If there is one thing that can be said about our fight for access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, is that it's one great pile of frustration that angers many and saddens many more. Through the years, those who live on the islands and the many who visit have been thrown one curve ball after another as the Park Service began to advance it's agenda. An agenda that is in direct conflict with the published intent of Congress and the mission established for this Seashore by same.
Though I hate to oversimplify the situation, it's though Congress declared this place a horse but NPS has declared that it's a chicken and will deal with it as such; and they don't care who gets burned in the process.
I still have no answer to my long standing question; "when was it that NPS gained authority over Congress?".
NPS was charged by Executive Order to implement a rule for ORV use. They were not charged with destroying an economy and a culture, or a way of life.
The fact is, that NPS could have presented a "rule" that mirrored pre 2005 management policies without causing harm to the beaches or the plants and animals we share this sand with. The record can stand on it's own.
Instead NPS re-invents and harms in the process.
The Seashore was established as a recreational area "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" and NPS was charged to develop the area for such use as needed. Perhaps I misunderstand but it seems clear to me that one cannot enjoy a place one cannot access.
One of the things that frustrates all of us is the human toll of the actions taken and planned by NPS. On the Islands alone we have seen the loss of over 50 businesses, 400 odd homes are in foreclosure, many jobs have been lost or no longer exist. This doesn't really start to hit home until you realize that we are a remote location with eight small villages surrounded by the Seashore and with a population of less than 5000.
Yes, some of that is the general economy but the islands have always been somewhat recession proof by nature. On the other hand when you have 60% and change of your beaches closed during the busiest season of the year, recession proof or not, you're going to take a big hit.
The Seashore isn't like most of the east coast in that it remains largely undeveloped. Perhaps one of the most dynamic beach systems anywhere, the shoreline changes daily. Most of the beaches are remote and far from anything other than more beach.
And that's what people come here for. And that's what Congress intended them to do.
I cant count the number of friends I've made on that sand. True also, is that I have heard my fair share of frustration from those that come here from afar. I've seen tears in the eyes of a friend as the Point was closed. There are so many from far away that care so much for this place and they too become angry.
Of late, I've read many posts on various boards that express that frustration.
Some say they will limit their trips, others that they have no intention of returning. Some cant bear to witness what NPS intends to do to this place. And when it hurts worse, is when you're hearing it from a friend.
A friend of mine posted this on Frank and Fran's the other day and I find it poignant. I think it sums it all up but at the same time should inspire us further to fight this fight.
(By Brian, in part)
"For many years I have been going to the OBX to enjoy the following:
*Time with my family away from normal life
*Away from the cell phone and emails
*great fishing on the surf
*Bringing my boat down and fishing in the sound or off the point
*Sleeping in with NO ONE bothering me
*Getting up every morning and taking my early morning Jog to Frank & Frans and have a free cup of coffee while eating my 18 vitamins that I take every day
*Visiting friends from Hatteras Village all the way to Rodanthe
*Spending money that I dont have to support "JOBS and the OBX"
But what do I get. RUN OFF! Let me break this down what has happened over the last 3 years that this has been going on.
We fought back by doing education, handing out flyers, working with OBPA, Beach Buggy, Anglers Club to raise money and support. Ok Ok I understand at this point your tired of reading but continue.
Lets take "my family" Husband, Wife, 2 daughters a son and my inlaw's. Total 6-7 of us. Now let me put this in $$$$$$$.
*(2) 4x4 vehicles to drive everyone down. From my house to the island, around and back 2400 miles= 171 gallons of Fuel (So at today's average $2.96 per gallon) 171X $2.96=$507.43, Only 65 gallons are purchased away from DARE County. So that means 106 Gallons of Taxable fuel is to benifit Dare County.
*(1) House for the week at an average of $1462.10 (based on my 4 weeks average every year)
*Food bill for us (again an average) spending at Conners, Food Lion and Red Drum for a week $1125.11
*Eating out 2 times during the week (again an average) for a family 6 &/or 7= $291.52
*Bait and Tackle (again average) $214.92 per trip
*I carry a max of $800.00 cash and it's down within 50 bucks so we will say $750.00 misc cash (I dont use credit or debit on the island.
Now lets figure that up.
$4351.08 (I was pretty shocked when I seen how much I spend every trip down)\
Now take that and MULTIPLY X 4 TRIPS PER YEAR......................YEA................PRETTY CRAZY HUH?
Over $17400.00 per year and I have NOT counted the weekend trips to catch the big runs of fish. Now if I added that up it would boost it some but I am dirt cheap on those trips because no WIFE and KIDS.
If I a middle/average/american spends 17k a year JUST WITH MY FAMILY. I hope this sheds some light on the impact that the island is going to suffer.
We are now 1 trip a year and that is October for the tournament. I plan on continuing that trip to support what I love and have loved for years.
Now I want to personally thank each and every friend that I have met on the island for great times. If you are one of the reasons why I have decreased my trips from 4 to 1. Well please never come up to me. Ignore me with respect.
I do not wish to read "statistics" I am telling you the impact and in final.........It's been an awesome 20 years of vacation and again thank you! We are moving our vacations to Morehead City, A Cruise and a week on a local lake "bass fishing"
I feel heavy hearted to even write this but this is how the new rules and regs have affected my family. I will never give up on keeping the beaches open but NOW I have to put my wishes and wants away and provide enjoyment for my family. I will always be here to help as always.
I cant read that without remembering his and all of the other families from afar that are going to be hurt by this NPS action.
And that's all the more reason to get fired up to fight the fight!
And I'll leave you with that.