Dare County Sheriff's Office update

Bulletin #13 October 12, 2016 10:30 a.m.

Updated Entry Information for Hatteras Island

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation has worked diligently to clear sand and water from NC Highway 12 on Hatteras Island and has indicated that conditions will soon allow for safe travel.

All Hatteras Island volunteer fire departments and emergency service personnel are working closely with Dare County Emergency Management to ensure that the necessary resources and infrastructure are in place in preparation for the arrival of visitors.

Based on current conditions, the Dare County Control Group has determined that visitors will be allowed access to the Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon and Buxton beginning 7 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2016.

Previous restrictions remain in place for areas south of  Buxton Back Road and NC 12 (NC SR 1232 at Cape Hatteras Secondary School), including the villages of Frisco and Hatteras Village. Residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of businesses with proper reentry passes will be allowed access.

It is important for visitors coming to unrestricted villages check with their rental company or accommodations provider to confirm reservations before traveling to the area since some properties were impacted and require repairs. Please be mindful that many residents and businesses of the island have suffered significant impacts and are in the process of recovering so your patience and understanding is truly appreciated.

Once the ferries from Hatteras Village to Ocracoke Island are operational, Hyde County officials have indicated there will be restricted access to Ocracoke Island. There will be no access for visitors to Ocracoke Island until further notice from Hyde County officials. Only those with proper identification as outlined by Hyde County will be allowed access to the ferry dock once ferries are up and running.

Please keep in mind that there is still sand and water on roadways and motorists should proceed with caution. Go slowly through standing water because creating wake will cause damage to vehicles and nearby properties.

CHAPA response to proposed ORV rule

Titled: CHAPA response to proposed ORV rule.

On August 22, 2016 the National Park Service (NPS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (FR Doc.2016-19844) (Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Cape Hatteras National Seashore-Off-Road Vehicle Management).  The public comment period for the proposed rule ends on October 21, 2016.  We urge you to review the proposed changes to the ORV rule and to submit comments.

The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) sent the attached letter to North Carolina Senators Burr and Tillis and Congressman Jones on September 23, 2016 to advise them of our reactions to the proposed rule.  We share this letter with you to aid you as you prepare your comments.   Click here to open or download the September 23 CHAPA letter  

The proposed rule changes were prepared by the NPS as a direct result of the legislation sponsored by our senators and congressman in December, 2014.  CHAPA believes that the proposed changes to the rule will have a favorable impact on access, additional changes are necessary if the legislation is to be viewed as a success.

NPS identified Alternative 2 in Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Consideration of Modifications to the Final Rule for ORV Management Environmental Assessment - February 2016 (EA)as their preferred alternative.  In March, CHAPA commented that the preferred alternative was a good starting point but that additional changes should be incorporated into the Final Rule.

NPS decided none of the changes submitted by CHAPA were warranted.  The proposed rule is essentially the same as the preferred alternative from the EA.  While NPS has reacted to the "letter" of the law, changes reflecting the intent of the law are minimal.

CHAPA believes the recommendations for changes to the preferred alternative we submitted in March remain appropriate as recommendations for changes to the proposed rule and have advised the NPS of our position. The goal of our recommendations is to establish an ORV rule that will both insure resource protection and allow maximum access for both pedestrians and ORVs.

We ask you to review the proposed rule and provide your comments to the NPS.  Your individual participation in the proposed rule comment period is critical to the success of our efforts to improve access at the Seashore.  Click here to open the rule making portalwhere you will be able to read the proposed rule, read comments submitted by others, and submit your comments electronically.

Other Info:

Click here to open or download CHAPA's Original Comments on February, 2016 EA.
Click here to open or download the entire February, 2016  EA in pdf format.

DATES: The public comment period will be open for 60 days. Comments must be received on or before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) on October 21, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN): 1024-AE33, by any of the following methods:

Mail or hand deliver to:  Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401      National Park Drive, Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal, or submitted by mail must be entered, or postmarked, before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments submitted by hand delivery must be received by the close of business hours (5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

Answers to frequently asked questions are available here: https://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/news/16_051.htm.

Green Sea Turtle Incident Update August 23, 2016

Green Sea Turtle Incident Update:

Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) is offering a $2,500 reward on behalf of the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA), and Cape Hatteras Anglers Club (CHAC) for information leading to the identification of the persons responsible for the green sea turtle incident last weekend.

On the morning of Sunday, August 21, Cape Hatteras National Seashore personnel found a severely injured sea turtle on the beach approximately 0.66 miles north of Ramp 32. The sea turtle, identified as a threatened species Green sea turtle, is believed to have come onto the beach some time in the evening, or night, of August 20 in order to lay a nest in the sand. Turtle tracks led from the ocean to the nesting site approximately twenty feet above the high tide line in an off-road vehicle travel area. The injuries to the sea turtle were so severe that the turtle had to be euthanized by National Park Service staff.

If you have information that could help investigators, please call the Dare County Community Crime Line at 800-745-2746 or 252-473-3111. You may also submit confidential tips online at http://darecommunitycrimeline.org/cms/tips.

NPS opens Public Comment Period on Revisions to off-road vehicle use

 

Public Comment Period Opens on Proposed Revision to Existing Special Regulation for Off-Road Vehicle Use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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Date: August 22, 2016 Contact: Michael Barber, 252-475-9032

The National Park Service (NPS) is inviting the public to comment on a revision to the rules for off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The proposal has been published in the Federal Register, and the public has 60 days to review it and submit comments.

The proposed changes include revising the times that certain beaches open to ORV use in the morning, extending the dates that certain seasonal ORV routes are open in the fall and spring, and modifying the size and location of vehicle-free areas (VFAs).

The new proposal would also allow the Seashore to issue ORV permits with more varied time periods than currently exist and would change one ORV route designation to allow pedestrian use of an area on Pamlico Sound without the requirement for an ORV permit.

This process of updating the special regulation that outlines the rules for ORV use was required by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.

“The Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff is committed to providing our local community and visitors from around the world with a variety of opportunities to enjoy this beautiful place in our care,” said Superintendent David Hallac. “Balancing the needs of our visitors and preserving this important national treasure for future generations to enjoy it is our top priority, and these proposed rules can help us accomplish this mission.”

Community input is essential to the development of new regulations, and the public is encouraged to review the draft proposal and send comments that NPS will consider before finalizing the rules. Additional information about the comment period follow.

DATES:  The public comment period will be open for 60 days. Comments must be received on or before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) on October 21, 2016.

ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN):1024-AE33, by any of the following methods:

Comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov, or submitted by mail must be entered, or postmarked, before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments submitted by hand delivery must be received by the close of business hours (5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) October 21, 2016. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a proposed rule for off-road vehicle (ORV) management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore)?

A proposed rule indicates that the Seashore is considering making changes to the existing special regulation that designates ORV routes and other details related to when, where, and how off-road vehicles are permitted to access Seashore beaches.

Why is the Seashore considering changes to its special regulation on ORV use?

On December 19, 2014, the President of the United States signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. The NDAA stated:

“The Secretary shall undertake a public process to consider, consistent with management requirements at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the following changes to the Final Rule:

(1) Opening beaches at the National Seashore that are closed to night driving restrictions, by opening beach segments each morning on a rolling basis as daily management reviews are completed.

(2) Extending seasonal off-road vehicle routes for additional periods in the Fall and Spring if off-road vehicle use would not create resource management problems at the National Seashore.

(3) Modifying the size and location of vehicle-free areas.”

What existing special regulations describe where, when, and how ORVs can access Seashore beaches?

A special regulation, often referred to as the “final rule” was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2012.  That special regulation can be found here.

Where can I receive general information about ORV management and use at the Seashore?

The park currently has a special Off-Road Vehicle webpage with information needed for off-road travel in the Seashore. Click here for more information.

Didn’t the Seashore already evaluate changes through an Environmental Assessment entitled: Consideration of modifications to the final rule for ORV management?  If so, why is there a separate proposed rule?

Yes, the Seashore published this Environmental Assessment in February 2016. That document can be found here. The environmental assessment was completed to fulfill NPS’s requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It included a preferred alternative that described proposed changes and impacts of those alternatives, to the Seashore’s final rule for ORV management. However, a special regulation is required to change existing regulations for ORV use on National Park Service lands. The proposed rule largely describes the technical details that would be required to implement the Seashore’s preferred alternative.

Was the public engaged during the process to prepare the Environmental Assessment?

Yes, the Seashore held five public scoping meetings during August of 2015 and provided a 30-day period during which scoping comments could be provided (7/30-8/21/15).  A public scoping report, summarizing the comments received, can be found here. Using the ideas and information gained during the scoping period, the Seashore developed a range of alternatives, including a preferred alternative (Alternative 2) and released an Environmental Assessment for public comment in February 2016.  At that time, the Seashore provided a 30-day comment period and held another five public meetings in the following locations:  Kitty Hawk (2/26/16), Hampton, VA (2/29/16), Buxton (3/1/16), Ocracoke (3/2/16), and Raleigh, NC (3/3/16). The Seashore has posted a public comment report here. Comments on the Environmental Assessment were reviewed and considered in the preparation of the proposed rule.

Why is there another public comment period on the proposed rule?

The rulemaking process provides for a public comment period.  For more information on that process, click here.

If I have already commented on the Environmental Assessment, do I need to comment on the proposed rule?

Comments received on the Seashore’s Consideration of modifications to the final rule for ORV management Environmental Assessment have been reviewed and considered during the preparation of the proposed rule. However, you are welcome to submit comments on the proposed rule during the 60-day review period and the Seashore will evaluate substantive comments received on the proposed rule when developing the decision and final rule.

What happens after you receive comments on the proposed rule?

The Seashore will evaluate substantive comments received on the proposed rule when developing the decision and final rule. After evaluating comments, the Seashore may make a decision on the Consideration of modifications to the final rule for ORV management Environmental Assessment and proceed with publishing a final rule.

What is a final rule and when would the public see it published in the Federal Register?

The final rule would establish new Federal regulations that describe ORV routes and other details associated with where, when, and how ORVs may access Seashore beaches.  It may be published several months following the Seashore’s evaluation of substantive comments and a decision on an alternative through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

If the Seashore decides to publish a final rule that changes off-road vehicle regulations, when might the public see those changes implemented on the ground?

After publishing a final rule in the Federal Register, the Seashore must wait at least 30 days prior to implementing a final rule.  Implementation of the final rule will occur as soon after the end of the 30-day period as practicable.

What is the overall process for changing the Seashore’s final rule for off-road vehicle management?

  • Implement a public scoping period to solicit ideas on changing the final rule. COMPLETED

  • Prepare and distribute an Environmental Assessment with alternatives for public review. COMPLETED

  • Publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register for a 60-day public comment period. UNDERWAY

  • Prepare a decision for implementing an alternative in the Environmental Assessment. PENDING

  • Publish a final rule in the Federal Register and implement it on the Seashore. PENDING

 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore 1401 National Park Drive Manteo, NC 27954    

Phone:

(252) 473-2111 For general information or inquiries, please contact us via this phone number.

Contact Us

 

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/08/22/2016-19844/special-regulations-areas-of-the-national-park-system-cape-hatteras-national-seashore-off-road#h-14

Feb 23, 2016- A Call to Action to all NCBBA Members

 

This Call to Action is from NCBBA President Harry Nash.

The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Environmental Assessment for Proposed Rule Changes (EA) affecting the Cape Hatteras National Recreation Area  (CHNRA).  In the EA, the NPS present four (4) Alternatives for modification of ORV routes in CHNRA.  Public comments on the EA are due by March 18, 2016.

The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA) encourages you to read the press releases and the documents. You can access the press release, the EA and the Comments area by clicking here. Select the "Open for Comment" button on the left side of the screen to review the EA and submit your comments.

Take note of the 4 Alternatives listed in the EA. They are summarized in Table 1, found on page 51 of the EA.  You should make comments on these Alternatives.

To assist you in this process, click here for "Table 1. Alternatives Summary." Alternative 2 is preferred by the NPS.

To submit your comments, click here. Once the link opens, click the COMMENT NOW button to enter your comments.

Public Meetings will be held and are listed below.  It is very important to you make every effort to attend at least one of these meetins and let your voice be heard.

February 26, 2016, 6 PM-8 PM - Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC
February 29, 2016, 6 PM-8 PM - Embassy Suites by Hilton Hampton Hotel Convention Center & Spa, 1800 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA
March 1, 2016, 6 PM-8 PM - Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hiway 12, Buxton, NC
March 2, 2016. 6 PM-8 PM - Ocracoke School, 1200 Schoolhouse Rd, Ocracoke Island, NC
March 3, 2016, 6:30 PM-8:30 PM - McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman St, NC State University campus, Raleigh, NC      

In addition to attending one of the meetings and making a statement, you should respond with written comments on-line at the NPS website or by USPS to: Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954.  Written Comments must be entered in the NPS website via the link above OR postmarked by March 18, 2016.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail or social media.         

NCBBA will contunue to work with the Superintendent and his staff through the process.
For all NCBBA members, NOW is the time to respond!
This is it.
THE TIME IS NOW!

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NCBBA submitted a list of proposals in August, 2015 via this letter to the CHNRA Superintendent, Dave Hallac:

Mr. Dave Hallac, Superintendent
Cape Hatteras National Recreation Area
1404 National Park Drive
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Dear Dave,

I want to thank you and your staff for the time and effort you all have contributed to improving the relationship between the people and National Park Service. The manner in which the scoping meetings were conducted and the manner in which attendees presented their views proves that things are better on the Outer Banks. On behalf of the 3800+ members of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA), I would like to submit the following comments concerning Changes to the ORV Rule:

1. MORNING BEACH OPENINGS

Open beach segments each morning on a rolling basis as daily management reviews are completed.
Priority Beaches: Ramps 2/4: Ramps 43/44; Ramp 45; Ramp 49; Ramp 72; Open by 6:00 AM Close at 10:00PM.
All Other Beaches: Open at 7:00am, Close at 10:00 PM.
These hours will allow visitors to access the beaches at sunrise and in the cool of the evening. Photographers and fishermen both will benefit greatly from having greater access during these earlier and later hours of low light conditions. Families will be able to enjoy the beaches at first light andpicnic late in the evening. Wildlife watchers will have a greater opportunityto see more birds and mammals.

2. SEASONAL ORV ROUTES:

Extend seasonal off road vehicle routes for additional periods in the spring and fall if off road vehicle use will not create resource management problems at the National Seashore.
Seasonal ORV Routes in front of the Villages: These beaches should remain open in the spring until April 30 and re-open on October 1.
Seasonal ORV Routes not in front of the Villages should be closed on March 31 and reopen on September 1.

3. VEHICLE FREE AREAS:
Potential areas for modification:

Ramp 1:
Reopen as a year round ORV Route to the north to allow access to seasonal beach in Nags Head (permit required) and to the South to Coquina Beach. The ORV Route would end north of the lifeguarded beach. This is one of the original ramps and receives little use as a VFA. Opening this will reduce congestion on beaches at Ramps 2 & 4 and enhance the visitor’s experience. Rest room facilities would be available at Coquina Beach.

Ramp 2 South:
Reopen as a year round ORV route. This will allow 2 means of ingress and egress to the beach between Ramps 2&4. This is a public safety concern. This also will allow ORV users to have access to the restrooms at Coquina and eliminate the need for the hard to maintain porta-john at Ramp 4 which is entirely inadequate. It also eliminates the need to construct proposed Ramp 2.5.
Some of that money could be used to put in another pedestrian boardwalk to the beach in the area where the permit office is located. Signs should be placed to encourage pedestrians to go to that access and Coquina Beach to minimize conflicts between pedestrians and ORV use if the Ramp is clearly “VEHICLE USE ONLY”.

Bodie Island Spit:
Change from VFA to Seasonal ORV. This is an extremely popular fishing location and this change will open it after the summer nesting season.

Ramp 23 North and South:
Change from Seasonal to Year Round Access. This will enhance the visitor’s experience by relieving crowding at Ramps 25 and 27. It will make summer access to ORV users more convenient to visitors staying in Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo.

Ramp 34 North:
Change from VFA to Seasonal ORV. This is an extremely good fishing area and will allow fall use after the summer visitors have left and the nesting season is over.

Ramp 43 North:
Change from VFA to Seasonal ORV Route. This will enhance the visitors experience by reducing the crowded conditions that occur on Ramps 43 and 44 during the summer as resource closures occur. The lifeguard protected beach would remain a VFA and would not be affected by this change.

Ramp 45 East:
Change from from VFA to a Seasonal ORV Route. The areas of Ramps 43-44 are subject to erosion and the Superintendent should have the option of opening an alternate route to the Point.
This would allow for adaptive management with proper resource management practices to ensure the option of having another means of ingress and egress in this area. Resource protection would limit the use of this, but the option should exist as a matter of public safety.

Ramp 45 West:
Change 1.30 miles of VFA to a Seasonal ORV Route. This will allow ORV access by ORV Visitors to a popular fishing area. Change .5 miles at the western boundary from VFA to Year Round Access. This will increase the size of the year round access east of Ramp 49 by .5 miles. This is one of the most popular ORV destinations during the summer for visitors who do not have direct access from their rental homes or motels. This change will ease crowding and enhance the visitor’s experience.

VFA Hatteras Island Spit:
Consideration should be given to making this a Year Round ORV Route. Much of the former spit is under water at the present time but that will change with time as proved at the Bodie Island Spit. It wasn’t long ago that Bodie Island Spit went out to the bridge pilings. A storm a couple of years ago made it an island. It is now smaller in size but no longer an island. To get to the spit one must ride in an ORV along the beach or on the Pole Road to a small parking lot. Since this is not a nesting site it should be designated as an ORV Route in the event of the spit growing in size and being able to accommodate recreational fishermen.

Ramp 59:
Change from VFA to a Year Round ORV Route. There have been no plover fledging in this area. Amoy and CWB can be protected by buffers and ORV corridors.
VFA Ocracoke South Point:
Change to a Year Round ORV Route. ORV use can be controlled by buffers and ORV corridors.

4. ORV PERMITS:

ORV permits should be issued for 14 days to allow for visitors to enjoy long holiday weekends. This would also allow anglers wanting to fish two of the fall tournaments to participate in both on one permit.
12 month Permits should be issued instead of the current annual permit. This can be accomplished by using a windshield permit like the state inspection sticker used in Virginia. The month and year can be easily determined. Please see attachment.
Consideration should be given to a 3 day permit to allow the one weekend a year visitor an opportunity to drive on the beach.
Many National Parks allow Golden Passport holders a discount on camping permits. Consideration should be given to allowing a discount for holders of these on ORV permits.
Changes should be made to the administrative procedures involving the issuance of permits to reduce the administrative cost and to make them available on line on short notice. There should be a printed receipt that is available at time of online purchase good for a limited number of days on 12 month permits to be used until the regular permit is mailed to the individual. Short term permits should be issued on line with info printed large enough to be viewed at a reasonable distance.

5. ADDITIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS;

Coquina Beach: A boardwalk should be constructed at the site of the current Permit Office that would provide easy pedestrian access to the beach at that location.

Ramp 2 should be posted as ORV access only and pedestrian traffic prohibited. Signs should direct pedestrians to the existing beach access boardwalk and the new boardwalk. This will address a public safety issue.

Many have expressed additional sound side access especially on Ocracoke Island. and Bodie Island. Consideration should be given to this.

Recently we discussed the need to improve and make available safer access to Pea Island. I have agreed to contact the Refuge Manager and see
if it will be possible to do this since the legislation establishing CHNS calls for cooperation between the two agencies regarding recreational use of the Pea Island beaches. If this comes to fruition this will allow visitors to safely access 13 miles of VFA only a short drive from the towns north of the Refuge.

The 13 miles of Pea Island Beach should be included as VFA miles for statistical reporting and consideration should be given to including bird populations as well. This area represents a large portion of the seashore and shouldn’t be treated like a “red headed stepchild”.

We thank you for this opportunity and we look forward to working with you on many projects in the future.

Sincerely,

/s/ Harry Nash, President, North Carolina Beach Buggy Association PO Box 186 Nags Head, North Carolina 27959

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For all NCBBA members, NOW is the time to respond! 
This is it.
THE TIME IS NOW!
Harry Nash, President, #6980