Island Free Press - Editor's Blog by Joy Crist
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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!
Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!
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Latest CommentsSalvo Jimmy (The Long And Tort…): I can see the point of the Mirlo owners, BUT, some of us who knew the topography and history of the …
Bud (The Long And Tort…): As a Rodanthe resident, I can assure you that the S-turns is still a hot spot for surfing. It is even…
Dave (Update on the Con…): An observation. Any effort is appreciated. A sidecaster dredge like the Merritt will provide littl…
diver531 (The Long And Tort…): Ok … I gotta say this …just because those people don’t live there doesn’t make them any different fro…
JimM (The Long And Tort…): Ask any sufer if the S-Turns is a hot spot to surf anymore. The answer is no because there is now a b…
diver531 (Update on the Con…): There should be easier ways to get things done than the ridiculous bureaucracy that has to have their…
One of the claims is that the black skimmer population on the seashore in 2007 was zero.
That could be true, and there’s no argument from me that shorebirds on all of the North Carolina coast – and probably all of the southeast coast – are losing habitat to development.
But are they losing habitat to ORVs?
So far, there has been no scientific proof of that.
Let’s look more closely at black skimmers. Read More
That editorial is entitled “Washington leaps into Hatteras fight.”
Never mind, that it’s not even news since Washington has been involved in the “fight” since last year. Just read it.
I wrote that advocates of beach access should not waste time beating up on the county, bashing the federal judge who signed off on the consent decree that ended a lawsuit by environmental groups against the National Park Service, or trying to get legislation passed in Washington to overturn the consent decree.
I said that those who favor continued access to America’s first national seashore should instead focus their efforts on a draft Environmental Impact Statement and preferred alternative on access to the park. Park officials have said that the DEIS should be ready this fall and that there will be public meetings and a 60-day public comment period.
Some of you didn’t like that and suggested I was advocating that we all sit back and do nothing from now until the end of the year.
I advocated nothing of the sort. Read More
That has certainly happened on my last blog, titled “Don’t beat up the county about beach access – there are better ways to spend our time.”
And that is good.
To set the record straight, I certainly am not putting down the current effort to get folks involved in the process of ORV rulemaking.
However, I believe that the organizing and fundraising effort should start now to gear up for the public comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement and preferred alternative for the rule. And eventually to address the final rule in the courts, if that is necessary.
Others who have posted on the blog disagree.
And that is their right, of course. Read More
They came to speak at the meeting’s public comment period about the beach access issues on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Twenty-five folks stepped up to the microphone to comment.
The comment period went on for more than an hour, and the commissioners listened to each speaker patiently and with respect.
It is terrific that all of these people are making such an effort to be informed and to speak out on the beach access issue -- and especially last year’s consent decree that settled a lawsuit by environmental groups about the lack of an off-road vehicle plan on the seashore. Read More
The National Weather Service had posted a severe thunderstorm watch, and radar showed big blobs of red – storms across the sound. The thunder echoed as the sky grew darker, and the system moved west toward Hatteras.
Then the storms came and went – with little of the stormy part. Only a little over a tenth of an inch of rain was measured in Frisco. There were only a few impressive claps of thunder. And, according to the National Weather Service, the wind never gusted higher than 26 mph from the west.
But something even more impressive happened as the dark and foreboding gust front passed over the island.
The sky turned from black to almost navy blue, and then light became greenish, pink, and other colors, casting a strange glow over the landscape.
Next two rainbows appeared – one very bright and one just a little more subdued.
Lynne Foster said that on her street in Hatteras village, the residents poured out of their homes with digital cameras to capture the sight.
“It was a really neat community event,” Foster said. Read More
And, for the first time in quite some months, the committee and county officials were energized and hopeful that the effort to build a replacement for the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet might move forward.
The committee had a teleconference with Jim Trogdon, North Carolina Department of Transportation’s chief operating officer, and other members of the DOT staff.
“We have concurrence on the merger team, and we are moving ahead,” Trogdon said.
He also noted that DOT has “more confidence that we have the right consensus and are headed in the right direction.”
The merger team consists of several dozen representatives of local, state, and federal agencies that have a stake in the bridge replacement project and the problems with Highway 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.
“The merger team,” he told the group, “has agreed on a replacement for the Bonner Bridge and is still working on options for the highway south of Pea Island, and especially at the entrance to Rodanthe.”
The team, he said, agrees that the replacement will be a parallel bridge to the west of the current bridge. It will be 2.7 miles long and will cost about $300 million – money that the state already has in its budget. Read More
You may agree with the actions he takes or the direction in which he takes the seashore – or you may not. Some think Murray is held hostage by the Department of Interior solicitors who have more to say than he does about the management of the seashore – especially after environmental groups filed a lawsuit over off-road vehicle access on the seashore in 2007.
But the fact remains that this man is accessible by phone and by e-mail, really seems to endorse transparency in park actions, and has remained calm and patient despite all the grief that has come his way since he took over as superintendent in December, 2005. Indeed, he has been squeezed by ORV access groups, environmental groups, lawyers, business people, residents, and who knows who else, and he always remains poised, answering questions – some quite ill-informed -- with respect and as much detail as he can.
Granted that this is his job, but I think, he is good for the seashore.
Murray has been meeting with local reporters in “media roundtables” since the beginning of his administration in the park. We meet about three or four times a year. Sometimes he calls us to meet, and sometimes we call him to remind him it’s time to meet.
Sometimes, there’s a lot on his agenda and on ours. Sometimes, not. Read More
That’s fewer than 10 miles on the island’s more than 50 miles of shoreline.
And much of the beach that is closed to ORVs is also closed to pedestrians.
These are resource closures – areas that are closed to protect nesting shorebirds and colonial waterbirds.
The northern end of Hatteras – about 13 or so miles – is part of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and is off limits to ORVs all year.
The beaches in front of the villages are closed to ORVs as part of the usual summer safety closures to protect pedestrians.
Ramp 23 south of Salvo was closed yesterday for breeding least terns. Read More