Back in the late sixties when most folks didn't have color TVs, there was no internet and such, a movement began in this country that redefined how many folks looked at the environment and the place of human beings within. And much like any other political issue, you had people that voiced opinion that ranged from one extreme to the other. Some of the most extreme environmentalist views even advocate the extermination of humans from the planet. That extreme reminds me of Al Gore, who flies huge jets across the world and burns enough energy to warrant a $23,000 bill every month to heat/cool his house all the while yelling at you and me about global warming. Good job Al..What a way to set an example. But I'm not going to get into that issue...what I will deal with is bad science or a distinct lack of any science to prove the issue...any issue. So along comes Congress and they pass a bill called "The Endangered Species Act" or ESA for short. It probably wouldn't have been a bad bill if our representatives had actually put some thought into it or even read it before the vote. As mentioned before, among other things, it provides "we the people" the ability to sue the Government forcing same to provide protection for various and sundry species. That too is not such a bad concept until it leads to abuse. And that abuse comes in the form of environmental lawyers who sue us, we, the people, for profit.
This relates to the Seashore because in 1972, Richard Nixon signed Executive Order (EO) 11644 which required NPS to establish formal rules governing the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) within National Parks. Brought about by environmentalist pressure, this was due primarily to the unregulated use of ORVs within the western parks (as in western USA) but it applied to all of the units managed by NPS. No issue with that on my part. So, the various units of the park Service had ten years to promulgate a "plan" specific to each place. Each of these plans is required to satisfy provisions contained within the Federal Administrative Procedures Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. But also, they are required by law to take into account the reasons for which these various areas have been established which according to published NPS policy, must, by law, be taken into account first.
In 1978, a Draft Interim Management Strategy, or plan, was established by NPS for the Seashore. It included provisions for traditional access as well as wildlife protection under which NPS operated for almost 30 years. The problem was that the plan was never entered into the Federal Register. Once the plan was finished, it was sent to the Atlanta offices of NPS and nobody knows what happened to it. At least thats what they claim. Either way, it was clear to NPS that a formal "rule" was needed to satisfy EO 11644.
The pressure on the folks that utilize this resource as well as NPS started in earnest with the likes of one Lawrence (Larry) Belli, Superintendent of the Seashore who was ousted from his position and sent to Atlanta to run concessions as I recall. Well he didn't apparently like selling hot dogs and sued NPS for his job back..was bought off with your tax dollars and apparently moved back up here somewhere. I guess thats what happens when you forget what your job is.
Jump ahead to the latter half of this decade and we have a new superintendent by the name of Mike Murray. He came here after effectivly shutting down Cape Cod National Seashore. Most of us listened to what he had to say and wanted to believe because we care so much about this place. He reportedly spent alot of time on these beaches as a child and at his "meet and greet" meeting at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club stated that in his opinion, ORVs were a traditional form of access to the seashore. Well thats true Mike, but at this point, most of us are convinced that you came to this place to shut it down to all access, ORV or not. I would so love for you to prove me wrong.
In 2007 NPS followed the law and went through a NEPA process to formulate another interim strategy that would manage the Seashore until a final rule was in place. This process involved input from user groups, the gubment and environmental groups as well. As a thoroughly vetted process, it was entered into the Federal Record in the summer of that year. And then the shit hit the fan and we're still reeling. Jobs have been lost, businesses have been closed, millions of our tax dollars have gone to waste...it goes on.
I need a break, this ticks me off...back in a few