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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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Park Service reporting on beach access – what works for you?

Friday 28 June 2013 at 4:35 pm

Summer is here.  You can tell by the return of visitors, traffic on Highway 12, the southwest wind with heat and humidity and the chance of thundershowers each day.

It’s good to see the folks here again.

Of course, this is also high season for visiting turtles and shorebirds that are busy nesting on our beaches.  And that brings with it, more closures of beaches, not just to ORVs but also to pedestrians.

Right now, there is a lot of real estate at the seashore closed to ORVs.  Only about 8 miles are open to vehicles on Hatteras and Ocracoke and about two miles on Bodie Island.  All of Buxton is shut down to ORVs.

However, the good news is that, by all reports, the ramps that are open are not terribly crowded yet and haven’t come close to reaching their carrying capacity.

There are also areas that are closed to pedestrians because of resource protection.

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Inconvenient Truths

Friday 21 June 2013 at 4:07 pm

The Southern Environmental Law Center, Audubon North Carolina, and Defenders of Wildlife need some new writers – or at least some new ideas -- for their press releases.

They have been issuing the same release for at least five years now, even though it has been noted here and in other publications that their storyline is not exactly truthful.  That’s about the most polite way I can say that they are stretching and exaggerating the facts to suit their view of off-road vehicle policy on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

When the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved an amended bill that would overturn the Park Service’s ORV plan and final rule at the seashore, they dusted off the same press release, put a new paragraph at the top, and sent it out – apparently to selected media outlets.  Island Free Press has asked to be added to that list, but we still do not get the releases.

Sorry to have to bore you again with the comments of Julie Youngman, Jason Rylander, and Walker Golder, but here is what the three had to say about the Senate committee’s action.

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More than just a circle of stones

Friday 14 June 2013 at 3:54 pm

In 1999, the National Park Service moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse about 2,900 feet to the southwest to protect it from the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.

Moving the lighthouse along a track for that distance was called “The Move of the Century.” It was an engineering feat of historic proportions and was covered by media from around the world and watched by up to 15,000 lighthouse fans each day during June and July of 1999.

Moving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from its historic setting next to the sea was vehemently opposed at the time by some Hatteras islanders, who felt there were other steps that could be taken to stave off the shoreline erosion.

Since then, islanders, even those who were opposed to the move, have accepted it and have gotten used to seeing the tower in its new location a half mile inland in a forest of scrub pine and myrtle bushes.

After the lighthouse was moved, the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society paid almost $12,000 to have original granite stones from the lighthouse foundation – stones that were cut away to prepare for the move – engraved with the names and dates of all of the keepers of the Hatteras light.

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Despite the challenges, Hatteras and Ocracoke are open for business

Friday 07 June 2013 at 5:35 pm

We face transportation challenges on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, but we are open for the summer season.

Highway 12 is clear and the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry is running, even with the approach of Tropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season.

We keep trying to put out the word that we are here and are already welcoming visitors.

However, there is still an impression floating around out there somewhere that you can’t get here.

And this exists even with many of our fellow Outer Bankers who live north of the bridge.

I still hear and read reports of islanders going “up the beach,” as we call trips off the island, only to be greeted by surprised friends they run into while shopping.

“How did you get here?” the friends ask.

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