Today I was alerted to a post by the infamous Ted Williams who wrote the rather nasty "Beach Bums" article about the visitors to, and residents of the Seashore which was filled with general accusations, various other somewhat slanderous statements and skewed data which angered many of us and resulted in a tremendous uproar across the Internet.
Mr Williams has apparently had a full dose of the Audubon kool-aid and has attacked us again by publishing an Audubon press release. As it's his blog, he is responsible for it's content and accuracy.
So I'll welcome you to the Land of NO with this picture though it goes well beyond this. Already NPS has posted miles of signs and string. Strangely, the PVC posts that they installed all over the place last fall are now missing which leads me to the conclusion that NPS already knew what sections of the Seashore they were going to close, denying all access, even before this season began.The prospective gets worse when you begin to realize that WE had to pay for these markers to be installed TWICE as it is obvious that the PVC was placed only to facilitate the placement of the bird use areas, then removed, and probably thrown away like the 4500 signs were after the 2010 nesting season.
The nails, are presumably, to prevent this guy from having a decent meal.
Nothing like giving wildlife a hand, right? Oh that's right, I forgot. It's NPS policy to kill thousands of animals to protect a few. including turtles who I seriously doubt could out run a Plover, Tern, Cyndy Holda, or even a dead chicken.
So anyway, the infamous Mr, Williams posted a plea for help on his blog. And this was my response.I tried to publish it but apparently Ted has no taste for reality when it comes to issues related to the Seashore as of my last attempt, I was unable to put it out for his readers to see. He was made aware that it would be put out here. So without further ado,
I write in reply to this article as it was brought to my attention by a friend, who like myself, cares a great deal about Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, its purpose, it’s wildlife and access to this area.
I realize that you aren’t the author but you did choose to repost it and share it with your community. This includes, of course, your choice to submit your “Beach Bums” article from years ago. As such, you are in effect, responsible for the content and that is what I choose to take to task this day.
I wonder though, will you allow it to be published and remain for all to see? I would hope so as to delete what follows would undermine your integrity to a great extent.
As a writer, you are, of course always able to express your opinions as do I. But each of us has a responsibility to strike a balance between opinion and fact rather than to distort reality in favor of an opinion.
I am one of your so called “Beach Bums”. In fact, I live within sight of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and can see it from where I sit this moment. I am also part of a community that is proud that our beaches have been rated within the top ten in the nation for years on end and are consistently described as pristine; in spite of your claims made years ago. In fact, as a community, we are also very proud that our beaches are user maintained and that to this day, the National Park Service has no need for a crew to clean this Seashore, unlike a host of other areas in this country. In fact, many areas that are heavily populated by Piping Plovers, mechanical devices similar to combines are used to remove garbage left behind. Not here on Hatteras or Ocracoke, because there is no need.
So, let’s get into the “meat” of the issue and discuss some facts. Again I realize that you didn’t write the article you posted, (excepting “Beach Bums” so please don’t take this personally.
In 2007, a container holding perhaps thousands of ceiling fans fell of a ship and the some thousands of cubic yards of styrofoam washed up on the beaches of Hatteras Island, predominantly around Cape Point. NPS came to local businesses asking for help to clean it up because of course, they don’t have a beach cleaning crew. Nor in fact, did any NPS employees engage in an attempt to rid the beaches of this incredible mass of trash. It was however, cleaned up by the “Beach Bums” within a day. Did the Audubon Society offer to help, DOW, or SELC?. No. That’s ok, we “Beach Bums” didn’t need to be asked or need the help anyway. It’s what we do all the time.
So let’s go to the article you posted and have a hard look…something that the government is required to do as they begin to make policy decisions. It’s part of the “hard look” doctrine and official U.S. government policy as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
First of all, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is not a “park”. Though there are plenty of “parks” managed by the NPS, this isn’t one of them. There are many distinctions involving areas managed by NPS, with many titles and various purposes which can generally be located within “The Organic Act”. Do the research.
Secondly, the claim that federal law has mandated a driving regulation at the Seashore is false. Two executive orders were issued, one in ’72 (Nixon, 11644) and again in ’77 (Carter, 11989) which directed NPS to promulgate regulations for vehicle access to areas managed by NPS. To claim these are federal law is tantamount to proclaiming the President of the United States a King or dictator. This opinion has been upheld by the Supreme Court as the president has no constitutional authority to write law. That is a privilege granted only to congress.
The claim that vehicular access to the beaches is harming nesting turtles, young turtles, nesting birds, chicks, etc is nothing short of disingenuous. Since 1952, when the Seashore was established, NPS records show that less than 3% of all harm to wildlife can be attributed to human activity and that 100% of all Piping Plover (charadrius melodus) mortality has been due to storms and/or predation.
The sea turtle nesting information is misleading as well. Though DOW, Audubon, SELC, and the NPS want people to believe that the increased restrictions on driving and pedestrian use of our beaches is responsible for increased nesting, what they fail to tell you is that 2010 was a record nesting year for turtles throughout the eastern seaboard. What they fail to publish openly, is that because of NPS management policy, in an average year since 1979, 37% of all turtle nests on the Seashore are lost to storms and/or predation. Not one due to human activity. And 2010, “the record year” NPS lost 47% of all the nests and did manage to cripple the economy of Hatteras Island, hardly something to brag about.
What they also fail to explain is that the increased numbers of turtle nests are the result of more female turtles finally maturing after some (according to turtle biologists) 25-30 years at sea. As they come back to the same beaches upon which they hatched, these turtles hatched on beaches that were well travelled by vehicles, and survived. Don’t forget to mention that there is no record of a hatchling ever having been run over in the entire 70 year history of the Seashore.
The statement that vehicle use is allowed on most of the Seashore is also false as it does not include Pea Island, nor does it account for seasonal and resource closures which for the last four years have accounted for over 70% of our beaches being closed to all access at one time, and for months.
The claim that the new NPS rule actually increases visitor access to the Seashore is an outright lie. You can’t shut people out of a significant portion of this area and claim you increased access. That would be tantamount to me taking all of the money out of your wallet and then claiming you still have more in there than I took. I live here; I see the empty motels and rental houses. I see the empty road. (we only really have one considering the average width of the islands is only 150 yards)
It’s hard to believe that people actually believe these statements spewed forth by Audubon et.al. And it’s even more difficult to believe that people choose to take this tripe as gospel without ever bothering to check the facts.
The people of these islands have weathered many a storm and we will make it through this one too with the taste of victory in our mouths if only because we have managed to restore responsible access to the Seashore directed by congress to be dedicated for recreational purpose.
Though I have doubts as to whether you will let this post stay, for the record, it will be published on my blog. www.wheatseyeonhatterasislandnc.blogspot.com
In the future, I hope you take the time to check your facts and put them into prospective.
Ted's post can be found at: