Monday, April 25, 2011

The Closure Of Cape Point

Without question, one thing that raises the ire of many visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is the closure of Cape Point to access in all forms. Also known as "the Point" this area of the Seashore has long been regarded as one of the premier surf fishing locations on our planet and draws fishermen as well as shellers, photographers and families, from all over the world.

Stretching south into the Atlantic,the Point also has the distinction of being the only place on the Island where one may stand in one spot, feet wet, and see the sun rise from the sea and set the same way. From here, on a clear spring night, the Milky Way appears painted with a brush and the constellations disappear amidst the cacophony of stars.

(borrowed photo)

The closure of Cape Point is an emotional event that has the power to drain from many the will to fight the fight for free and open access. This becomes easy to understand when those whose families have fished here for generations find themselves in a position where all they can do for their children is relate memories instead of tangible experience. It doesn't help that we know that since the inception of the Seashore, neither turtle nor bird has been able to nest successfully at the Point and that 100% of these creatures mortality in this area, can be attributed directly to either storms or predation.

I was first confronted by the news of the Point closure after returning from a visit to my father who had just been released from the hospital. Of course, I wanted to know why it was closed and began a series of calls to NPS which led me to the office of Cyndy Holda, Murray's' information officer. She it appears, was out of town and I spoke to one of her assistants who had no idea about the closure and in fact didn't even know who or what the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA) is. It was also obvious, based on the rather convoluted response, that this person also had no idea about the beaches here at the Seashore and how they function. No surprise there either.

Tyring to figure out what this guy meant, I was left with the thought that NPS had decided that the walk was to far to be done safely. This thought was somewhat verified as I read Holda's reply about the issue in an e-mail to our friend Ted. I'll print that shortly.

The reasons cited by our community for this sudden closure varied and involved a cast of characters including a seal, a retired resource manager, an birder wearing an Audubon shirt and led by a local, to some guys toting a pier cart out to the Point.

 Having talked to a dozen or so folks that claimed they were there, the consensus was that NPS sat back and watched the assorted violations take place and did nothing to stop or inform the persons involved. At this juncture in time, I would not be surprised if this were true.

In fact, when examining the numbers of violations recorded for the week prior to the closure, this must be true else there would likely have been few, if any.

What was missing during this event was an any attempt by NPS to inform those who chose to make the walk, about what the stipulations were. This could easily have been accomplished by having one of their staff stationed by the end of the closure. One would think that if protecting the birds was so important, NPS would have acted accordingly.

Take a look at the list of violations yourself and ask if NPS made any effort to educate anybody about anything.

Bodie-Hatteras None

Hatteras 4/14/2011 Pedestrian Two sets of barefoot tracks from the Pole Road to the ocean, 1 mile S of Ramp 55 in the Overwash prenesting closure.

4/15/2011 Pedestrian Two pedestrians having a picnic inside the closure, 1.6 mi W of Ramp 45.

4/15/2011 Pedestrian Two sets of footprints going into pre-nesting closure to Salt Pond and back out, S of Ramp 44.

4/16/2011 Dog An off-leash dog briefly ran into and then out of the closure on the east side of Ramp 45.

4/17/2011 ORV ORVs backed into and broke string for the Cape Point pre-nesting closure at the south end of the by-pass.

4/17/2011 Pedestrian Two sets of barefoot tracks in the PIPL closure/bumpout above the tide line to Cape Point.

4/17/2011 Pedestrian/Dog Tracks of two pedestrians and dog going down Salt Pond Road to shoreline.

4/17/2011 Dog Two sets of dog tracks in the interior of the Cape Point pre-nesting closure. The tracks crossed the dunes into the backshore.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian Eight people walking above the waterline in the PIPL closure/bumpout leading to Cape Point.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian A set of barefoot tracks were observed 0.6 mi E of Ramp 45.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian Three pedestrians at Salt Pond Road inside the pre-nesting closure.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian Two pedestrians in the prenesting closure west of Ramp 45.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian Two sets of pedestrian tracks inside Hatteras Inlet pre-nesting closure. One set went in the closure ~50 ft and left the same way. The other set led to the water's edge and traveled above the waterline.

Hatteras 4/19/2011 Pedestrian Five sets of pedestrian tracks going into the Hatteras Overwash pre-nesting closure, oceanside.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian Twenty-five fishermen were observed on the shoreline above the waterline inside the Cape Point pre-nesting closure.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian As many as 20 sets of pedestrian tracks were observed above the water through the PIPL and AMOY full beach closures/bumpouts on the east side of Cape Point. Many of the tracks overlapped so an exact number of violations was not possible to obtain.

4/19/2011 Pedestrian Four sets of pedestrian tracks entered the AMOY closure/bumpout from the shoreline on the east side of Cape Point and ended in the Hook. Drag marks from what appeared to be an ice chest were evident. Another pedestrian entered the closure from the Hook and walked through an American oystercatcher scrape. The tracks stopped near some exposed marine mammal bones and then returned to the Hook.

4/20/2011 ORV/Pedestrian ORVs parked south of the by-pass broke string between signs. Pedestrians walked past the broken string and signs down the by-pass for 20 meters and then exited the closure.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian Four pedestrians entered the Cape Point pre-nesting closure and walked WSW through the closure into the dunes and continued into the Hook. In doing so they walked within 15-30 meters of two unexclosed PIPL nests.

4/20/2011 ORV/Pedestrian More than a dozen bait fish, heads of bait fish and the remains of a filleted bluefish were dumped in the closure behind the "parking area" south of the by-pass.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian A fisherman who had walked from the Ramp 45 side of the Cape Point pre-nesting closure towards the Hook was observed fishing from the closed shoreline.

Hatteras 4/20/2011 Pedestrian Four pedestrian tracks were observed on the west side of the Cape Point pre-nesting closure. The tracks disappeared at the tide line after 50 meters. Returning tracks from the same four pedestrians were then observed exiting the closure north of the entry point.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian/Dog Two pedestrians with a dog were walking above the waterline in the AMOY closure/bumpout at Cape Point.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian A fisherman was observed at Cape Point with a pier cart.

4/20/2011 Pedestrian A man and woman on shoreline fishing inside the AMOY closure/bumpout at Cape Point.

Ocracoke 4/15/11 Pedestrian Seven pedestrians were observed entering the North Ocracoke pre-nesting closure from the ferry beach.

4/17/11 ORV, Pedestrian/ Dog A visitor drove into the closure south of Ramp 59 because closure signs had been lost in the storm from the previous evening.

4/17/11 Pedestrian Two sets of footprints entered the AMOY/bumpout closure on North Ocracoke, continued for several feet and then exited the closure.

4/19/11 Pedestrian One set of barefoot pedestrian tracks entered the AMOY closure 2.9 miles south of Ramp 59, continued for several feet and then exited the closure.

This is a sad statement through and through. It certainly does not reflect well on our community and also exemplifies the disdain that NPS feels for those who lawfully seek access. It is obvious that NPS would rather punish based on items noted on a clipboard than to work with the community to ensure access and wildlife protections, as absurd as they are.

Holda offered this explanation for the closure (in part):

"The closure intrusions are summarized in the weekly resources management

report. There were no "deliberate violations", such as vandalism, and no
violation notices were issued. The area was closed due to a combination of
new AMOY scrapes near the point that resulted in expand buffers and an
increase in the amount of closed shoreline that visitors would need to
by-pass below the mean low tide line and the number of closure intrusions
was unmanageable."

No deliberate violations means no expanded closures according to the decree of forced consent. The rest of her explanation is muddled and weak at best. This is especially true of the last part since had NPS been proactive the issue would have been largely non existent.

Then there is the issue of Murray, who as stipulated within the decree, retains the right to modify closures meaning the new AMOY scrape mentioned above (which is not a nest Madame Holda) need not have resulted in full closure but a corridor instead.

If you really want to know why the Point was closed, Holda said it all when she issued the standard non-scientific NPS opinion, advancing "the agenda" of nobody on the beach, which reads:

"The time had come to close it to avoid disturbance of nesting bird species."

So there you have it folks. I don't know what else to say other than I can't wait till this hypocrisy in all it's forms, is finally exposed to a nation that is rapidly becoming weary of the actions of NPS.

I hope everyone that reads this will share our story with as many as is possible and will join us in our fight to end this terrible injustice.

Tight Lines,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Death And Destruction Of Species By The NPS, The 2010 Count

As we go through the years facing the horrible mess that NPS has created on the islands of Hatteras and Ocracoke, we often focus on access and the lack thereof; as well as the economic impact of the vast areas of beach no longer available to the visiting public or the commercial fishermen that reside here.

Of course, NPS justifies these closures by virtually any means possible and in some cases will outright ignore their own policies as well as those stipulated in the court sanctioned, decree of forced consent. In the process, as anyone who is knowledgeable about these issues understands well, NPS comes up with some rather interesting reasons to explain away their actions and hide the truth; or as just mentioned, ignore it all together.

Case and point, this photo of a Piping Plover scrape was taken just a few weeks ago south of the third jetty near the lighthouse. The birds were witnessed exhibiting nesting behavior but did NPS close this beach as required by the decree of forced consent? NO! That could result in the closure of the Lighthouse to climbing which last year alone netted NPS 1.3 million dollars in fees. NPS was contacted about this and ignored it.
(The scrape in question is the divot in the sand in line with the lighthouse near the bottom of the photo)

The 2010 Predator Management Annual Report for Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is no exception.

Though the report does give a bit more information than reports I have seen previously, still, it ignores mortality when convenient. Take the sea turtle section for example. Where the Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher are named, detailed accounts of nests, hatchlings, fledgelings, and reason for demise are all part of the report, with the turtles, we see how many nests there were but no mention of mortality rates.

That subject was conveniently left out of Supt. Mike Murray's court presentation to Judge Boyle earlier this month as well. He did mention that 2010 was a record year for turtle nesting, however.

Hmmm, well I suppose if I were doing what Murray, Holda, and company, are doing to these islands and to those who have a right to visit these beaches, and my inept management policy racked up a near 50% nest mortality for the year, I'd be embarrassed as well.

It's an entirely different matter when the subject is dropped completely, mid paragraph, to begin a discussion of feral cats. More NPS spin.

When it comes to closures at the Seashore, the vast majority of area rendered inaccessible to all who live or visit here, is to protect bird species that are listed by North Carolina as "species of concern". This meaning that our wildlife resources commission simply wants more information about these birds. And in spite of having been informed of this by Gordon Meyers, Chairman of NCWRC, NPS provides these birds with near endangered species level protections in contrast to the wishes of Mr. Meyers.

NPS, in their lust to protect these birds from predators, has during 2010, also killed 12 diamond back terrapins, a North Carolina Species of Concern....ooops. But that's ok I guess. Don't forget folks, that's just this last year. I've never seen a record of this in a prior report and it's likely that it just wasn't documented. But that's ok, this is the government, and they're here to help.

So what did NPS kill or trap or both in 2010 to protect birds that keep us off the beach unnecessarily? Well here is the list that they published.

130 Raccoons

111 Opossum

220 baby Opossum (called kits)

8 Mink

47 Nutria

5 Gray Fox

9 Red Fox

2 Coyote

61 cats

12 Diamond back Terrapin

3 Mud Turtles

2 Yellow belly Slider

13 American Crows

3 Clapper Rail

7 Brown headed Cow Birds

13 European Starlings

21 Grackles

1 Muskrat

23 Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

NPS claims that most of the birds and rabbits were released unharmed.

NPS also states "we assume that some of these incidental rabbits and birds returned to trap sites and were caught several times"

This should come as no surprise since virtually every bit of their so called science used to run us off of our beaches is based on  the premise of "could have, may have, might have, perhaps, maybe, we think, we don't know but", etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I suppose we should all feel some level of comfort that NPS has not begun to trap and shoot us too. At least not yet anyway.

Tight Lines,


Friday, April 8, 2011

Dr. Mike Berry Talks About Hizdishonors, Judge Terrance Boyle's Status Conference

There are many people that fight the fight for beach access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. Over the years, I have come to know many of them and have developed a deep respect for their knowledge and drive to ensure that we can preserve access to our Seashore for generations to come.
One of those people is Dr. Mike Berry, a man who has worked within the same government that seeks to close our beaches, for decades.

Yesterday, Mike attended the status conference held in Judge Terrance Boyle's court relating to access where NPS asked for yet another extension of the decree of forced consent, extending it till November 15th of this year.

What follows is a copy of Dr. Berry's comments regarding this hearing. It made my stomach turn.

Please get involved in this issue and support your right to access this Seashore!

We can win this if we work together to do so.


Yesterday April 7 I attended the consent decree conference held by Judge Boyle in Raleigh. I have attended 3 of the 4 conferences Judge Boyle has held beginning on April 30, 2008. As best as I could determine, there were only three of us in the observer section of the courtroom interested in public access to the national seashore. These formal conferences, among other things, indicate the interests, intentions and underlying objectives of the participants.

Judge Boyle began by saying that the Federal Government (NPS) filed a motion to extend the delivery date of a final ORV Plan from April 1, 2011 to November 15, 2011 and to keep the provisions of the consent decree in place for that extension. The federal attorney rose and confirmed the request for extension to court and emphasized that an extension to promulgate the final (but bureaucratically delayed) ORV Plan is all the government requested.

The Judge asked for a summary of the 2010 bird and turtle resource report. The federal attorney ( in a collegial manner) pointed to SELC attorney indicating she had a chart that reflected the fact the species numbers for the 2010 closure season were very good. Mike Murray then rose summarizing those numbers emphasizing that fledged Plovers (16) and turtle nests (158) were the highest ever reported or the Cape Hatteras National Seashore—(implying that the consent decree was producing significant results and in so doing also indirectly implying pending provisions of the final plan would also produce similar results.)

The Judge asked about visitation statistics to the seashore and Murray indicated that there were over 2 million visitors in 2010 (implying that the consent decree did not adversely affect visitation). Murray did not focus on areas and businesses most affected by closures for example on the Avon or Buxton communities of Hatteras Island.

Judge asked about the number of ORVs on/accessing the seashore. NPS responded that on peak days such as Memorial Day, the ORV numbers were about the same as previous years but packed into much smaller areas. The Judge asked about the future driving permit requirement and then stated that “visitors would have to plan ahead” and would probably not have the required permit to allow them to drive on to the seashore, thus limiting ORVs. The Judge appeared pleased.

The Judge asked if the Federal Government or Interveners wanted any changes to the current consent decree, both said “No”. The Judge granted the extension of the consent decree without change.

In my nearly 40 years of witnessing activities in Federal Court related to environmental policy I have never until yesterday seen the “defendant” deliberately argue the “plaintiff’s” case. The SELC attorney said not a single word, the federal government and interveners gave away/conceded the case (denial of public access).

Yesterday, I witnessed a blatant collaboration between the Federal Government and well funded and politically connected environment activist entities to unnecessary restrict public access to the national seashore. The Federal Government, NPS and the Court, made no attempt to advocate for balanced and reasonable public access to the national seashore. Again, they created a highly restrictive environmental policy through the backdoor, beyond public view.

The stage is now set for justification and validation of the future access restrictions imposed on the public by NPS Alternative F. Without ever arguing the facts (science, economic, legal process) before the public in court, The “Cape Hatters National Seashore Recreational Area” set aside for hard working citizens will soon be transformed into a “National Bird and Turtle Use Area.” Animal species now have priority over humans—and it’s all legal.

NPS won the battle by being sued.

Mike Berry
Chapel Hill, NC


Tight Lines,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A letter to Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service

Jon Jarvis

Director, National Park Service

National Park Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-3818


Dear Director Jarvis,

I am writing you in regard to the recent award presented by your office to Mike Murray, Superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. Mr. Murray recently received the Directors Award for Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship.

The National Park Service (NPS) stated in its press release that Mr. Murray “worked to build trust with local and regional stakeholders and guide his staff to produce a plan that relied on the best available science.”

In fact, Director Jarvis, though this press release may read well and perhaps leaves NPS with a warm feeling of satisfaction, Mr. Murray has accomplished neither of the feats mentioned above.

When Mr. Murray arrived at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA), He was greeted with open arms and hearts and minds full of hope. He was touted by some members of our community, including myself, as a “breath of fresh air” especially having come on the heels of the administration and actions of former CHNSRA Superintendent, Larry Belli; who had already done great damage to the level of trust between this community and NPS.

I will admit that Murray did settle things down somewhat and tempered the anger that was felt by those that visit or live here as I do. His stories of growing up visiting CHNSRA with his family and driving on our beaches relaxed many of us. I can recall during his “meet and greet” meeting at the Cape Hatteras Angler Club located in Buxton, the rousing cheer that arose as he openly told us that he considered ORV access to the Seashore a traditional and important form of access. He also seemed willing to follow the direction of the Congress as he developed per the enabling legislation, important points of egress allowing access to two extremely popular areas on Hatteras Island, Cape Point with the construction of a pass through at “the narrows” and the “spur road” Hatteras Island Spit, also known as “False Point”.

Unfortunately, that’s where the trust in Murray and the NPS ended for the majority of what your agency refers to as local and regional stakeholders.

Our community, which consists of residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands as well as thousands of Americans from points all across this country, the owners of the Seashore, worked with the NPS to develop an “interim management strategy” (IMS) which was vetted and published in the summer of 2007. Although many of the provisions contained within that IMS were clear violations of the enabling legislation (16USC459 sec.4) our community was generally in support of the measures outlined therein.

The trust died for almost all of us as the negotiated rule-making process began in December of that year.

The members of that committee all agreed to refrain from any legal action during the year long process of developing rules for ORV access as required in President Nixon’s 1972 Executive Order 11644, amended by Carter in E.O. 11989 (1977). However, in spite of their required agreement with the Secretary of the Interior, the Audubon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), represented by the Southern Environmental Center (SELC), filed a lawsuit against the NPS in February of 2008 while the negotiated rule-making process was already underway. Of course the plaintiffs argue that they filed in October of 2007 which is in fact a lie. They did file intent to sue, but that; Mr. Jarvis is not a lawsuit.

What was more alarming was that the public was inadvertently notified during the first scheduling conference in the courtroom of one Judge Terrance Boyle, Fourth Circuit, Eastern District of North Carolina, that your agency and the plaintiffs had already begun negotiations regarding the lawsuit which is a clear violation of the Federal Administrative Procedures Act (FAPA); as you are required to publish the fact that your agency intends to enter negotiations with a “Non Governmental Organization” (NGO).

Adding insult to injury Mr. Jarvis is the fact that the plaintiffs were allowed to remain on the negotiated rule-making committee in spite of their gross violation of the requirement set forth by the head of the Interior Department.

As Chief Federal Officer (CFO) during these negotiations, it was Mike Murray’s job and legal obligation to enforce the rules established by Interior and this, he did not do. The result was the complete failure of the entire rule-making process at the expense, and loss, of the American taxpayer and my community.

Is this how the National Park Service defines “developing trust with local and regional stakeholders” Director Jarvis? How can that be stated when your agency could possibly, and probably will, be sued again by DOW, Audubon, and SELC when the “final rule” is published? In fact, that action could come from both sides of the issue…trust?

Mr. Murray has also tossed aside consideration of the Seashore as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) in spite of the fact that the Seashore, its traditional use patterns, traditional culture, and methods of egress to the beaches far exceed the requirements set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act.

Even your agency admits that our traditions began long before the Seashore was established.

Mr. Murray's “plan”, the NPS “Alternative F” found within the 2011 Final Environmental Impact Statement, will also require ORV users to purchase a permit (cost yet to be determined) to pay for the loss of access to miles of beach in support of a new set of “Vehicle Free Areas” which never existed except within some reasonable seasonal closures. The ORV driver will be forced to pay for the proposed parking and facilities needed to support pedestrian only access areas which will cause resentment and user conflict which your own regulations require you to avoid. This is both unfair and unreasonable.

The claim that Murray has used the “best available science” to format his preferred alternative is beyond ridiculous Mr. Jarvis.

The best available science, in fact your own records, show that access to this Seashore, be it by ORV’s or pedestrians has had little or no effect on this resource throughout its history. Not a single study available to either you or me shows that at the Seashore, access, and particularly by ORV, has caused “considerable adverse effects” to the resource. Indeed, it is stipulated within E.O. 11989 that such must be shown before closing a portion of an area to ORV use and yet Murray seeks to close significant and some of the most popular areas of this Seashore to all access on a permanent basis.

Again, Jon Jarvis, I ask, is this how NPS defines trust and best available science?

The NPS continues to rely upon the Voglesong study to justify portions of its plan and yet the peer review of same deemed the study essentially worthless and not worthy of further review.

The NPS has warped the current, incomplete, economic impact study so that no comparison between pedestrian and ORV users can be made and in fact ignored ORV use almost entirely at one of the most heavily used points of beach access, Beach Access Ramp 44, preferring instead to focus on the nearby, albeit considerably less used, Ramp 43.

The NPS blames an ORV for the broken wing of an American Oystercatcher chick (Simon and Shulte) in an area of Hatteras Island where ORV use doesn't exist except by NPS vehicles.

NPS utilizes the United States Geological Survey, Pawtuxet Protocols to justify 1000 meter buffers around the Piping Plover chicks in spite of the fact that no scientific justification supports this distance.

NPS is providing endangered species level protections for an assortment of avian species listed by the State of North Carolina as “species of concern” in spite of the fact that Gordon Meyers, Chairman of the North Carolina Wildlife resource Commission informed your agency that these birds needed no such protection.

NPS lost almost half of the turtle nests laid in 2010 and almost 40% of the nests every year prior because of poor management practice. What started last year as a record year of nesting turned into a record demise. It’s important to remember MR. Jarvis, it’s not the number of nests that matter here, it’s the number of fledged chicks that fly away to become adults and hatched turtles making their way to the sea that make the difference.

Perhaps, Director Jarvis, you should ask yourself why NPS employees are unwelcome in some shops on these Islands. Perhaps you should read the various fishing boards and Island free Press as well as my blog, to find out more about the effects of Mr. Murray's plan.

I’ll give you fair warning, you won’t find trust, but you certainly will find an evisceration of what your service claims as the” best available science” as well as its current proposals, hardly the sign of trust that Murray's assistant, Cyndy Holda claims in her press release.

I would also recommend that you read the enabling legislation of the Seashore, something I can quote verbatim without prompt. Contained within is a very clear directive from the Congress of the United States which requires the NPS to develop this area for recreational use when it is needed, adaptable, and specific to recreation. Furthermore, the Congress forbids NPS to conduct any activity which would derogate from the mission established for this area except and unless NPS has “direct and specific” authorization from congress to do so, to which I might add, you do not have. (16USC459 sec.1a.-1)

Instead of this crippling plan that is by far more detrimental to beach access of all sorts, as well as our local economy which was shaped by years of NPS management and promises (Conrad Wirth, NPS Director), Murray needs follow the law extant and perhaps take a page out of the book of Superintendent Pedro Ramos and NPS Southeast Regional Director David Vela at Big Cyprus, and actually fulfill the mission lawfully established, enacted by congress, and signed into law by the President of this nation.

The unfortunate reality Director Jarvis is that the NPS actions, belated as they are, previous or intended, have taken the community that has enjoyed this resource for decades, in some cases for generations, and turned it upside down without justification and in violation of the very law you purport you are required to follow. All of which has been under Murray's Management.

The other unfortunate reality is that Murray’s plan is incomplete, even to this day. Rife with flawed, non-peer reviewed studies, or like the USGS Pawtuxet Protocols which were in many cases, peer reviewed by its authors, (which incidentally violates USGS peer review protocols) we are faced with a “plan” that will severely impact the economy of these islands already reeling from the NPS negotiated “consent decree”. (NEPA) And in the process, NPS will deny many thousands of visitors to these islands the ability to access our beaches further impacting visitation.

Again, adding insult to injury, and apparently furthering trust (by NPS standards) between the aforementioned local stakeholders, Murray declare that those of us who are completely surrounded by the boundaries of CHNSRA, the residents of the eight villages, are merely visitors to the Seashore.

How can NPS refer to residents of these islands, especially those whose families have resided here since the 17th century, as visitors? These families not only pre-date the establishment of the Seashore, Mr. Jarvis, they pre-date the establishment of this nation.

While it may be true that Mike Murray has earned and garners some sort of recognition for his efforts past, in this instance, developing trust and using the best available science, as purported by your agency, racks up as one more false claim by the National Park Service and reeks of an award given by and driven by agenda rather than merit.

In the end Director Jarvis, Mike Murray seeks to change the mission of the Seashore without authorization from congress and will destroy an economy and way of life in the process. Perhaps instead of giving an award to someone who wantonly violates federal law, you should present an award to those of us that stand for the open access that your agency cannot prove causes harm to our resource.

You graduated from the same school that a cousin of mine attended. He studied under George Wythe. You might have heard of him. He had some issues with oppressive government, as do I. In fact he wrote a short essay, of sorts, about that same issue in 1776 and apparently some people liked it. You could take a page out of his book also and I hope you will.

Mr. Jarvis, I defended Mike Murray as long as I could, and I was assailed all over the Internet for doing so. I can do so no longer, nor have I been able to do this for quite some time.

This resource can be managed sensibly, with sound science, with respect for tradition, providing NPS follows the guidelines for management of this area as established by congress.

It has long been demonstrated that residents and visitors to our beaches care for this resource which explains why your agency still has no need for a line item in your budget to pay for persons to clean these beaches. And yet our beaches are consistently rated one of the top ten beaches in the country.

You see, Mr. Jarvis, we have been taking care of this remarkable place, our home, and have so for generations. And we've managed to do that with free and open access all that time until your agency began to break the law in order to satisfy an agenda.

I hope you will step up and find the courage to defend the law that provides all Americans the ability to recreate on these beaches. After all, I believe it is your moral and legal obligation.

Thank you for your time,
Jeffrey Golding
Buxton, NC

cc. Mike Murray, Cyndy Holda, David Vela, Pedro Ramos, Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Kay Hagan, Rep. Walter B. Jones. And others..

Friday, April 1, 2011

An April Fools Insult From An April Fool

When I first sat down in front of this machine this day, as usual, I went through my usual routine of scanning the news, various tackle shop boards and the email as much goes on in the fight for access these days and it's important to keep up.

Today being the first of April I expected to see some rather silly April Fools statements as I entered the information zone. What I did not expect to find was an article on the National Parks Traveller website mocking those of us who have suffered greatly because of the actions of the National Park Service and a trio of well known environmental groups.

Apparently the author, National Parks Traveller contributor Bob Janiskee finds it amusing that many people have lost jobs, including myself, twice, as a result of the draconian closures that have been established these last, very long, three years. Closures that have come at the height of the visitor season.

Remember, it was the National Park Service that, by in large, shaped the economy of the Islands as they followed the direction of the Congress. The very same economy they now seek to destroy without any thought or consideration to either the residents or visitors, some who have travelled to these shores for generations.

Mr. Janiskee takes it to an entirely new level in his "joke". Apparently he finds it amusing that over 54 businesses on the Islands have been forced to close their doors since these massive closures began. It's obvious also that he doesn't own one of the 400+ homes that are now in foreclosure here. Rather dramatic for a set of islands with an average width of only 150 yards.

The article was brought to my attention by an access warrior that I know only by the name of samsdad. And it appears that his vigilant approach, including a call to Cornell University ended up in this sick "joke" being taken down from the National Parks traveller website. Good Job!

The following is a copy of Mr. Janiskee's humor. (thanks Dap) If this doesn't inspire you to write and call your elected representatives, you probably should see a doctor.

(Written by NPT Contributor Bob Janiskee)

At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a Startling Revelation Forces a Rethinking of Piper Plover Protection

On a breezy afternoon not long ago, birding expert Tim Gallivanter set up his spotting scope, swept his gaze across the beach, and locked his eyes on birds tending nests nearly a fifth of a mile away. Turning to the park ranger at his side, he asked "Are those the birds?"

"Yup," his uniformed companion replied, "and just up the beach there are some more just like them. The 'Beach Closed' signs mark the nesting areas. More birds are due any time now, so we've got lots of extra signs ready to go. Wouldn't want to run out."

Gallivanter, Editor-in-Chief of Birdlife at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was a man on a mission. In recent months National Park Service officials had been steadily losing public support for their battle to prevent hordes of beach-driving ORVers from wantonly destroying vital nesting habitat for endangered piping plovers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Alarmed by this turn of events, the international birding community decided to launch its own high-profile campaign to protect the Outer Banks shorebirds and their precious nesting habitat.

An emergency conclave of leading birders decided that the prestigious Cornell Lab of Ornithology should spearhead the campaign. Birdlife would be the voice of the birders and Tim Gallivanter would be their chief strategist and go-to guy.

Gallivanter immediately booked a flight to Cape Hatteras so he could scope out the situation for himself. "I'd gladly walk the whole way," he said, "if that's what it would take to see piping plovers. I like them almost as much as raptors."

During the walk along the beach, Gallivanter had exchanged small talk with his ranger escort. The world-renowned birder was in high spirits. "Just this morning," he said, " I got an email from an Audubon lobbyist who promised that the ORVers will soon feel the full weight of Audubon's political clout. He said that 'feathers are going to fly.' "No matter how many times I hear that little pun, it always makes me smile."

Gallivanter wasn't smiling now. Peering intently into the spotting scope, he muttered something under his breath, shook his head, and began scribbling in his notebook. "This is not good," he said; "This is not good at all."

"What is it?", the ranger asked. "Do we need to close more of the beach? I've got more signs back in the truck."

"I'm afraid you don't understand," said the grim-faced Gallivanter. "There's been a terrible mistake." I need to talk to your boss. I need to talk to him right away."

Less than an hour later, Gallivanter was ushered into Mike Murray's office. "That didn't take long," said the affable superintendent. "I trust you've enjoyed observing our endangered piping plovers? Cute little buggers, aren't they? The bean counters tell us that each egg produced in those nests costs a million dollars or so in related expenditures and lost tourism. Wonder what that figures out to per pounce?"

"Anyway, Tim, I'm sorry we couldn't let you get any closer to those plovers. Regulations, you know. Heck, I've never seen the darn things up close myself. We've never let anybody but our wildlife biologists see those plovers up close."

It was Gallivanter's turn now. "Mike, I've got something to tell you, and I'm afraid that you aren't going to like it."

"Shoot," said Murray, "running this park is like being nibbled to death by ducks. You might as well go ahead and take a nibble yourself. I doubt there's anything you could say that would make my day any worse than it already is. "

"Wouldn't bet the farm on that, Mike" Gallivanter replied. "Let me make this real simple. There are three things you are going to have to do."

Gallivanter raised his right hand, index finger extended. "First, you need to remove all of those ''Beach Closed' signs."

Finger two shot up next to the first. "Secondly, on behalf of the US government you need to issue a public apology for erecting those signs in the first place. This is just a suggestion, but it might help to placate the ORVers if you were to bulldoze a few more access ramps through those dunes and maybe put in a some comfort stations for them to use when the bluefish are running."

Another finger was extended. "The third thing you need to do is fire your wildlife biologists and hire some new ones that can tell the difference between a sandpiper and a piping plover."

Postscript: Further investigation revealed that the sandpipers were usurping nesting habitat that piping plovers might want to use should any actually decide to nest in the park. It was deemed necessary to get rid of the sandpipers, so a variance permit was acquired and the birds were dispatched by rangers using 12 gauge shotguns. Number 9 shot proved perfectly fine for jump-shooting, whereas 71/2's were needed for pass shooting from pit blinds.

Now isn't that just lovely?

Tight Lines,