Cape Point news: NPS reports early bird nesting taking place
From Cape Hatteras National Seashore Director Dave Hallac:
Spring of 2017 is shaping up to be an early shorebird nesting season. You may have heard that Cape Point is going to close down to ORV access tomorrow morning due to American oystercatcher nesting.
Cape Point will be open tomorrow and for as long as it can be using the wildlife buffers that were modified during the summer of 2015.
A pair of American oystercatchers is in the process of setting up a nest near the point. The buffer for oystercatcher nesting activity is 150 meters. When we modified the buffers, we included the ability to place a driving corridor in front of the nesting areas so that vehicles could pass through and access open areas. Consequently, a vehicle corridor will be implemented in front of the nesting oystercatchers tomorrow morning. When this is completed, both ramps 43 and 44 and the entire bypass road will be fully open to ORVs and pedestrians. Once you drive south of where the new bypass road exits onto the beachfront, the beach will still be open for several hundred meters to the south.
Eventually, there will be a no-stopping vehicle corridor that brings you to the tip of Cape Point. There will be room for several dozen vehicles to spread out in the open area.
We are evaluating the implementation of a second vehicle corridor that would go to the west and keep the end of the south beach portion of the ORV route open. We're checking on the status of a second pair of oystercatchers tomorrow morning and we'll implement the westward corridor if the nesting activity for the second pair stays far enough to the west.
Access to Cape Point is very important to everyone. I drove to the Point today to o
bserve the oystercatcher nesting activity and discuss management options with staff. I can assure you that our staff will do everything they can, consistent with the modified wildlife buffers, to maximize access.
Additionally, there are also over 40 miles of drive-able beaches open for ORV access through April 14.