Sunday, April 11, 2010

Closed Beaches and the Law

I went offshore yesterday for the first time ever. A heck of a ride out but the sea laid down  and we got into some blue fin Tuna after a long and hurried ride north through the Gulf Stream. So with the one fish we could keep, 157 pounder, we headed back. This time, I got to see the Island from Buxton through Hatteras.
What struck me was the great expanse of empty beach because of the closures; which this year, are immense. And the sickening part of the whole thing is they've barely even started shutting you and me off this Seashore. There is much more to come folks.
A lot, but still to few people are fighting hard to save this Seashore from the land-grab and we need help. Right now its all about public comment on the proposed NPS alternatives. In the next week there will be workshops held to help folks understand what this mess is and video of these gatherings will be available. Lots of good info here folks. If you cant attend, please watch the video. And please remember, keep the emotion in check and slam them with facts. And there's plenty of those.

My favorites being these...more to come though.

1) the Enabling Legislation  (16 USC 459 ) which reads (in part):

“except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area . ..”

2) NPS Organic Act (16 USC) in part:

“The service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

3) the important one (16 USC 459 1a-1) in part:

“The authorization of activities shall be construed and the protection, management, and administration of these areas shall be conducted in light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park System and shall not be exercised in derogation of the values and purposes for which these various areas have been established, except as may have been or shall be directly and specifically provided by Congress.”

To borrow a section or two from the Coalition for Beach Access position statement,

"The enabling legislation for the Recreational Area, clearly excepts areas “especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature”. This 1978 act was passed six years after the Executive Order requiring ORV plans and, it continued to authorize the exception of recreational areas as defined in the enabling legislation."

"It is imperative that ORV use be recognized for exactly what it is: A historical means of access to an area especially attractive for recreational opportunities. The use of an ORV is not considered a recreational activity in this Recreational Area. These recreational opportunities sought, allow the public to enjoy the Seashore’s resources and values.

Denying access to recreational opportunities, many of which are specifically protected in the Enabling Legislation, denies the Seashore’s current visitors the opportunity to enjoy the park’s resources and values and denies future generations the opportunity to enjoy the park’s resources in direct violation of Park Services Management Policies. The vast stretches of undeveloped shoreline between villages are a major attraction for visitors. Closing as little as 20% of the 68 miles of shoreline forces more people into smaller

areas, increasing the potential for user conflict and diminishing the attractiveness for visitors. It is unreasonable to expect, or attempt to provide, a beach wilderness experience with over two million annual visitors on only 68 miles or shoreline. The recreational activities (edit) are activities that do not cause harm or impairment to the parks resources or values, nor do they cause “unacceptable impacts”. All of these recreational activities are historic and traditional uses and meet the requirements outlined in the U.S.C. Code"
So there's some more stuff for you to contemplate. More to follow.

Tight Lines,


No comments:

Post a Comment