July 18, 2007

Revised - Judge orders end of beach driving Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Ronnie has this story as well. W/ links to the Outer Banks Connection message boards

On the heels of the closure of Oregon Inlet to protect endangered piping plover hatchlings comes this
VA Pilot story out of Raleigh. It seems a federal judge has decided that the National Park Service doesn't have adequate oversight of beach driving in the park. Not a lot of details about how the case "grew out of a case involving a reckless driving summons issued May 27 near Oregon Inlet". The federal government order the NPS to develop a management plan for beach driving in 1972. Apparently the judge thinks that the current regs aren't adequate.
In his order, Boyle described flyovers by park service and department of interior pilots documenting 1,200 vehicles at Oregon Inlet in an "overwash" area frequented by endangered shorebirds and turtles.

He said it was reasonable to estimate that 2,500 to 5,000 people "crowded onto this narrow, fragile, environmentally sensitive area on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend."

This is a real shame for Superintendent Mike Murray. He has been repairing the tattered relations between the Park Service and the local community. He is easily the best Super. since Tom Hartman who left in the early 90's.

Here is the operative section of the Judge's ruling:
By executive order, President Nixon required that the Department of the Interior publish regulations defining specific trails and areas for the use of off-road vehicles "(ORV"). Exec.
Order No. 11,644,37 C.F.R. 5 2877 (1972), as amended by Exec. Order No. 11,898,42 Fed. Reg. 26,959 (May 24,2977). The regulations to designate which areas are open to ORV traffic must promote safety for all users, minimize damage to public lands and wildlife, and take into consideration endangered or threatened species. 43 C.F.R 5 8342.1, The designation process must include public participation, and include local landowners and other interested parties. Id. 5 8342.2. Once a plan is approved, areas and trails must be clearly identified so that the public will be aware of the applicable limitations. Id Operating a motor vehicle is prohibited except where
the Park Service has specifically designated that ORV use is permitted, in accordance with the aforementioned regulations. 30 C.F.R. 4 4.10; 1 8 U.S.C. 5 357 1. Thus, where the Park Service fails to create a plan for ORV use, ORV is prohibited.

More as it develops.

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At 2:51 AM, Blogger Paula the Surf Mom said...

Sammy already hates those birds... and now if he cant ride in the truck to go surfing because of them... well I just don't know if I will be able to control him.

As I write this comment I see he has his official Wiley E Coyote Acme Bird catching equipment catalog out and is looking at some handy backpack rockets and giant slingshots... I fear this could all turn ugly soon.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Ronnie said...

Good post Bob. The park service would probably need the help from the national guard to truly close the beaches.

That Sammy is pretty creative...


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