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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Park Service leader talks about DEIS comments and outlines the road ahead

Friday 28 May 2010 at 6:42 pm

Cape Hatteras Seashore Superintendent Mike Murray said yesterday at a meeting with reporters that the National Park Service received 31,000 public comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for off-road vehicle rulemaking.

He said about 15,000 of those comments sent by individuals have been accepted by the Park Service and are being catalogued and organized.

Another 16,000 comments, he said, were not accepted, mostly because they were considered bulk e-mails or comments submitted through a third party.

The ground rules for submitting public comment were clear.

Read More

A common sense approach to managing sea turtles

Tuesday 25 May 2010 at 6:28 pm Two Hatteras islanders have gotten together to write a blueprint for the National Park Service’s sea turtle management on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

It’s entitled “Sea Turtle Management – A Common Sense Approach for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.”  The 51-page document was submitted by the Outer Banks Preservation Association as part of its comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for managing off-road vehicles on the seashore.

This is an impressive document.  It is indeed a “common-sense” approach to nesting turtles, and it is well research and documented.

I recommend that you read it.  It’s not nearly as tedious as the sea turtle sections in the DEIS and certainly seems to me to make more sense than the recommendations in the DEIS – and the current sea turtle management practices on the seashore. Read More

Park Service apologizes for confusion over Ramp 23 closing

Friday 21 May 2010 at 3:51 pm The Island Free Press got more than the usual number of letters to the editor when Ramp 23, just south of Salvo, was closed two weeks ago on Friday, May 7, for least tern breeding activity.

Most of those who contacted us were fishing on the beach south of Ramp 23 and were really steamed that the ramp was closed and that they were not notified that it was happening.

The fishermen left on the beach when the ramp was closed had to travel south to Ramp 27 – quite a few miles over a treacherous stretch of beach.

Susan Champion of Montgomery, N.Y., wrote that she and her husband camp in Salvo for two months in the spring and a month in the fall.

“It goes without saying that we have spent many thousands of dollars in the area over that time,” she said. Read More

A national article on beach access that is worth reading

Wednesday 19 May 2010 at 5:38 pm The National Parks Traveler published an article yesterday that you should take the time to read.

It is entitled, “Cape Hatteras National Seashore Dispute Places Birds, Turtles, and Humans on Small Strip of Sand.”

It is actually a rather even-handed attempt to characterize the issue of beach access on the seashore.

And some of the comments by the folks who were interviewed give us a glimpse into our future.

The author, Kurt Repanshek, is listed as the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, which, according to its Web site, was launched in 2005, as “the Internet’s very first site dedicated to covering America’s National Park System and the National Park Service on a daily basis.” Read More

Environmental groups comment on the Park Service’s DEIS

Thursday 13 May 2010 at 11:16 am

The National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Southern Environmental Law Center weighed in yesterday on the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Statement on off-road vehicle management on the Cape Hatteras Seashore.

And they don’t like the Park Service’s preferred Alternative F – one of six scenarios put forward in the document.

So now we know that neither side in the struggle for access to the seashore like what they saw in the 810 pages.

Those who advocate more access for pedestrians and vehicles have said they support none of the alternatives.  Instead they support an alternative put forward by the Coalition for Beach Access.

The environmental groups, on the other hand, do like one alternative – sort of.

Read More

Down to the wire on DEIS comment – and comments on special birds, refuges, and campfires

Friday 07 May 2010 at 2:46 pm Yesterday, my good friend Cathy Burrus called me about making a comment on the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement on regulating ORVs on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Cathy attended the Park Service’s public comment meeting and she had a copy of the Coalition for Beach Access “DEIS for Dummies.”

But with only five days before public comment ends, she was suddenly panicked about what exactly to say.

I gave her the advice that beach access groups are giving at their workshops on how to make public comments.

They are saying to stick to the facts and refrain from emotional outbursts.  And they are advising that folks pick out a couple of issues that matter most to them and address their comments to those issues. This is an easier approach than trying to grapple with the hundreds of issues that are covered in the 810-page DEIS.

Cathy nailed it and wrote her comments – and so can you.

She chose the size of buffers, access for those who are elderly or disabled, and the socio-economic impacts of the extensive closures.

It wasn’t so hard, she said.

Now you must follow Cathy’s example. Read More