A rainy, windy, 60 degree day here today on the island but a good time to "pen" some thoughts none the less. Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday and it seems as though it could be a great game. I don't have a dog in that fight but I sure hope it's a contest to remember.
It occurred to me that we could settle this issue of access on the field as well. CHAPA vs NPS. We could face off at Cape Hatteras High School and the winner determines what responsible, reasonable access really is. I bet that would make for one incredible tailgate party! And then we could adjourn to the Point to fish and feast while we thank Judge Boyle that we do know what Cape Point is like and that's why we do come here!
Anyway, enough about that.
Recently, as I'm sure most of you know, some of our North Carolina congressional representatives, Senators Hagan and Burr and Congressman Walter Jones wrote a letter to the Department of the Interior voicing concern about the NPS proposed plan and the massive closures they seek to enact. These proposed closures will needlessly, without scientific justification, eliminate access to incredible swaths of the Seashore including most all of the most popular areas within the recreational area. Indeed NPS also seeks to invent a new "zone" of sorts called a vehicle free area or "VFA". Again, another thinly veiled attempt at changing the nature, and more specifically, the mission of the Seashore from that which congress intended and in violation of federal law.
What his portion of the N.C. congressional delegation proposes, at least in part is the establishment of vehicle "corridors" that would allow access around the draconian closures proposed in the FEIS. ( you can read the letter at www.islanfreepress.org under Beach Access Issues )
Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen yer pencils. It's time to write these good folks. It's time for you to make your voice heard!
In short, corridors wont do it. Why? Because they can be to easily blocked by NPS for any one of a number of reasons and you can bet the Service will take full advantage of that in order to further their agenda. Corridors will also be just that, corridors. No stopping, no parking, no walking, no pets on a leash, no swimming, no picnics etc....gee what a fun time at the beach!
The real issue here is providing non-threatened, non-endangered species, endangered species level protections even though the North Carolina Wildlife resource Commission openly stated that this was unwarranted and unnecessary. The real issue here is returning the Seashore to responsible and reasonable levels of protection similar to what was outlined in the 2007 Interim Management Strategy, or earlier, until and unless NPS can show that access to these areas is actually causing a significant adverse impact to wildlife as outlined in President Carters' 1978 Executive Order 11989.
Remind the good congressmen that ORV access predates the existence of the Seashore and is a traditional, cultural, form of access. ( see Jim Keenes' interview about TCP's at www.preservebeachaccess.org )
That the record of ORV use at the Seashore shows no impairment to the resource.
That the area was established for the purpose of recreation by the Congress who directed NPS to develop the area for such uses as needed.
That the closures of such vast areas of the Seashore is unwarranted and in violation of E.O. 11989.
And don't forget to tell them that corridors wont work!
And there's so much more! Feel free to borrow from what's within the blog.
Whatever you do, please take the time to write and then write again.
Here are the links:
If these folks are really interested in helping us, they will pay attention to what you write. Be careful of the facts though. We don't want to talk about things that are untrue.
If you're not from North Carolina, and even if you are, remember to talk about your economic impact to the Islands and how this will effect your future visits to the Seashore or sadly, in some cases, eliminate your visits entirely. Lets let these folks know how we feel and what's wrong with the NPS as they abandon science, reason, tradition, and the benefit and enjoyment of the people.
We can make a difference and now is one great time to try. Remember, if you don't fight the fight, you have no right to bitch that your Seashore is closed!
Tight Lines, enjoy the game!