Monday, June 28, 2010

A Tragic Death At The Seashore

It’s always hard to write about a subject that causes me great anger. This is particularly true when that emotion is directed in several different ways and at various individuals and organizations. I don’t know who to yell at first.

So I’ll begin with the idiot.

Fair warning, there are some graphic pictures involved in this post.

At some point, Wednesday last or in the early hours Thursday an individual or group of people went for a drive on the beach off of Ramp 72 just outside of Ocracoke Village and proceeded to run over and kill a Loggerhead turtle.

The NPS suggests that this occurred sometime between the hours of 10PM and 6AM which are the hours where beach driving is not permitted except by official vehicles, as per the court sanctioned “consent decree”. The decedent was discovered at approximately 6:10 AM Thursday morning by Michelle Bogardus, NPS senior turtle biologist.

Apparently, in addition, SW of Ramp 70, a new, then unmarked nest was driven over and some eggs were crushed. This discovery occurred at almost 7AM, almost a full hour after the beaches were open for legal ORV access by non official vehicles. Where was the dawn turtle patrol required by the ‘consent decree” and why wasn’t the nest wasn’t marked off as required by same?

Who killed the turtle?

As quoted at

John Anglin, Lead Ranger for NPS said “There are people out there in the community who were not involved but who have heard something,” To me, this sounds as though Mr. Anglin assumes that the residents of Ocracoke are either involved or omniscient. Neither of which is likely and perhaps serves as a window as to just how NPS really feels about those of us that live on these Islands.

Let’s look at the facts Mr. Anglin.

As the photographs will bear, whoever was driving that vehicle was not properly aired down. Had you enough beach driving experience and were attentive to detail, you would know the difference between the tracks left by someone who had lowered their tire pressure sufficiently and someone whose tires were spinning faster than they were advancing along the beach. The latter leaves a track resembling sifted flour as opposed to a defined, displaced footprint. If you don’t believe me, follow just about any NPS “observer” vehicle and then look at their tracks. This is especially true with the smaller NPS vehicles found on our beaches which are usually not aired down properly and are, as a result, stuck quite frequently. A subject I have touched upon in this very blog.

Anybody that lives here, John, knows about airing tires down.

It’s also rather obvious that the vehicle in question had relatively low clearance as clearly distinguishable behind the turtle is the imprint of the gas tank which struck the sand.

It is evident that this low clearance, improperly aired down vehicle was not capable of travelling down the beach at any speed else the track would have been much different and was travelling without headlights or they would have seen the turtle. Anybody having a tough time driving the sand in a low clearance vehicle is not going to try and strike a massive object.

It’s also clear that whoever it was that perpetrated this awful act had no fear of ending up in trouble for doing so as they continued down the beach as far as the eye can see in the photo. Why no fear? Is it because they were in an official vehicle and could blame it on some “cowboy”? I only ask because NPS has a penchant for blaming ORV operators for many things that simply don’t make sense and are in some cases, entirely speculative and as such is fair. Of note, is that during the hours NPS assumes this happened, theirs were the only vehicles legally allowed on the beach.

What it comes down to is that the individual who killed the turtle was breaking the law, probably either because of illegal entry or driving without headlights, or both. It could have been anybody, including an NPS employee.

The reality is that it’s the responsibility of NPS to patrol these beaches and enforce the law. Virtually every act of vandalism recorded within the bounds of the Seashore this year has gone unseen, unreported until well after the fact, and without an arrest by NPS but the public has been repeatedly punished by the acts of a few.

The sad part is that our access community has repeatedly approached NPS with the concept of a citizen’s watch and has been turned down every time. Such a watch would have probably prevented this tragedy as the individuals would have been seen and law enforcement notified. I wrote about this very subject for Island Free Press a couple of years ago.

Of course, such an act doesn’t go unnoticed by DOW, Audubon, and SELC who are now calling for barriers to be erected at sundown on each of the ramps within the Seashore. My only response to that thought process is to remind these characters that during the almost sixty years where unrestricted night driving was conducted at the Seashore, an incident like this never happened.

Remember too that because of NPS policy here at the Seashore, almost 40% of the nests laid on our beaches are lost each year due to storms, predation and management practice.

All that these people and NPS have managed to accomplish since the “07 IMS is to attempt to fix something that wasn’t broken to begin with.

Again, the pics are graphic.

Tight Lines,


Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Important Fund Raiser!

The OBPA (Outer Banks Preservation Association) is gearing up for its 3rd Annual “Stand in the Sand” fundraiser scheduled for Friday, June 25 from noon until dark at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.

Just like the two previous events, the fundraiser will sell dinner pork and chicken barbeque dinners, and will also feature guest speakers, music, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, beach access information booths, play area for children and several local artists.

It takes a lot of man power to make this event happen and there are many different types of jobs that need volunteers to fill. To find out what you can do to help, contact Greg at blufis@ Many hands make light work.

Stand in the Sand is one of our largest fundraisers of the year. All the money that the OBPA raises is used to pay all the legal challenges for maintaining reasonable beach access for everyone.

This fundraiser is always a fun-filled day for the community. Each one of us can be a part of preserving our beach heritage. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is worth fighting for. Please help!

Even if you cant make it, to help preserve access to this countrys first National Seashore, The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area which was established by the Congress as an area set aside for fun in the sun, not a wildlife preserve, you can help by donating to our legal fund established to protect your right to access ALL of these beaches All year round by visiting

If you can be there tomorrow, I'll see ya!

Tight Lines,


We Need Your Help Here Too!

We have a public comment period coming up for the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project with public hearings to be held on 4th of July week...a hard time to get people to come out and participate, but it is what it is. It's do or die time for this project to move forward.

The committee will have a booth at the "Stand in the Sand" on Friday at the Fessenden center and the public is welcome to learn more about the issues and sign support statements that will be submitted for public comment when the hearings start on July 6th.

It's really imperative to get as many comments as possible submitted in support of moving the project forward to a "Record of Decision" the other alternative would be that NCDOT would have to do yet another draft supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) publish it, put it out for public comment, respond to public comment, then release a Final supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement publish it, put it out for public comment, respond to public comment, then release a "Record of Decision". If the latter occurs it would significantly and adversely affect the timeline for the replacement of the bridge. We cannot afford any further delays!

The 2006 structural assessment for the bridge identified about 36 million worth of repairs...we are working our way through those now, just to keep the load limits up. However, the engineers who wrote the assessment stated that regardless of the repairs, due to the "advanced stages of deterioration" replacement by 2016 is a "necessity". Even if we start next spring, we are pushing that "replace by" date too close for comfort since we are looking at a 4 year build time, let alone if the whole FEIS rigmarole has to happen yet again.

Your help is needed NOW

Replacing the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet is long overdue. Any further delay risks the loss of this vital transportation lifeline to Hatteras Island, which would be an economic catastrophe for the region.

The people have had to endure an endless series of environmental studies and challenges designed only to stall the process while jeopardizing public safety.

Now a new preferred alternative from NCDOT calls for immediate replacement of the Bonner Bridge. This reasonable and practical approach has the support of the Federal Highway Administration, The Environmental Protection Agency, and State and Local officials.

The new preferred alternative requires public hearings that are scheduled for July 6 & 8.

We hope these will be the last public hearings needed before construction can finally begin.

Let your voice be heard. Take a stand in support of replacing the bridge NOW.

Public comments are urgently needed from residents, visitors, vacation property owners,

and businesses on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, throughout Dare County and the region.

Public Hearings will be held –

July 6th – Manteo, 7:00pm

Dare County Commissioners Meeting Room

954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo

July 8th – Buxton, 7:00pm

Cape Hatteras Elementary School Cafeteria

47500 Middle Ridge Trail, Buxton

Voice your support at these hearings for NCDOT’s new Preferred Alternative.

Key components of the new Preferred Alternative would –

· Replace the Bonner Bridge immediately with a new parallel bridge

· Eliminate the “Long Bridge” Alternative, which is impractical and unfundable

· Use a Transportation Management Plan for future development of NC Hwy 12

· Recommend immediate construction without further environmental studies & delays

Remember –

On an average day, 5,000 vehicles use the Bonner Bridge. This doubles to almost 10,000 per day on a busy summer day. If this critical transportation link were lost, ferry service would not be able to support the economy and tourism that has developed since the bridge opened to traffic in 1963. Even an emergency ferry could only accommodate 650 cars a day, weather permitting.

For More Information –

Find complete details about the hearing process at:

If you are unable to attend the public hearings in Dare County, on-line and written comments will be accepted until August 9, 2010. Detailed information is on the website.

Beth Midgett


Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Requested Revision (V1.3)

Recently I published an argument wherein I voiced my opinion that in fact 16USC459 section 4 (SEC 4) or otherwise known as “the enabling legislation” (EL) is not a dual mandate as it has been described for years.

After publishing my argument, I also took the opportunity to forward it to several people who have been actively involved in our war for beach access here at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. Many of those who read my writings agreed with my assessment, some never replied and a couple of folks didn’t see it the way I do. Bob Davis, who has often been a sounding board for my thoughts, was one of those who was not quite convinced and asked me to refine my position. This one’s for you Bob and I hope you’ll give it a read.


The dual mandate (dm) theory holds that within the legislation or EL, the Congress directs the National Park Service (NPS) to manage the Seashore with two principal missions. One mission is recreation and the other being the preservation of “primitive wilderness”.

SEC 4 has been described as vague, conflicting, and is interpreted in two different ways depending upon which side of this argument you fall on. Those who are “pro-access” see recreation as the primary mission at the Seashore where certain environmental groups and apparently the NPS see it as preservation.

As it is presented in writing and oral description, SEC 4 is most usually described as having two “sections” with each of these concerning a different mission for NPS to follow in the management of the Seashore. It is the author’s contention that this intentional or even subconscious division of the EL is what leads many to believe in the dm theory. In fact, described to me as a dual mandate years ago, even before I read the EL the first time, and since, it became instinctive to read, write about, and discuss SEC 4 as a dm.

The division of SEC 4 almost universally occurs thusly:

Section 1st) “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,”.

It this section that pro-access individuals see as the mandate and primary mission of recreational use of the Seashore as it describes.

Section 2nd) “ 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:”

It is this section that the environmental groups and NPS claim as the primary mandate at the Seashore and most particularly the phrase “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:”

It is because of the intentional or subconscious division of the EL that it is viewed as conflicting and vague. The vague nature of SEC 4 comes from the somewhat correct observation that the Congress never specified where the “recreational area” was supposed to be relative to the “primitive wilderness area”.

The described conflict comes from the seemingly contradictory instructions provided by congress which on the one hand require the NPS to “developed for such uses as needed,” while at the same time stating that “no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken”.

Taken at face value and under the auspices of the dm theory these two statements are in direct conflict with each other. As such, it’s easily understood, at least under the dm theory, how this short statement by the Congress could be, and has been, so divisive. Also, it begs the question as to why, within such a short collection of phrases, would the legislators provide such stark contradiction?

Currently it appears that NPS supports the environmentalist contention that preservation of “primitive wilderness” under the “no development” clause is the primary mission of the Seashore; at least when it comes to the collusion that resulted in the Consent Decree, as well as the NPS preferred DEIS alternative F. Or do they?

Were it true that section 2nd was the primary mandate for NPS to follow in Seashore management, previous management policy, and development that has occurred here, within the bounds of the Seashore was done so illegally. This is true since at the inception of the Seashore, virtually all of the area contained within CHNSRA was effectively what could be described by the term “primitive wilderness” as such an area can be described as a place without the presence of man or his works.

However, by the year 2000, an arbitrary moment in time, many an alteration requiring development had occurred at the Seashore and affected by the NPS. These would include several campgrounds, parking lots, pump out stations, bathroom facilities, walkovers, interdunal roads on both ocean and sound side, foot trails and of course beach access ramps and roads. Virtually every single incident of development mentioned above required the destruction of “primitive wilderness” at some level or another.

How could this be accomplished and be in compliance with “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:”?

Since the arrival of Mike Murray, now superintendent of the Seashore, additional alteration and even the destruction of at least native flora was undertaken as he caused the development of not only the “pass through” at the “narrows” north of Cape Point, but also the “spur road” at Hatteras Inlet.

Also of note was the destruction of approximately 90 acres of vegetation around the dredge pond near Cape Point which eradicated a portion of the seaward extension of Jennette Sedge in 2002 which had been untouched for years and was consequently, wildlife habitat.

NPS has also proposed within the DEIS that a parking lot for pedestrian access be constructed near Hatteras Inlet and will next month be requesting public comment for a two slip boat ramp, including dredging the sound to the ferry channel to allow access for vessels drawing up to five feet of water and an additional parking area with over 60 slots to handle trucks and their boat trailers. Both of these proposals will again require the destruction of “primitive wilderness” and quite a bit of it, especially the truck/trailer parking lot.

In accordance with the assumed priority of the “second section” of the EL, this should be illegal. Except it’s not; by virtue of the especially semantic verbiage contained within SEC 4, aka, the “enabling legislation”.


As I have stated in previous writings, it is my contention that 16USC459 SEC 4 is neither vague or in conflict with itself, nor is it a dual mandate.

Within this portion of the “Organic Act”, the Congress clearly defines the mission at the Seashore and management priority to the NPS in a way not in conflict of any sort. As such, they did not need to specifically identify what portion of the area was to be set aside for recreation as opposed to “primitive wilderness” and so is not vague.

I also contend that there aren’t two “sections” of the EL and will put forth the proposition that, rather, this is one congruent thought inexorably knitting the entire Seashore together with one purpose and it’s not the preservation of “primitive wilderness”. I will, however, continue from time to time, with referring to “sections” for ease of understanding.


At the beginning of SEC 4, the Congress sets forth a policy of recreational development for NPS without specifying where this was to be. They did provide some suggestions for said activity, but not limitations, when they wrote “particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature”. But remember, hunting is also allowed within the Seashore which opens a rather broad range of legal recreational use.

What’s interesting about SEC 4 is that it effectively establishes a three part test for NPS to follow as they proceed to develop CHNSRA.

Section 1st) “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,”.

What does this say? The version without the suggestion of various recreational activities simplifies the legislation and illustrates this “test”.

“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,”.

Essentially, what the Congress says here is, that if the area is needed, it’s for recreational use, and it’s especially adaptable for that purpose, it “shall be developed for such uses”. That is the summation of the “test” for development NPS must consider prior to manipulating the resource for recreational purpose. This is why the legislation never segregated the “recreational area” from “primitive wilderness”.

Providing that the “test” had been passed, and according to the law which states “shall be developed”, NPS has no option within SEC 4 other than to accommodate the need of visitors.

What allows this development to continue through the years and even within the NPS DEIS proposal and the proposal for the boat ramps adjacent to the Coast Guard Station, is the fact that the Congress told NPS to do specifically that, providing it was needed, it was for recreation, and it was adaptable. This is why the legislation never segregated the “recreational area” from “primitive wilderness” which I argue repeatedly only for the sake of emphasis.

How the Congress facilitated the pseudo division between the areas was by use of the term “reserved” when they wrote, “the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness”. Had the word “preserved” been used, there would in fact be a dual mandate. But as mentioned before, that particular mandate would have been in conflict with the first part of SEC 4.

The use of the word “reserved”, does on the other hand, provide NPS with the ability to satisfy the three part test which when accomplished, requires adaptive recreational development as needed and specified within the EL and negates the conflict with the latter within same.

This is true because any remaining portion of the Seashore that cannot pass the “three part test” is to remain unaltered as it remains in “reserve” until conditions for development can be satisfied and justifiably met. All of the language following the word “reserved” within the EL pertains specifically to the area in “reserve” but not that which was  or "shall be" developed for recreational use as needed


Congress put no limit on the size or scope of the “recreational area” at the Seashore other than its legal geographical boundaries and the ability to satisfy the requirements for recreational development. Only a single mandate was provided by the Congress to NPS and it is a directive which reads “shall be developed for such uses as needed,”

The area held in “reserve” only remains in that status until it is needed for development and is adaptable for recreational use and was never intended to be permanently preserved as “primitive wilderness” else congress would have specified the respective boundaries and used the term “preserved” as opposed to “reserved”.

Instead they allowed for flexible management of the Seashore which still does allow for adaptive policy. Perhaps this is because of the time frame allowed NPS to get the Seashore into official status and the unpredictability in ultimately determining what sort of visitor demand would ensue at CHNSRA. Either way, NPS was told to develop this area as needed for recreational pursuit.


Tight Lines,


Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'll tell you what. This whole thing about Audubon and the sale of their tax free primitive wilderness in Currituck County just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.

On the one hand, Audubon wants to sell their 13 acre oceanfront plot which they promised to preserve as primitive wilderness specifically for development...a high density multi condo/restaurant deal that will totally eradicate all wildlife and flora withing the area.

At the same time they propose to do that, they are demanding that virtually all access to OUR National Seashore Recreational Area here at Cape Hatteras be curtailed to fulfill what they claim is the mission of the Seashore, the protection of primitive wilderness, which it is decidedly not.

Yet again, at the same time, they oppose a new bridge to northern Currituck that would ease congestion on the narrow roads up that way because they say it will lead to to much development of the area and will consequently destroy a lot of important environment they claim needs to be preserved.

Except of course, when they profit from the sale of property they've never paid a dime in taxes on and can stuff $25,000,000 into their coffers.

Oh, there's more property they're trying to sell elsewhere also, all of which they promised to preserve, on the Chesapeake Bay and Vermilion Parish in Louisiana. perhaps they need yet another high rise office building in New York City?

But wait, there's more! Besides complaining that the proposed bridge would bring in more development within the same area that they wish to sell what was supposed to be preserved in perpetuity as primitive wilderness, they complain within comment submitted by our old friends, the Southern Environmental Cash Law Center that the State has not done enough study on storm water runoff and its contaminates from the proposed structure. Apparently they are concerned that said runoff would pollute the Albemarle Sound and harm native wildlife.


These are the same people that oppose a short bridge replacement paralleling the current Bonner Bridge that connects us to the mainland in favor of a 17 mile long span that will jut well out into the Pamlico Sound and they're worried about runoff on a short bridge up north??

When does this insanity and contradiction end?

Irene Nolan wrote about it in her blog which can be found here

I don't know what Audubon is smoking but I'm guessing that there's been a few to many visits to the medical marijuana clinic to buy the high dollar stuff.

Tight Lines,


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Air Down Damnit!

It was a beautiful day on the beach yesterday with a nice breeze and gin clear water albeit a distinct lack of fish. Conditions like that with no fish usually means that a pretty big shark is cruising the beach looking for dinner. I hope he had more luck than I did.

I spent most of the day at Ramp 43 which for those not familiar with the Seashore, is located about a plover closure away from the Lighthouse near Buxton. Because of its proximity to the village, 43 is a very popular ramp all year long. It hasn't been crowded though as many folks aren't making the trip down because of all of the massive beach closures.

One thing that alot of visitors to the Seashore don't realize is that the sand and beach conditions we see here are somewhat predictable; barring a significant storm event. In fact, in some cases it's so predictable that those who have studied the dynamics of these beaches can accurately predict the loss of sea turtle nests by location alone. If only NPS would listen we wouldn't be losing almost 40% of the nests here on an annual basis.

Another aspect of the predictability of the beaches relates to driving conditions as that too changes by season as well as location within the Seashore. This time of year the sand on the high beaches becomes very soft. We call it sugar sand and it's the bane of many an inexperienced beach traveller. Not only can it be tough to drive in, even walking through it, especially toting gear can be a major struggle. If somebody is going to get stuck on these beaches, that's normally where you'll see it happen. Ramp 43 can be "get stuck central" though there are beaches even more notorious further north.

Beach driving is not hard at all. Not, that is, if you follow some simple rules. These aren't rules you'll find published in an NPS manual but are born of decades of experience shared from one visitor to another. I've been following these simple rules for 30 odd years and can say that not once have I ever been stuck.

The first rule is AIR DOWN! This seems to be the rule that alot of people want to ignore and that ignorance is by far the cause of most of the "stuckage". Not only do folks routinely get stuck when they disobey this rule but several times a year vehicles end up nearly totaled as a result of a cooked transmission and transfer case. NPS recommends airing down to 20 psi per tire which will work but if you want an easy ride over the sand with as little strain as possible on your transmission, drop them down to 17 pounds. Don't worry, there are air pumps all over the Island and all but a couple of them are free. Those of that live here keep our tires down until it's time to make the dreaded trip off Island.

Of course you can ignore this rule and provide us with hours of entertainment as you attempt to dig out your frame deep truck while the fishing is slow.

Don't drive near the water, in the water, or on freshly wet sand. As often as not, the sand turns into more of a soupy mix when it gets inundated and often wont even support your own body weight let alone that of a truck.

Secure the stuff in the bed of your truck else it may very well bounce out. This applies to people riding in the back as well. The rule is that all passengers must be seated on the bed of the truck while it's moving.

Obey the speed limit which at this point is 15mph.

Please carry a trash bag and use it. If you smoke, remember, our beach is not your ash tray so dispose of your butts accordingly.

What got me started on this was an incident that occurred yesterday afternoon as a family of adults went to leave the beach. After packing their chairs, coolers, umbrellas and four people into the bed of their light duty truck they began to head for the ramp. It was obvious from the git-go that they hadn't aired down and all that weight in the back was putting enormous strain on the motor and drive train. As they drove by I told them that they needed to air down and was rewarded by two middle fingers, one from the driver and one from his buddy in the bed of the truck. Knowing what was to follow, I grabbed my beer and walked to the hood of my truck to watch the show. Sure enough, within a hundred yards they were almost frame deep. Of course the first thing the driver did was to try back up and gun the motor to bust out of the hole. Never, ever, gun the motor or like this guy, you'll end up even deeper than before. Of course at this point I am laughing hard enough to draw the attention of another fellow up the beach who just saw these guys flip me off. So he started laughing as well and the show was on.

I suppose the driver found himself in a bad spot. He'd just flipped off the guy that told him to air down and now he's stuck. Now he's under pressure to prove that since he's driving a 4x4 he doesn't need to air down. Really? The next attempt was everybody out of the back and push which resulted in utter failure and a couple folks covered from head to toe with sand that had been thrown by the spinning tires.  That didn't work so they emptied the bed of the truck. That didn't work either so they began to dig the tires out. Guess what?

Finally, after almost 40 minutes of incessant struggle, they gave up and aired down at which point the truck hopped right out of the hole and made it off the ramp which was undoubtedly a great relief to the driver. Not so much for his crew as they had to tote all of that gear off under their own power which required two trips.

All of that could have been avoided if they had followed rule number one. AIR DOWN DAMNIT!
But thanks for the laugh there feller. I bet the folks at the transmission shop will be glad to see you too!

Tight Lines,


Monday, June 7, 2010

Recent Notes

I always love it when good friends come to town even though it serves as quite a distraction. Though the fish weren't cooperating yesterday we still had quite a good time anyway.

A few things of note. it seems the PETA folks have decided to enter a dog into this fight relative to the predator control issue here on the islands.

Also it looks like the bridge replacement issue is back on track with public comment and meetings set up for next month. This will work until our nemesis Derb Carter and SELC sue to stop the construction. That story can be found here:

It seems as though NPS lost five of the threatened piping plover chicks last week to what they claim are unknown causes. The weekly resource management report located under beach access issues at the above link details whats happening here with the birds and turtles.

And finally, a story of hypocrisy. There's a fellow that lives up north around Corolla, far removed from CHNSRA who has bashed us incessantly regarding beach driving, a traditional form of access that predates even the legislation that created the Seashore. His posts and comments can also be located in the blog posted at the above link. The funny part is, Mr. Ray Midgett, is that for all the hell you raise about us driving here, you obviously have no issues driving YOUR truck out onto the sand. BUSTED!

Well, that's all for now as its time to get busy.

Tight Lines,


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whats In A Word?

I’m not really sure who it was that first sent me a copy of the “enabling legislation” that in the process of creating Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, provided the Park Service with a framework with which to manage the Seashore.

What I do know is that before I read it the first time those many years ago, I was told that it was a “dual mandate” that gave NPS two missions to accomplish. One, the creation of a recreational area, and two, preserve the remaining area as primitive wilderness, which still comprises the vast majority of the Seashore as a whole.

It is upon the “dual mandate” premise that NPS has managed the area and many a debate has been centered. Often during that debate, whether coming from the NPS, environmental groups or certain individuals who argue this issue on various websites, we hear that the legislation is vague in that it doesn’t delineate where the recreational area is supposed to be as opposed to the primitive wilderness area. Presumably, it is that argument, that the law is vague, which led Sandy Hamilton, a Colorado based NPS employee, to proclaim during the negotiated rulemaking process that “as long as we leave a small area open for recreational access, we have fulfilled the recreational mission… ‘

Early morning last Thursday I was busy with my chores when suddenly I was struck by thought so powerful that it did what my coffee had yet been able to do; it woke me right up. Forgetting the chores, I pondered for a while then sat down here to look again at what the Congress wrote and passed.

The “enabling legislation” is not a “dual mandate”.

Within the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, NPS outlines its preferred alternative (F) which includes the construction of additional ramps, parking areas, walkovers, inter-dunal roads, and a parking lot at Hatteras Spit, all of which would potentially destroy “wilderness” area and or the “unique flora and fauna now contained within”.

If the primary mission is to preserve these portions of the Seashore as opposed to recreation, how can NPS tear up these areas and develop them for recreational use? It’s because the Congress told them to do exactly that when they stated “which shall be developed for such uses as needed”.

In fact, read like its written, and you’ll see that Congress assumes that the entire Seashore can be developed by NPS for recreational use if it’s needed.

Congress used the term “reserved” when they spoke of primitive wilderness, not “preserved”. Had they said “preserved”, there would in fact be a dual mandate. The use of the word “reserved” tells NPS nothing more than that they are to preserve the flora and fauna until it’s needed for recreational use at which point it is to be developed for such purpose.

That’s not a dual mandate.

In my own experience, I have been in many a neighborhood that was being developed where the developer in question wasn’t allowed to cut out the trees on a given lot until the owner was actually ready to build a house. Consequently, at least for a while, many of the lots remained as they were for an extended period and were only “developed for such uses as needed”.

That’s what the Congress told NPS, and that’s all they told them. Develop the area for recreational use, reserve the rest until you need it and don’t mess with it while it’s in reserve.

That’s why congress never bothered to specify exactly where one area is as opposed to the other. Because they had already said it was all “fair game” for development for recreational use and in fact implored NPS to develop it for that purpose whenever necessary and in that respect is not vague at all.

As you read the legislation, which I will post below, try and read it without the bias of a “dual mandate” and carefully read it as the one long congruent thought it is.

SEC. 4. “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:”

Chew on that for a while…

Tight Lines,