Shooting The Breeze


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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The public has spoken on the DEIS, and they don’t like it

Friday 30 April 2010 at 1:13 pm

The National Park Service invited the public to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on its off-road vehicle plan at a series of five meetings this week.

They came and they spoke.

They spoke solidly in favor of more access than the Park Service is proposing in its preferred alternative, Alternative F, in the DEIS.

They overwhelmingly disliked the proposed alternative and gave their reasons in great detail.

About 800 people attended five Park Service meetings on the Outer Banks and in Raleigh, N.C., and Hampton, Va. Some 220 comments were received at the meetings.

Not one speaker favored Alternative F.

Read More

An important week for beach access advocates – and other notes

Friday 23 April 2010 at 7:40 pm The week of April 26 will be an important one for all who support access to the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The National Park Service is conducting a series of public meetings on the Outer Banks and in Raleigh and Hampton at which the public can speak or submit written comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on off-road vehicle management on the seashore.

Don’t let the title of the document mislead you.  This DEIS is not only about ORV access to the seashore. It will set the framework for not only for ORV access to the beaches but also where you can walk, fish, surf, kiteboard, or just about anything else on the seashore.  It will affect drivers and pedestrians.

And it is important that all of us make our comments on the Park Service’s preferred alternative, which spells out many of the details the proposals for access. Read More

DEIS for Dummies

Wednesday 14 April 2010 at 9:06 pm Everyone has seen the “for dummies” books.  Various Web sites say the series began in 1991 with “DOS for Dummies,” and, as of last year, there were about 1,700 “dummies” titles. These days there is even “,” which features videos for dummies.

I don’t know about you, but I bought several of those books years ago when I was trying to figure out personal computers and the Internet.

Now, the good news for us is that the Coalition for Beach Access has produced its version of “DEIS for Dummies.” Read More

A pet peeve about the DEIS on off-road vehicles on the seashore

Friday 09 April 2010 at 5:43 pm I have a pet peeve about the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement on its off-road vehicle management plan.

My peeve is that it is impossible to understand how pets on the seashore beaches will be regulated under the plan.

 Depending on where you look, you will find widely varying statements on regulations of pets under Alternative F, which is the Park Service preferred option.

The statements from section to section, chapter to chapter, and table to table are all over the board when it comes to where and when you can take your pet – probably your dog – to the seashore beaches.

Let’s start on the Table 8: The Summary of Alternative Elements.  This table is included in the executive summary in the Roman numerals at the beginning of the DEIS and again in the main body of the DEIS. Read More

They are showing us the science? Part Two

Wednesday 07 April 2010 at 3:53 pm In my March 26 blog, I wrote about the U.S. Geological Survey protocols for managing threatened and endangered species at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and whether these documents were peer reviewed according to the agency’s guidelines.

The USGS and, I presume, The National Park Service still insist that the protocols, which recommend buffer zones for nesting shorebirds, were peer reviewed.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the USGS has not followed its own guidelines for peer review on this document, which was recently “re-issued” with no changes last month.

Sandy Semans, editor of The Outer Banks Sentinel, took over where my March 26 blog left off.

She was particularly interested in the unnamed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and managers on Pea Island who were cited as peer reviewers.

Semans sent follow-up questions to A.B. Wade, USGS Eastern Region communications chief, and to several USFWS employees, including David Rabon, who was a named peer reviewer. Read More

It is your time to speak up on beach access

Friday 02 April 2010 at 10:17 am

This is a recent e-mail from an Island Free Press reader:

What type of comments do you think would have the greatest impact? Maybe stories of what Hatteras Island and the beach mean to people, or more along the lines of numbers and stats?

This question from Jessie McAninch has been typical of inquiries from readers since the National Park Service released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on off-road vehicle rulemaking on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The public comment period on the DEIS opened March 12 and will remain open until May 11.

But for the average islander, off-island property owner, or lover of the seashore who vacations here every year, making sense of the intimidating 810-page report crammed full of charts and graphs and alternatives for access is intimidating.

And well it should be.

Read More