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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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Finally, someone in Washington hears us

Friday 29 June 2012 at 3:01 pm

Hatteras and Ocracoke have been buzzing with talk of the stellar performance of West Virginia’s Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, at Wednesday’s hearing in the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The committee took up a dozen Park Service bills, including S 2372, which would overturn the seashore’s final plan and regulation of off-road vehicle use on the beaches.

Manchin seemingly came out of nowhere to take on the Park Service and the environmental groups that have filed lawsuits and continue to push for excessively restrictive regulation on access to the seashore.

Folks on the islands and seashore lovers everywhere are calling the senator a “hero,” a “champion,” and “a knight in shining armor” and sending other accolades his way.

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Ocean Center’s neighbors need to get a grip on reality

Friday 22 June 2012 at 5:16 pm

The Hatteras Island Ocean Center moved a step closer to reality on Monday night when the Dare County Board of commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the Dare County zoning ordinance.

The amendment adds piers to the conditional uses allowed in the C-2 H district.

The ocean center would be located on 1.5 acres of oceanfront property in Hatteras village where the Gen. Mitchell Motel was located before it was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.  The non-profit board that is planning and raising funds for the center also has a contract for a parcel nearby, on the west side of Highway 12, that would be used for parking.

The ocean center also has an eye on three pieces of property to the west of the pier site and on the soundside of the highway. If the board is able to purchase that property, it will be used for walking, launching kayaks and canoes, a skate park, and the educational component of the center, including a nature education and research center, classrooms, and environmental education exhibits.

The scope of the project promises to be a terrific economic boon to Hatteras village and to the southern Hatteras Island.

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Audubon Magazine article really misses the mark

Friday 15 June 2012 at 7:44 pm

in early May, a reporter for Audubon Magazine contacted the Outer Banks Preservation Association by e-mail. The reporter, Anna Sanders, wanted to interview someone from OBPA about the beach access situation at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

OBPA board members decided to pass on the invitation, both because of a pending lawsuit against the National Park Service over the final off-road vehicle plan and regulation and because, well, advocates for more reasonable beach access just don’t trust the environmental groups that have been involved in this issue.

On May 15, Sanders posted a message on my May 4 blog, again trying to find folks to interview for her article.

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Where have you been, Secretary Salazar?

Friday 08 June 2012 at 3:47 pm

Earlier this month, outdoors reporter Eric Burnley wrote a column for the Cape Gazette, which covers the Delaware Capes Region, on the good Memorial Day weekend fishing,

His column was mostly about weekend catches, but at the end of the column, there was a report that caught the eye of some folks who are advocates of more reasonable beach access at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

It seems that on May 29, Burnley attended the launch of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative.

“The Delaware Bayshore Initiative,” he wrote, “is a program that brings together local, state and federal governments along with private citizens and organizations such as Delaware Wildlands, the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited in an effort not just to protect the delicate habitat, but to provide access to the area for fishermen, hunters and nonconsumptive users like bird watchers and kayakers.”

He got to ask the dignitaries who attended some questions.

He asked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar about the restriction of access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Biscayne Bay in Florida and how that fit in with plans to open up more lands and waters for recreational use.

“His reply indicated he was not familiar with either of these areas, but protecting habitat had to be balanced with public access,” Burnley wrote.

Really?

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