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Congressman Making Run To Jettison Off-Road Vehicle Rules At Cape Hatteras National Seashore


A congressman from North Carolina is making a bid to have the off-road vehicle regulations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore tossed out. NPT file photo.

It may be “back to the drawing board” for off-road vehicle rules at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Back in February North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. introduced a bill to void the latest “final rules” regarding pedestrian and ORV use on the seashore. After extensive recent public comments and years of legal wrangling, those final National Park Service rules were announced on January 23 and took effect February 15.

Proponents of Rep. Jones' legislation have named H.R. 4094 the “Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act.” If passed, the legislation would roll back management of ORVs and pedestrians to the regulations that were in place under the Interim Protected Species Management Act issued by the National Park Service in 2007.

The bill also would permit future restrictions under the Endangered Species Act, “based on peer-reviewed science and after public comment.” But it would also constrain managers’ choices, requiring that future closures under the Endangered Species Act may “only restrict, by limitation, closure, buffer, or otherwise, pedestrian and motorized vehicular access ... for the shortest possible time and on the smallest possible portions” of the Seashore.

The Act would also require that Cape Hatteras’ restrictions be “no greater than” those in place “for that species at any other National Seashore,” and that pedestrian and vehicular corridors be designated “of minimal distance on the beach or interdunal area around closures implemented” ... “to allow access to areas not closed.”

Passage of the proposed bill would specifically eliminate and make non applicable the recent “final rule” Off-Road Vehicle Management (77 Fed. Reg. 3123-3144), and the consent decree of April 30, 2008.

In March the bill was referred to the House's Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law.

On Wednesday a petition campaign was launched by the North Carolina Conservation Network in association with the Southern Environmental Law Center. The group’s petition urges North Carolinians to contact their federal legislators to oppose the bill.

The groups’ e-mail stated that, “The good news is, after an extensive review process the NPS has released a plan to limit off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras. The bad news is U.S. Representative Walter Jones introduced a bill, that would circumvent the NPS’ off-road vehicle management plan and allow for ORV use across the entire park putting nesting sites for sea turtles and rare shorebirds in danger.”

Similar legislative efforts to overturn park management plans have resulted in the past after public comment periods. In 2008, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, both of North Carolina, offered similar legislation to overturn ORV regulations contained within a consent decree that settled a lawsuit over the seashore's lack of ORV regulations. In defending her legislation, Sen. Dole testified before the committee that her constituents were suffering undue economic hardships as a result of the consent decree.

Under that consent decree, the seashore's staff greatly restricted off-road vehicle travel and limited pedestrian travel to protect nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. Opponents of the decree, though, claimed it was over-reaching what reasonably was needed and that the economy that depends on Cape Hatteras was tanking.

Another attempt, also unsuccessful, was made in 2009 to reject the temporary ORV regulations contained in the consent decree.

In its February 2012 final rules announcement, the National Park Service said the rules designate, “ORV routes and authorizes ORV use within the Seashore in a manner that will protect natural and cultural resources, provide a variety of safe visitor experiences, and minimize conflict among users.” The announcement stated that “in general,” ORV use was prohibited off road unless specifically permitted and that an ORV permit would be required.


There are so many holes in this whole ORV management story It makes me sick...
You have the proposal by Rep Jones that wants the clock turned back...
You have the fact that the NPS is allowed to add a fee for use to one specific group and use the fees collected to give an alternate group more access even though they do not take advantage of the access they already have.
The NPS is allowed to restrict access to a specific group while charging them a fee for the possibility of access without providing access to all that are charged. The new limitations will restrict and constrict the users of the beaches in Hatteras to the point of a VA beach or similar. Not to mention that the promised parking lots and access Ramps have to pass through so much red tape that they like the bonner bridge will never be built (or Rebuilt). The NPS should have been forced to delay the release and implemintation of these new rules until they had ALL the pieces in place and not just the restricting ones.
See these two signs seen on the beaches and this is a more accurate picturee of what you can expect to find when you attend these once great beaches...
Special thanks to the SELC, Audubohn, and Defenders as well as the DOI and NPS...

This bill has the support of several members of Congress from NC and surrounding states, including the current House Majority Whip. The petition campaign has also garnered nearly 20,000 signatures to date. 

Many people have been spurred into action due to the fact that many of the areas set up in the Final Rule that were supposed to be Pedestrian-only "Vehicle Free Areas" are marked with signs instructing you to "Walk in the water only", and to "Leave No Footprints Behind".

Kind of hard to enjoy your vehicle-free day at the beach with either young or old family members who must stay knee-deep in the surf and never touch dry sand.

This movement is going away any time soon. In fact, it's just getting started. 

The dots at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area are now connected:
Eliminate the vehicles and nesting increases.
Eliminate the people and nesting increases.
Eliminate the dogs and nesting increases.
Eliminate the kites and nesting increases.
Walk only in the water and nesting increases.
Kill all the predators (animals and birds) and nesting increases.
Hey, if the weather helps us out, nesting increases.

Now lets charge a nice permit fee ($120/calendar year- $50/week) and make it inconvenient to obtain (In person only at 3 locations 50 miles apart) and maybe that will help complicate
things more.

Do it all at the same time and nobody can say what really caused anything. Not that it matters.
We are making Audubon, DOW, Southern Environmental Law Center Attorneys Happy and Wealthy as they continue to sue us, the FederalGovernment, in the name of Conservation.

The DOI and NPS are systematically removing us from the lands they manage. Look at a few of the lawsuits and public issues before DOI and NPS over ......uranium mining in AZ, oyster farming in Point Reyes,CA,snowmobiles in Yellowstone, MT, ORV on Big Cypress, FL, oil pipelines in NE, the right to gather on the 4th of July at Yorktown Victory Center, VA.

Those of you in Texas: Padre Island will now have a reduced speed limit due to the final rule at Cape Hatteras.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area will become the boilerplate for NPS rules.........Those plovers and turtles came in handy, didn't they ???

Wake up America and have your Congressman co sponsor Mr. Jones bill #4094. Ms. Feinstein (CA), Mr. Harris (MD), Mr. Rigell (VA), Mr. Cantor (VA)........can you see whats happening in your home state and all across America?


This bill is a ridiculous pander to special interests: ORV manufacturers and riders -- a very vocal minority that cares nothing for the land their usage irretrievably damages.

This bill is a ridiculous pander to special interests: ORV manufacturers and riders -- a very vocal minority that cares nothing for the land their usage irretrievably damages.




1.) To date, there have been no ORV manufacturers involved in any pro-ACCESS litigation concerning CHNSRA. (No tobacco companies, big oil, or The Heartland Institute either)

 In point of fact, ORV manufacturer Toyota is a big financial contributor to none other the National Audubon Society, who in actuality represent the anti-access contingent in this affair.


2.) The 2007 NPS "Interim Plan" that preceded the Final Ruling of this year issued a "FONSI" on beach driving, an acronym that means "Finding of No Significant Impact", so your above statement is not only greatly exaggerated and misleading, it is an outright falsehood.


3.) It is also in extremely poor taste to claim that an entire segment of society "care(s) nothing for the land" simply because they choose to reach their beach destinations via ORV.

I am confused are you speaking of the thousands of signs and miles of string and posts the NPS put on the beaches or possibly the tons of trash not able to be picked up by the users of Cape Hatteras?
according to WIKIPEDIA... you are a special interest group...
"A Special Interest Group (SIG) is a community with an interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge, learning or technology where members cooperate to effect or to produce solutions within their particular field, and may communicate, meet, and organize conferences. They may at times also advocate or lobby on a particular issue or on a range of issues but are generally distinct fromAdvocacy groups and pressure groups which are normally set up for the specific political aim; the distinction is not firm however and some organizations can adapt and change their focus over time."
please note the signs I attached pictures of are on VFA beaches (Vehicle Free Area)
Seems the NPS at Point Reyes are not the only ones being questioned on Scientific study falsification...
Protocols were peer reviewed - or not
Seems our esteemed Government is not able to accurately cover up its own fabrications.

And here we go.  Knew it wouldn't take long!

Some of us do not accept for face value what the NPS is selling and that is hard for those that do to understand. Check everything, because I assure you they did not and half the time did not have the resources available to do the work they claimed.PS Old Ranger some of us believe in something that is worth fighting for, where as some just sit back and point fingers!

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