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.
220 baby Opossum (called kits)
5 Gray Fox
9 Red Fox
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
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.