Long ago I came to the realization that this place is addicting, very, very addicting. The beaches, the water, the wildlife and the folks that make up the community of those that live here and visit all combine to create a phenomenon that nobody I know can get enough of. But then I suppose Congress was counting on that when the Seashore was established. To the casual observer, Its got to be astounding. Imagine yourself sitting out at Cape Point watching a Drum bite in the fall. Here ya have a bunch of folks standing in the water, shoulder to shoulder, being pounded by the waves, often over their heads, with these 12 plus foot long fishing rods weaving in and out of each other like some choreographed ballet. All in the quest of that elusive 40 plus inch long fish. A fish that will be tenderly released back to the water. Then a few minutes later you hear these same wader /spray jacket clad, ruff and tumble, dressed for combat folks, standing around discussing recipes that would put any five star chef to shame. If its not that, it might be bird habitat and breeding behavior or conservation issues, beach dynamics...you name it. Many a soul has walked away astounded by the depth of knowledge possessed by this band of brothers and sisters. Its a "family" thing that can only be experienced first hand.
These are the same folks that go out of their way to ensure that this place is cared for as it is. That to, is part of "the magic" that is this Seashore. Did you know that the park Service has no clean up crew for these beaches? They don't need one. There are no overflowing trash cans here, no sand sifting "beach combines" to remove litter. These aren't needed either and never have been. And its all because we do it. That's why to this day, these beaches are still repeatedly referred to as pristine. Pretty amazing, huh?
Perhaps one of the most astounding examples of this ongoing effort occurred a couple years ago. There was a storm offshore that ended up washing a container full of ceiling fans from the deck of a ship at sea. The container broke open and spilled its contents into the ocean. That meant thousands of cubic feet of styrofoam was washed ashore in pieces. It literally covered the beaches and was so thick in spots that from a distance, it looked like a heavy snow. The day after it happened a bunch of environmental students showed up from East Carolina University, and the day after that, contracted employees from the shipping company showed up to help out. Problem was, by the time these folks arrived, the job was done; by us. Where was Audubon, The Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center? Where was the Cape Hatteras Bird Club and Neil Moore? Where was Sydney Maddox? Nowhere to be found, thats where. Nope, we did it ourselves and without having to be asked. I should point out that Cyndy Holda from NPS, one of the cast of characters that is trying to remove us from these beaches, did go from tackle shop to tackle shop begging for assistance. Imagine that. Apparently we can be of use from time to time.
Don't get me wrong, there are NPS folks that agree that whats going on here is beyond ridiculous but increasingly, they are few and far between. And I haven't even touched upon the real issues yet.