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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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The new normal: Where we can drive and where we cannot

Monday 30 January 2012 at 5:00 pm

My son was here this past weekend to help me with cataract surgery.  On Saturday, the day after the surgery, the day was sunny and unseasonably warm, so we took a late afternoon drive on the beach.

We made our last trip by vehicle from Ramp 49 in Frisco to Cape Point.

It’s a favorite beach “tour” for many islanders and visitors.  It’s about 5 miles from Ramp 49 to Ramp 44 north of Cape Point.  As usual, we stopped along the way to get out and walk, do some shelling, watch the dolphins frolicking in the breakers and the birds that were everywhere.

We got to the Point just about sunset and watched the sun sink into the western horizon and the sky turn bright colors of pink and orange.

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The seashore's off-road vehicle rule is now final

Friday 20 January 2012 at 7:53 pm

The National Park Service today released to the public the final off-road vehicle rule for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The rule will be published Monday, Jan. 23, in the Federal Register and will become effective on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The long-awaited, much anticipated, and hotly debated final ORV rule had no surprises or significant changes from the proposed regulation, released for public comment last July.

The final rule established permits for ORV use on the beaches, but it doesn’t address – and wasn’t expected to include – the information that the public is anxiously waiting for – the cost of the annual or weekly permits.

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We are not alone

Thursday 12 January 2012 at 5:07 pm Last month, Kurt Repanshek, founder and editor of the National Parks Traveler website, posted a column that was titled, “Reader Participation Day: Why Are National Parks So Controversial?”

“When I first started the Traveler back in '05,” he wrote, “I never expected some stories about the National Park System to be so controversial.”

“Who thought the snowmobile issue in Yellowstone National Park would still be slogging on, a decade and more than $10 million since it first arose back in 2000? And would anyone think that some birds and turtles would be such a hot-button topic at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.”

Repanshek went on to write that he figured writing about national parks would be “relatively safe, a continuing series of feel-good stories about some of the most gorgeous and interesting (culturally and historically) places in America.”

“But instead it seems there is controversy (not to mention firebrand politics!) lurking in every nook and cranny of the park system,” he says and asks readers why they think that is the case.

Controversy and politics are issues we’ve become increasingly familiar with here at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore as the effort to formulate an off-road vehicle management plan has dragged on and on for decades.

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