by CHAPA are consistent with those developed by NCRWC.
2. 4/22/2015 NPS Update - Infrastructure Projects Priorities Set and Public Meetings Announced
On April 22, 2015, Superintendent David Hallac provided an ORV Management Plan Update for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. (Click on link to read.) The update provided information of which you need to be aware.
• Reprioritization of Construction Projects
The Park Service has reprioritized and expedited the schedule of projects identified in the 2010 ORV Management Plan to emphasize projects that provide ORV and pedestrian access.
This action complies with the section of the law titled "Construction of New Vehicle Access Points" which states that new vehicle access points and roads should be constructed "...as expeditiously as practicable; and...in accordance with applicable management plans for the National Seashore." CHAPA priorities were sent to the Superintendent on March 5. Following distribution, we met with the Superintendent and members of his staff to discuss.
CHAPA supports the projects and prioritizations announced by Superintendent Hallac and believe they will provide valuable improvements to access at the Seashore as intended. We believe these projects are an appropriate use of the ORV fees which are collected at the Seashore, but we continue to urge the Park Service to seek cost effective solutions as it moves forward with these projects.
The project name and original and expedited schedules are in the table below:
Project Original Start / Completion Date Expedited Start / Completion
New ORV Ramp 25 with boardwalk to the beach 2013 / 2014 Completed
Ramp 25 - New 10 Car Parking 2013 / 2014 Spring, 2015
New ORV Ramp 32 (Little Kinnakeet) with a 10-car parking lot and foot trail to the beach 2014 / 2015 2015
A new unpaved interdunal road between Ramps 45 and 49 2017 / 2018 2015 / 2015
A new ORV Ramp 63 across from Scrag Cedar Road on Ocracoke 2016 / 2017 2015 / 2016
A new ORV Ramp 48 2018/2018 2015/2016
• Public Meetings to Present Proposed Actions to Modify Wildlife Buffers and Corridors
Superintendent Hallac also announced that five public meetings have been scheduled for the week of May 4, 2015 at which information about the NPS proposed actions with regard to the modification of wildlife buffers and corridors as required by the new law.
Meetings have been scheduled as follows:
Monday, May 4
Ocracoke, North Carolina
Ocracoke School, 1 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC 27920
6 PM to 8 PM
Tuesday, May 5
Buxton, North Carolina
Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hwy 12, Buxton, NC 27920
6 PM to 8 PM
Wednesday, May 6
Raleigh, North Carolina
NC State University Campus
McKimmon Conference and Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC 27695
6 PM to 8 PM
Thursday, May 7
Hampton/ Norfolk, Virginia
Embassy Suites Hampton Roads, 1700 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666
6 PM to 8 PM
Friday, May 8
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
6 PM to 8 PM
Specifically, the law requires the National Park Service (NPS) to review and adjust Wildlife Protection Buffers by June 19, 2015. This section of the law requires that "...buffers are of the shortest duration and cover the smallest area necessary to protect a species, as determined in accordance with peer-reviewed scientific data; and... designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas of the Nations Seashore closed because of wildlife buffers, to allow access to areas that are open."
CHAPA's recommendations were sent to the Superintendent for his consideration on April 10, 2015. We believe the recommendations offered can be implemented with minimal disruption to the NPS resource management processes already in place at the Seashore. We also believe our recommendations will balance resource protection and pedestrian / ORV access at the Seashore in a way that is consistent with the intent of the law.
What You Should Do:
We ask you all to keep informed, to participate in the public meetings, and to make the Park Service aware of your reaction to their actions over the coming weeks and months as the law is implemented. Public participation and input remain critical to the success of achieving our goals of more reasonable pedestrian and ORV access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
We will advise you when the NPS publishes their proposals for changes to buffers and corridors. In addition to following our communications, we urge you to visit the NPS webpage titled "2015 National Defense Authorization Act Actions Update" and to visit www.IslandFreePress.org to stay current with the latest information.
Visit www.obpa.org for the most current information on Free and Open Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area