Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Got A Question Mr. Murray...

It’s been a while since I sat down here with the intention of writing for the blog. But then, since the DEIS comment period, things have been a bit slow on the Island and I needed a brain break. The wheels are turning again, the inks in the well, and a new nib on the gander’s gift.

In theory, on the morrow, Cape Point should finally be open for full access which will be welcomed. As many know, Hatteras Inlet was finally opened last week; having been closed for the last months in spite of the fact that no birds have nested there for years. I was out there today and it was a pleasure to drive and fish the rip.

It’s Cape Point that I’m concerned with or more accurately, the turtle nests that will soon come into hatch window and require full beach closures effectively eliminating access to the Point via Ramps 43 and 44. The Hook is covered up with Least Terns, also full beach closure which cuts off access via the salt pond road and 45.

I wrote about this before but did not ask the obvious question. That is, when is NPS going to begin the construction of a road behind the dunes and around the turtle nests so we can still have access?

By law, as per the “enabling legislation” they are required to. The area is adaptable, it’s clearly needed and it is unquestionably for recreational use; the three tenants stipulated by the Congress specific to this area. Remember, they said “shall be developed for such uses as needed” not, “give it a thought”.

So, Mr. Murray, where is our road?

On another note, it’s getting close to the end of public comment on our much needed bridge replacement as the deadline is the ninth of next month. If you like coming to Hatteras, and value your life and the lives of those you love, please take the time to learn about the issues and tell NCDOT to build the bridge NOW!

Irene Nolan at www.islandfreepress.org has written some excellent commentary on the subject and provides links for information and where to submit comment. Please have a look and help us replace this three mile span that should have been replaced 17 years ago and now enjoys a service rating of 2 out of 100.

Tight Lines,


Friday, July 2, 2010

This Summer At Cape Point?

Without question, the largest single draw at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is Cape Point. It is here, and within Diamond Shoals which stretch sometimes for miles in a Southeasterly direction, that the nutrient rich waters from the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Currents collide creating one of the most dynamic beach systems found anywhere on the Seashore.
The nature of the ever changing beach and submarine structure also draws alot of sea life which translates to attracting fishermen and their families to this special stretch of sand. It's not all about fishing though. The western edge of the Point begins an area we refer to as "The Hook" where the beach bends from a North to a Westward direction and offers excellent swimming and shelling as well as "other recreational activities of a similar nature".

It is here that every Spring and Fall, drum fisherman from all over the world congregate to catch and release the majestic Red Drum. Often fishing into the dawn hours and battling chest high waves and sometimes sharks, here you'll find some of the most skilled surf fisherman anywhere.

Since these draconian closures began as a result of the NPS pandering to SELC and company, perhaps the most often asked question on this Island is "when are they going to open the Point?" I got hit with it twice yesterday as I shopped for victuals.

At the time I was asked, the answer should have been next week. (last plover fledged plus three weeks as per the decree of forced consent) Now I'm not so sure.

You see, there are Oystercatcher still out there. All hatched but NPS has a penchant for extending closure times for these birds for sometimes weeks at a time. The "weak flier" excuse has kept many areas closed that should have been opened weeks earlier. And considering Cyndy Holda's decidedly anti access views, I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

The other issue is turtles. Check out this weeks resource management report available at http://www.islandfreepress.org/ and you'll find nests have sprung up on both sides of Ramp 45 and directly in front of and to the South of Ramp 44. Once they hit hatch window in about six weeks, full beach closures go into effect which will close both ramps to Point access. The only ray of hope is that the nest East of 45 is not close enough to close the Salt Pond Road. if a turtle nests in the Hook, though the nest will rot, it could keep the Point closed until sometime in September effectively killing any hopes of salvaging the remaining portion of the summer season.

How this plays out will depend on decisions made by people we pay who were directed by Congress to establish, develop, and maintain this Seashore for the purpose of recreational pursuit, not a damn wildlife refuge.

Tight Lines,