Rounding up some news on the Park Service’s proposed ORV rule - Shooting The Breeze

About

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!!!

Archives

Links

Search

Latest Comments

pussycat (By the Numbers: A…): Devil dodo, You are so long-winded. Bottom line: money/power. Any questions? Now tap into that fireba…
diver531 (Rekindling the Af…): I can just see all the owners/real estate folks drooling and licking their chops anticipating investi…
Devildog (Rekindling the Af…): Avon and Surf, My apologies, point taken on the Simplyhired numbers. According to both Dare and …
pussycat (Rekindling the Af…): There goes devil dodo again. I guess he just ain’t good with numbers and fractions and all that arith…
Devildog (By the Numbers: A…): ♪….Roll another one…..♫ ♬….just liiiike the other one…♪ “Within a decade virtually no one will pe…
Bill from PA (A fond farewell t…): Mary and Dewey…..have a long and wonderful retirement. You both brought beatiful memories to countle…

Stuff

Powered by PivotX - 2.3.11 
XML: RSS Feed 
XML: Atom Feed 

Memories of another E… | Home | The plovers and the p…

Rounding up some news on the Park Service’s proposed ORV rule

Friday 12 August 2011 at 10:27 am.

Yesterday afternoon on the government regulations website, regulations.gov, there were 238 public comments on the National Park Service’s proposed off-road rule for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

They are apparently all from individuals.  There were no organizations listed as having submitted comments, but the environmental groups that sued the Park Service in 2007 – Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society, and their lawyers at the Southern Environmental Law Center – are sure to weigh in.

I’m sure that they’re just keeping us in suspense about their views on the proposed rule, which will completely alter public access to the seashore for decades to come.  And, that, of course, is their goal.

There are still three weeks and four days to comment on the rule.  Information on how to comment is at the end of this blog.

You can also go to the government regulations website and read the comments posted thus far.

This week’s blog touches on a handful of topics in the news that will interest you as you craft your comments.

A PUBLIC COMMENT YOU SHOULD READ

Several readers have sent me their comments on the proposed rule or have posted them on message boards.

They have all been good and interesting comments, but one caught my eye.

It is from Ken Smith of Stafford, Va., who owns a house in Salvo.

Smith's comments are long – eight pages, single-spaced.

But they are ever so well crafted by someone who understands something about commenting on government regulations.

So I e-mailed Smith to ask him who he was and we eventually talked on the phone.

And it turns out that he does know something about this business of making government rules.

Smith retired from the U.S. Coast Guard as a lieutenant commander in 2004 after 22 years of service.  It was on a Friday.  On the next Monday, he went to work for the Coast Guard as a civilian in the Office of Vessel and Facility Operating Standards in Washington, D.C.

The function of that office is to write regulations and policy for commercial vessels and facilities handling oil and gas.

“I know how agencies are supposed to do things when it comes to rulemakings and that's why this whole fiasco is unbelievable to me,” he said, adding that he was been “frustrated and aggravated” at every step in the rulemaking process.

After an impassioned introduction to his comments, Smith calmly lists the many problems that he sees with the proposed regulation.

Here’s his introductory salvo:

This proposed rule and the information in this Federal Register (FR) is a good example of the poor management and unethical behaviors that are common throughout the National Park Service. In the past, these practices have been pretty much limited to the general public. However, now the National Park Service (NPS) is being so bold as to use them in a federal rulemaking project. After reading the proposed rule and understanding that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) (henceforth simply OMB) reviewed it and determined it was significant, I have come to the conclusion that the new motto of the National Park Service should be "What They Don't Know, Wont' Hurt Them". And there is a lot about this rule from the Failed Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, environmental law suits, Court ordered Consent Decree, Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Final EIS, Superintendent award, etc. that many people in the rulemaking review chain and senior leaders of government do not know about. 

He goes on to say:

Rather than resolve a long standing problem of creating a simple rule for ORV management, the National Park Service is successful only in making matters worse. Rather than draft the rule based on existing infrastructure and long established ORV corridors and routes, the National Park Service proposes to create something out of nothing by using ramps that are not even built. To compound matters, they are proposing to close currently accessible ORV access areas without justifiable proof that it must be done for a justifiable reason. This is the most irresponsible action the agency can take, especially when they are up against a timeline and trying to meet deadlines imposed by a federal judge. The court mandate was to create regulations addressing ORV use; it did not include a mandate for closing down currently accessible areas of the recreational area.

I especially like the last sentence in that paragraph.

I think many of you will enjoy reading Smith’s comments. And if you stick with it through eight pages, you might even be cheering when you get to the end.

It’s a compelling and damning examination of the rulemaking process.

Also, notice all of the agencies and officials that Smith copied on his comments.

He especially thinks commenters should copy the Office of Management and Budget.

 “I would encourage anyone who is sending a hard copy to include OMB/OIRA in the copy block as they will be reviewing this again,” Smith said.  “Normally, they would not get direct submissions.  However, the more letters they get on this issue, the more they will realize how much controversy surrounds it and they will push the NPS to settle the dust, so to speak.”

Smith withheld his name on his online submission, but also sent the comments in hard copy and included his personal information.

Granted, we can’t all analyze and critique this government regulation as deftly as someone who writes them for a living.

However, you might pick up some ideas for your own comments. 

Remember that you can comment early and comment often.

CLICK HERE to read Ken Smith’s comments.

ANOTHER VIEW OF SEASHORE CONTROVERSY

National Parks Traveler, the online site dedicated to coverage of the national parks, weighed in this week with a two part-series on the controversy over ORV rulemaking at the seashore.

It is written by the site’s founder and editor-in-chief, Kurt Repanshek, who obviously spent time researching and interviewing and came to the seashore, apparently in late June, to see for himself.

The articles were published on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8 and 9.

The headline is, “At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Birds, Turtles, And Humans Have Created An Air of Controversy.”

In an editor’s note, Repanshek says:

 Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one of the jewels not only of the Atlantic Seaboard, but also of the National Park System. Its wide, sparkling beaches are popular with visitors of all kinds -- humans, birds, and reptiles included -- and that creates problems at times when some of the wildlife are protected by the Endangered Species Act. In a two-part series, the Traveler looks at the differing viewpoints, the resulting friction, and the tough spot the National Park Service has found itself in in trying to manage the seashore for both humans and wildlife. To help gain an understanding of how the conflict arose, in part one we lay out the landscape, both geologically and as wildlife habitat.

There is also lively discussion in the comments at the end of each of the two parts.

Some of the comments indicate that folks who favor more reasonable access to the seashore take issue with parts of the article, but I think they have to admit that Repanshek has let all the parties – access advocates, environmentalists, and the Park Service – have their say.

I’ll just note that he has fallen down on his reporting on the economic situation on Hatteras Island.  The environmentalists are fond of noting the record high occupancy tax collections in the past few summers in Dare County.

Yes, that’s true, but a closer examination of the statistics indicates that Hatteras Island has not shared in this bonanza nearly as much as folks north of Oregon Inlet have.

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce just released occupancy tax numbers for the second quarter of 2011 – April, May, and June.  The tax is paid on accommodations, including campgrounds, motels, cottage, rentals, and time shares.

Yes, they show occupancy tax revenues are up over last year, but they also again show that Hatteras villages haven’t reaped the benefits that their neighbors to the north have.

Occupancy revenues increased for the whole county by 17.89 percent in April, 10.53 percent in May, and just 1.44 percent in June.

Numbers are up in six Hatteras villages for April because Easter fell in March last year and in April this year, and April also had five weekends.  Collections were down by 11.67 percent in Buxton, perhaps because Cape Point closed in March this year.

They are also up for all villages except Salvo and Waves for May.

However, the revenues fell in all seven of the Hatteras villages in June.

Any analysis of beach closures on the Dare economy and visitation must look at Hatteras Island separately from the rest of the county.

CLICK HERE to read Part I of the National Parks Traveler series.

CLICK HERE to read Part II of the series

CLICK HERE to see a charter from the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce comparing quarterly occupancy revenues by district.

WE ARE NOT ALONE -- PLOVERS AT CAPE COD

If you think we have problems with nesting piping plovers, check out this article.

Reader Harold Markham of Buxton sent us a link to the article that was published this week in the Cape Cod Times. It was sent to him by some recent guests he had from that area.

The article was part of a four-part series on the 50th anniversary of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

It’s an interesting article about that seashore, which has some of the best habitat on the Atlantic coast for piping plovers, which nest from Newfoundland to North Carolina, the southernmost part of the range.

According to the reporter who wrote the article, Park Service personnel were monitoring 82 chicks on the beach on July 20.

That compares to Cape Hatteras, where 21 piping plover chicks hatched from seven nests this summer.  Eleven of the chicks were lost, presumably to predation, and 10 fledged.

That number, by the way, is down by a third from last year’s record number of 15 piping plover chicks that fledged.

I was also interested that the article said people pay $375 for seasonal permits for their campers and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Visitors to Race Point near Provincetown had not been able to take their campers on the beach all summer but had been able to take their ORVs to some areas.  They were apparently camping in a visitor center parking lot.

CLICK HERE to read the article in Cape Cod Online

NEED A JOB WITH BENEFITS?

The National Park Service is advertising six new positions at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the USA Jobs website.

They are positions for “visitor use assistants.”

Three are GS-4 level jobs with a salary range of $27,990 to $36,384.  Three are GS-5 jobs with a salary range of $31,315 to $40,706.

The job description for the GS-4 jobs is:

The incumbent is responsible for collecting and accounting for fees at an Off-road Vehicle Permit Office, campground, lighthouse, or other visitor contact station, and completion of appropriate paperwork.  Provides information on permit requirements, operating an electronic cash register, operating audio visual equipment, conducting fee compliance checks, and providing the public with information about area regulations, services, and attractions. Advises visitors of potential safety hazards; provide answers to recurring visitor questions concerning site orientation, NPS interpretive services, and recreational opportunities in the surrounding areas. Other duties may include visitor management-related services such as traffic control, communicating over a park radio, or gathering information from reporting parties concerning accidents/incidents occurring within the park. 

The GS-5 job adds this:
 
Assists with the remittance/deposit function, providing on the job training and guiding small groups of employees in daily activities.

The Park Service describes the jobs as career-seasonal, subject-to-furlough positions, located in Cape Hatteras National Seashore at Nags Head, Buxton, and Ocracoke Island.  A permanent career-seasonal position includes all benefits of permanent employment, but does not provide for employment on a full year-round basis. 

The persons who fill these jobs “will work or be in pay and duty status at least 13 pay periods and not more than 25 pay periods in any service year.  The employee will work full time (at least 40 hours per week) when in pay and duty status.”

It is true that the federal hiring process is lengthy, but there is something slightly unseemly about advertising for jobs to sell ORV permits before the public comment periods ends on the proposed ORV rule.

Also, the ad states that the park is filling six positions at this time, but the posting may be used to fill “additional similar vacancies.”

Remember that the price of the ORV permit will be based on “recovery costs” – how much it costs the park to implement, sell, and enforce the permit.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Click here to read the regulation.

Click here to read the Record of Decision on the selected alternative which was published last December.

Public Comments:

The public comment period will be open from today until Sept. 6.  Comments must be received on or before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) on Tuesday, Sept. 6.  The NPS says that it does not anticipate extending the public comment period beyond Sept. 6 because of the court deadline for completing the final rule.

You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number: (RIN) 1024-AD85, by any of the following methods: 

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments
  • Mail or hand deliver to:  Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, North Carolina 27954.

Comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov or submitted by mail must be entered or postmarked before midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) Sept. 6.  Comments submitted by hand delivery must be received by the close of business hours (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) September 6, 2011.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

All submissions received must include the agency name and RIN for this rulemaking: 1024-AD85.  All comments received through the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov  will be available without charge.  Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. 

To view comments received through the Federal eRulemaking portal, go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter “1024-AD85" in the “Keyword or ID” search box.

85 comments

Jim Weston

Thank you Irene, very good info. I just pray that someone will listen & react!!!!

Jim Weston (Email ) - 13-08-’11 10:58
Bob Ruhle

If We are made to pay the amount of money I think Park Service will want, it’s goodbye hatteras for me. How can I make plans to come down if I don’t know what beaches will be open? Why are they being so extreme? What is thier agenda? It can’t just be the Piping Plovers! I have never seen any damage caused by ORV’s. We drive to our spot and sit. Why am I being punished? What is the REAL reason? What exactly was wrong with things the way they were?
Is the Park Service bored? Is it somehow fun for them to terrorize people? If you don’t like people, find a job where you don’t have to deal with them. Right?

Bob Ruhle (Email ) - 13-08-’11 16:25
Ken Smith

The best I can make of it is: The environmental activists have placed pressure on the NPS and have pushed them into writing regulations that are extremely favorable to the enviromenatlists point of view – the more of the Recreational Area they can close – the better in their mind. It is very sad because they don’t understand or portray reality they just imagine. Nonetheless – make your position known and let everyone in the chain of command Know.

Ken Smith (Email ) - 13-08-’11 18:08
Mike Berry

A very good set of comments Ken Smith. You are “dead on correct”. This is most superficial, flawed, inequitable environmental rule-making process and regulation I have ever seen since first observing and participating in such events in 1971. It’s a national disgrace from beginning to end and the NPS doesn’t care in the least. I hope for the day we can get congress to hold hearings on this mess.

Mike Berry (Email ) - 13-08-’11 19:39
Ken Smith

Dr. Berry, you have been a beacon of faith throught this battle. Recognition of you and Irene is as we would say in the U.S. Coast Guard – in keeping with the Highest Traditions of the United States Coast Guard – unfortunately we can not say the same for the Dept. of Interior.

Ken Smith (Email ) - 13-08-’11 20:31
samsdad1

Irene, You left out that the NPS and the DOI are not being proactive on the other lengthy portions of Version F… The enviro studies for the parking lots and ramps that will never be built.

Another remark is that this is segregation as the permits and class for the same are only for driving on the beaches, BUT what is missed is that 80%+ of violations on the seashore are pedestrian. Why are they not receiving the same classes and permits?

samsdad1 (Email ) - 15-08-’11 11:21
SeemsFishy

Doesn’t it seem fishy that for the past 5 years the DOI/NPS refuses to use the proper name for the park in all correspondence? I am no conspiracy theorist but this sure smells like a conspiracy to me. They’ve been throwing around all these proposals and legal documents to government agencies for the past several years with shortened name. And not once used the proper name.

Wouldn’t you judge "National Seashore" differently than a "National Seashore Recreational Area"?

SeemsFishy - 15-08-’11 16:25
Al

Very good point Fishy. Government agencies love to do this when they seek to “desensitize” an issue and take the human element out of it.

Al - 15-08-’11 16:46
Crotalus

Perhaps SeemsFishy et al, would point out where the National Environmental Policy Act differentiates government properties and grants immunity from the act based on what it’s called? Or how they infer such an immunity exists.

Crotalus - 15-08-’11 18:48
samsdad1

Crot you missed the point and twisted it to your liking, but then again you will always do that.

What if Grandma decided due to the recreation in the name her millions would be better suited on the side of the fisherman instead of false protections?

samsdad1 (Email ) - 16-08-’11 09:12
John Crook

As a long time lover of the beautiful beaches of North Carolina…. I say…. "FREE THE BEACHES!"

semper fi, Col John Crook

John Crook (Email ) - 16-08-’11 10:43
SeemsFishy

Crotalus, I don’t care about NEPA. I don’t care about all the red tape the DOI/NPS hides behind. The DOI/NPS have been systematically and quite successfully trying to remove "recreation" from the park in both activity and name.

I can’t find any documentation that allows them to change the intent or name of the park but they are doing it anyways…

SeemsFishy - 16-08-’11 13:00
Crotalus

SeemsFishy,

The documentation you are looking for is contained within the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

Crotalus (Email ) - 16-08-’11 15:02
Boogamite

Crotalus, the NEPA does not contain any language authorizing the NPS to alter the names of National Parks, nor does it contain verbiage pertaining to intent (although I agree with you that is how the NEPA is often used). In fact, Sec. 105 of the NEPA states, “The policies and goals set forth in this Act are supplementary to those set forth in existing authorizations of Federal agencies.”

One of those “existing authorizations” is Chapter 16 of the US Code, Section 459, which states, in part, “When title to all the lands … and the waters and the lands beneath the waters adjacent thereto shall have been vested in the United States, said area shall be, and is, established, dedicated, and set apart as a national seashore recreational area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and shall be known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area…”.

Boogamite (Email ) - 19-08-’11 09:40
Crotalus

Boogamite,
Exactly, under NEPA, it doesn’t matter if it was called Cape Hatteras National Disneyland. Whining about whether or not “Recreation” is or is not included in documents is merely a distraction.

“Supplementary to” doesn’t mean it can be ignored. And Section 102 is the “money” section and it doesn’t say “except for recreation areas”.

Crotalus - 19-08-’11 17:26
USA

Take the ‘Recreation Area’ out of the title and eventually those wanting to participate in outdoor recreational activities will go elsewhere.

USA (Email ) - 23-08-’11 08:04
Crotalus

USA,
Are you saying no one goes to the Blue Ridge Parkway, because it doesn’t have “recreation” in the name?

Crotalus - 23-08-’11 15:11
USA

bait taken

USA - 24-08-’11 08:22
Boogamite

Crotalus, you are absolutely correct. “Supplementary to” doesn’t mean other laws can be ignored.

Thank you.

Boogamite - 24-08-’11 10:43
Yup

"Whining about whether or not “Recreation” is or is not included in documents is merely a distraction."

Invalidating all of these legal documents and rules for simply failing to use the proper name is very stupid move by the NPS. A huge waste of time and resources are going to be required to start this process all over again, all because of a technicality. Sorry NPS, but Congress is the only entity allowed to the change the name of the park.

Yup - 24-08-’11 13:56
Crotalus

Boogamite,

Right, and the law is:

SEC. 102. The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest
extent possible: (1) the policies, regulations, and public laws of
the United States shall be interpreted and administered in accordance
with the policies set forth in this Act

Note the "shall" … that doesn’t mean might or could, it means there’s not a choice.
A reminder of what they shall do:

SEC. 101. (a) The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of
man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural
environment, particularly the profound influences of population
growth, high-density urbanization, industrial expansion, resource
exploitation, and new expanding technological advances and recognizing
further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining
environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of
man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government,
in cooperation with State and local governments, and
other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable
means and measures, including financial and technical assistance,
in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general
welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and
nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic,
and other requirements of present and future generations of
Americans.
(b) In order to carry out the policy set forth in this Act, it is
the continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all
practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of
national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions,
programs and resources to the end that the Nation may—
(1) fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee
of the environment for succeeding generations;
(2) assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive,
and esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings;
(3) attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment
without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other
undersirable and unintended consequences;
(4) preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects
of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible,
an environment which supports diversity and variety of
individual choice;
(5) achieve a balance between population and resource use
which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing
of life’s amenities; and
(6) enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach
the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources.
© The Congress recognizes that each person should enjoy a
healthful environment and that each person has a responsibility to
contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

Crotalus - 24-08-’11 14:22
Yup

Well since there is no "profound" impact, its all null and void.

a. No profound impact occurring.
b. Rules and restrictions were already being used.
1. Changing the park is not preserving to park for future generations.
2. HI is already aesthetically pleasing and proposed changes negatively affect cultural surroundings.
3. NPS’s attmept at changing things to provide "beneficial uses of environment" has put visitors at risk of safety(forcing them to walk outside closures in the dangerous surf)
4. NPS is ignoring important historic, cultrual and natural aspects of the area.
5. NPS is attmepting, by new rules, to upset the balance of population and resource.
6. NPS is failing to
c. We’ve been doing that before the NPS ever showed up.

Yup - 24-08-’11 14:54
Crotalus

Yup,

Sorry, but you’re grasping at straws.

Crotalus - 24-08-’11 15:01
Crotalus

Yup,
a. Extirpation of species is “profound”.
b. No they weren’t. The only formal written rule (1978) was for 50 percent of the seashore to be closed to ORVs – John Couch America’s Beach ….
1. How do you figure? Birds and sea turtles are resources that are required to be protected.
2. Disagree.
3. Natural selection still works. See Darwin Awards.
4. Disagree. There’s nothing either natural, cultural or historic about millions of people driving on the beach.
5. Inserting balance where none existed is not “upsetting” it.
6. Isn’t applicable.
C. Not supported by the evidence.

Crotalus - 24-08-’11 15:21
math

millions?

math - 24-08-’11 21:15
Crotalus

Visitation is > 2 million/year.

Crotalus - 24-08-’11 21:47
math

where?

math - 24-08-’11 23:12
Crotalus

CAHA.

Crotalus (Email ) - 24-08-’11 23:38
math

Break down by ramp # please. Do these numbers reflect every time a park service vehicle drives on the beach?

math - 25-08-’11 07:34
Yup

Those counts are guesstimates at best. I think it’s cars that pass through Whalebone junction. Very misleading and in no way reflects actual visitors. NPS is not smart to get actual counts.

Yup - 25-08-’11 08:44
Boogamite

Crotalus, I still don’t see where NEPA states that the NPS “shall” change the name of the park on legal documents. There is no choice – Congress established the name of the park, and only another act of Congress can legally change the name.

The correct name will serve as an important reminder to succeding generations of the historical purpose of what the park was intended to be. So NPS shall use the correct name to the fullest extent possible?

Boogamite (Email ) - 25-08-’11 09:19
Boogamite

Millions of people driving on the beach? The best available science estimates 994,604 passengers in vehicles accessing the beaches of CAHA, and even that number is fraught with uncertainty, as a single vehicle can use one or more ramps more than once, resulting in multiple counts. It doesn’t approach your hyperbole of “millions of people driving on the beach.”

Boogamite - 25-08-’11 09:50
math

Is it millions of cars or millions of people?

math - 25-08-’11 09:58
Yup

Cro and DOI/NPS/DOW/Audubon desperately want us all to believe we are having a "profound" impact on the natural resources. We all can see for own eyes that this is not true.

They can find hundreds of thousands of dollars to create extensive rules and restrictions, but can’t find the money to improve habitat, maintain historical sites, perform credible scientific studies, or educate the public. Its a whole lot easier and cheaper to do "management by padlock".

Cro and his friends want us to believe we are "extirpating" species, truth is almost all the questionably "threatened" species populations have been increasing without including any numbers from CHNSRA.

Sickening.

Yup - 25-08-’11 11:26
Crotalus

Boogamite

Yes, each time a vehicle drives on the beach is a separate event.

math
People. They tend not to stay in the vehicles.

Yup
Your data seems to be in error. Only the least tern population is increasing (roofs) the other three species of colonial waterbirds have not been increasing. Plover have increased since the 2005 protections began. Oystercatchers are not, although productivity at Hatteras has increased (tripled).

But if they no longer nest on Cape Hatteras, that means they’re extirpated, regardless if they nest elsewhere.

Crotalus - 25-08-’11 16:10
math

Is someone counting at each ramp, all day, every day?

math - 25-08-’11 16:51
Crotalus

they have counters. but yeah they do malfunction/quit working and cause an underestimate.

Crotalus - 25-08-’11 21:01
math

This still doesn’t answer my question. I’ve seen a ‘counter’ on the post at at least one ramp. How many people in each car? Does it count park service vehicles? Which ramp has the highest count?

math - 26-08-’11 06:47
Crotalus

Why does it matter? Are you saying the error rate is +/- 2,000,000? Nobody really visits the OBX? Nobody day trips south of the bridge? There’s never more than one person in a vehicle? What?

Crotalus - 26-08-’11 08:30
samsdad1

Exactly,
Crot those daytrippers account for how many of the made up numbers the NPS uses?

The NPS itself even states they use estimates only.

The only way you will know for sure how many vehicles and people visit is to place a booth at the bonner bridge and all ferry ports and charge a fee and count the people.

samsdad1 (Email ) - 26-08-’11 09:54
Boogamite

What he’s saying is that Crotalus’ quote “millions of people driving on the beach” is not suported by any factual data.

You mention that the counters on the ramps frequently malfunction, resulting in undercounts, but you fail to recognize that a single vehicle going in and out of a ramp (or several ramps) does not count as more people. More “events” but not more people. This results in overcounts.

NPS has collected data for years, but relies solely on automatic counters and applies adjustment factors to arrive at number of people. Vogelsong conducted a study in 2003, but peer review found it lacking. The most recent study I am aware of is “Ramp Counts: Off-Road Vehicle Management Cape Hatteras National Seashore Final Report” dated October 2010.

RTI (who prepared this study) noted “Accounting for the logistical difficulties of travel on the islands…” in describing their sampling design.

Nevertheless, whether its NPS data or the studies mentioned above, Crotalus can’t back up his statement of “millions of people driving on the beach” with factual data.

What does it matter? He used this statement to discount the natural, historical, and cultural aspects of the issue. I’ll agree that driving on the beach is not natural. But there is a history of cars being driven on OBX long before it was a national park, as evidenced by photos from the 20’s and 30’s (before that, they probably rode horses). And fishing has an even longer history, and is part of the cultural of the area.

In Crotalus’ world, the NEPA is the supreme law of the land, and everything else can be ignored (even the parts of the NEPA he finds inconvenient).

Boogamite - 26-08-’11 10:06
Logic

Why does it matter? Are you saying the error rate is +/- 2,000,000? Nobody really visits the OBX? Nobody day trips south of the bridge? There’s never more than one person in a vehicle? What?

As usual, Crotalus conveniently conflates CAHA "Visitors", (~2M), with CAHA ORV users, (Considerably less than 2M).

Why? Because it falsely supports his anti-ORV agenda.

Logic - 26-08-’11 14:52
Crotalus

Samsdad1
There’s nothing wrong with informed estimates (estimates based on samples). If that’s not good enough for some folks because it isn’t +/-0, some folks should carry their butts to the ramps and start counting.

Boogamite
When congress passes something and the president signs it, it indeed is the law of the land.

None of those historic photos show 100s of vehicles parked fender to fender.

Counter at ramp: 3000 vehicles go through, divided by 2 = visitation for that period.

Crotalus - 26-08-’11 17:08
Crotalus

Logic
I didn’t confuse anything. Scroll up … I said people not vehicles. People don’t stay in their vehicles (hence all the pedestrian closure violations).

Crotalus - 26-08-’11 17:12
Logic

I didn’t confuse anything. Scroll up … I said people not vehicles.

Then counts per vehicle @ Whalebone are worthless.

People don’t stay in their vehicles

And even fewer "abuse the resource" while passing through.

(hence all the pedestrian closure violations).

Imagine that.

Logic - 26-08-’11 20:58
Crotalus

We were talking about ramp counters. This is the second conversation you’ve jumped into not knowing the topic.

Crotalus - 26-08-’11 22:52
Logic

We were talking about ramp counters.

Which are inextricably tied to the counter at Whalebone Junction when attempting to separate normal visitation and ORV numbers, and by your admission, produce questionable data at best.

This is the second conversation you’ve jumped into not knowing the topic.

Strange, as the original topic was “Rounding up some news on the Park Service’s proposed ORV rule”.

O/T Then:

The NPS and their supporters have long inferred that the 2M “visitors” number touted equals 2M vehicles on the CAHA beach each year, which is demonstrably false.

Logic - 27-08-’11 07:40
math

……. each of those 2 million vehicles are 4 wheel drive and are all driving on the beach…..NOT.

math - 27-08-’11 12:08
Crotalus

I didn’t say 2 million vehicles. Asked and answered at least twice … scroll up.

I don’t/didn’t call informed estimates, "questionable data". That’s the "it’s not right or useful unless you count every pimple on the visitor" crowd who calls it "questionable".

It’s an estimate with probably a +/- of less than 10,000.

Crotalus - 27-08-’11 16:58
logic

I didn’t say 2 million vehicles. Asked and answered at least twice … scroll up

Believe it or not, it’s not always about what you say. This is one of those times.

I don’t/didn’t call informed estimates, "questionable data". That’s the "it’s not right or useful unless you count every pimple on the visitor" crowd who calls it "questionable".

Hyperbole. I have heard no calls for pimple counting from any crowd, except from your crowd of one.

It’s an estimate with probably a +/- of less than 10,000.

Citation WRT that error band? Thanks.

Funny how the NPS knows exactly how many Birdles and Turds we have on-island, but have to fabricate an “informed estimate” as to the number of humans.

logic - 28-08-’11 09:44
Crotalus

Logic
Believe it or not, it’s not always about what you say. This is one of those times.

You could have just said that in the beginning and I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to have a discussion with someone who just wants to argue with the voices in their head.

Crotalus - 28-08-’11 13:51
math

okay, 2 million visitors more or less ( depending on where the numbers are coming from) on hatteras island a year doesn’t mean they are all in 4X4’s driving on the beach.

math - 28-08-’11 15:37
Crotalus

math

All I’ve got as support of that are anecdotal observations of the rigs with rod racks parked at a majority of the rentals.
But you’re right, it could be just 1.5 million.

Crotalus - 28-08-’11 16:12
math

And all i have is observations of the many two wheel drive cars that drive past my place of business day in/day out……but then again you are always right.

math - 28-08-’11 16:26
Crotalus

math

I appreciate your faith that I’m always right, but I hate to tell you this, on occasion I can be wrong.

Crotalus - 28-08-’11 16:40
logic

Project much?

You could have just said that in the beginning and I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to have a discussion with someone who just wants to argue with the voices in their head.

Said what, This?

The NPS and their supporters have long inferred that the 2M “visitors” number touted equals 2M vehicles on the CAHA beach each year, which is demonstrably false.

Nice dodge, but your self-proclaimed visitation margin of error went from +/- 10K to +/- 500K along they way.

Best Science Available!

logic - 28-08-’11 17:30
Crotalus

Illogic

Keep responding to that which I did not say. We’ll get real far towards agreement that way.

Crotalus - 28-08-’11 19:05
Boogamite

Responding to what he does say doesn’t get us any closer to agreement either.

Boogamite - 28-08-’11 23:19
logic

In spite of a litany of ad hominem attacks and a failed pseudo-psyco analysis, these facts remain:

- The NPS’ methodology WRT visitor and/or ORV counts are lacking, and the data from both suspect.

- Anti-ORV agents have intentionally spun this questionable number as to appear that there are 2M ORV’s on the beach annually.

- Crotalus claims to be exempt from the agents mentioned above.

- The Margin of Error for the NPS’ visitor count ranges somewhere between +/- 10K to 500K anually.

Keep responding to that which I did not say. We’ll get real far towards agreement that way.

If "Agreement" means takinging your word as gospel, I’ll pass.

logic - 29-08-’11 09:55
Crotalus

logic
In spite of a litany of ad hominem attacks and a failed pseudo-psyco analysis, these facts remain:
You appear to be ignorant of both what is a “litany” and an “ad hominem attack”.

- The NPS’ methodology WRT visitor and/or ORV counts are lacking, and the data from both suspect.
No evidence has been provided that the standard statistical survey method in place to provide a visitation estimate is “lacking” or “suspect”.

- Anti-ORV agents have intentionally spun this questionable number as to appear that there are 2M ORV’s on the beach annually.
For the fourth (fifth?) time, there was never a claim that there were 2 million vehicles on the beach annually.

- Crotalus claims to be exempt from the agents mentioned above.

- The Margin of Error for the NPS’ visitor count ranges somewhere between +/- 10K to 500K anually.
You’re arguing with the voices in your head.
Ignore the voices and pay attention:
There are 2 issues; total visitation to the seashore; total visitors accessing the beach via ORV.
Visitation during the period in question, from 1995 to 2005, was from 2,208,189 to 2,923,894, so by just using 2 million as visitation I’m already giving a +/- of 200,000-900,000 for annual visitation.
Then there’s the issue of visitors accessing the beaches via ORV. I don’t know what numbers the ramp counters are giving and to my knowledge that data has never been published. But since during that period of time, my observations were 4 out of 5 vehicles on the roads and at the rentals were beach rigs outfitted with rod racks, 2 million is a conservative estimate.
But even if I remove another 500,000, it’s still not natural, cultural or historic use – which was my point above.

Crotalus - 29-08-’11 11:46
logic

You appear to be ignorant of both what is a “litany” and an “ad hominem attack”.

Litany: lit•a•nyNoun/ˈlitn-ē/
A tedious recital or repetitive series

Ad Hominem Attack: "…someone who just wants to argue with the voices in their head."

No evidence has been provided that the standard statistical survey method in place to provide a visitation estimate is “lacking” or “suspect”.

Yes it has, you simply choose to ignore it. The operative word "Estimate" should serve as a clue to you.

For the fourth (fifth?) time, there was never a claim that there were 2 million vehicles on the beach annually.

Never a claim made BY YOU perhaps, but others have blurred that line repeatedly throughout this sordid affair.

You’re arguing with the voices in your head.

Ad Hom Alert!

Nope, your voice alone produced the below quotes:
"It’s an estimate with probably a +/- of less than 10,000."
and
"But you’re right, it could be just 1.5 million."

Ignore the voices and pay attention:

Ad Hom Alert!

There are 2 issues; total visitation to the seashore; total visitors accessing the beach via ORV.
Visitation during the period in question, from 1995 to 2005, was from 2,208,189 to 2,923,894, so by just using 2 million as visitation I’m already giving a +/- of 200,000-900,000 for annual visitation.
Then there’s the issue of visitors accessing the beaches via ORV.

How magnanimous of you! But without doing a physical car/head count, those numbers cannot be anything other than incomplete, or perhaps even "Lacking".

I don’t know what numbers the ramp counters are giving and to my knowledge that data has never been published.

Then said data, (if it indeed exists), is worthless, and definitely fall under the category of "suspect" since pedestrians and even birds can trigger them.

But since during that period of time, my observations were 4 out of 5 vehicles on the roads and at the rentals were beach rigs outfitted with rod racks, 2 million is a conservative estimate.

My observations and those of others differ greatly from yours, so who’s right?

But even if I remove another 500,000, it’s still not natural, cultural or historic use – which was my point above.

"Natural, Cultural and Historic" use levels will never be seen again unless all visitors are barred from the island completely, so your point is rendered moot. This bell cannot be un-rung.

logic - 29-08-’11 12:37
Crotalus

If I called you a red head, that would not be an ad hom.

If I said you were wrong because you are a red head, that would be an ad hom.

And since you are the one who said you were ignoring my arguments and just arguing with the voices in your head – I’ve not had the need to address whether or not your argument was right or wrong. I’ve certainly not said your argument was wrong because of the voices in your head.


How magnanimous of you! But without doing a physical car/head count, those numbers cannot be anything other than incomplete, or perhaps even “Lacking”.

So then it’s up to you to show the methodology they use to estimate (as in not exact numbers) visitation is lacking. I look forward to your study.

“Natural, Cultural and Historic” use levels will never be seen again unless all visitors are barred from the island completely, so your point is rendered moot. This bell cannot be un-rung.

My point exactly, it’s not any of the above. Thanks.

Crotalus - 29-08-’11 13:11
logic

If I called you a red head, that would not be an ad hom.

If I said you were wrong because you are a red head, that would be an ad hom.

And since you are the one who said you were ignoring my arguments and just arguing with the voices in your head – I’ve not had the need to address whether or not your argument was right or wrong. I’ve certainly not said your argument was wrong because of the voices in your head.

Look, a litany of personal attacks! Ad Hom or not, your intent at diversions via personal smears is clear.

So then it’s up to you to show the methodology they use to estimate (as in not exact numbers) visitation is lacking. I look forward to your study.

Look forward no longer!

STUDY: HOW TO CONVERT CAHA ANNUAL VISITATION "ESTIMATES" INTO RELIABLE DATA.

Abstract:

Due to lacking and non-complete data derived from decades if estimating CAHA Annual visitation, a more concise and reliable alternative must be implemented.

Recommendations:

1. Place a multi-lane Toll Booth at one end of the New Bonner Bridge, and another on Ocracoke at the CI ferry dock. (See Blue Ridge Parkway)
2. Count all vehicles.
3. Group vehicles by visitor type. (IE: Commercial, Local, Visitor)
4. Charge visitors an entrance fee, lift/reduce fees for commercial and/or local traffic.
5. Provide all visitors with detailed information about park rules with toll receipt. Count occupants per vehicle at this time, mark count on receipt.
6. Tally vehicle and occupant counts at year’s end.
7. Tally fees at year’s end.

Conclusions:

Absolute visitation numbers will be unquestionable using this method, all visitors will have been given detailed information as to park rules, and more recovery fees will be attained by charging every single user of the park equally.

Simple, really, and recovery costs are shared by all park users, and not placed unfairly on the ORV user group alone.

My point exactly, it’s not any of the above. Thanks.

You’re quite welcome, but the bell still cannot be un-rung WRT to visitation, only mitigated, unless we revert to management via padlock. (Alt G)

logic - 29-08-’11 14:39
Crotalus

While I agree about toll booths, that doesn’t address how the current methodology to estimate visitation is “lacking”. You seem to be saying it’s lacking simply because it’s an estimate and not an exact count.


You’re quite welcome, but the bell still cannot be un-rung WRT to visitation, only mitigated, unless we revert to management via padlock. (Alt G)

It’s not about un-ringing the bell, but about refuting claims current (pre-2005) use is “natural, cultural and historic” and hence “untouchable”.

Crotalus - 29-08-’11 19:13
logic

While I agree about toll booths, that doesn’t address how the current methodology to estimate visitation is “lacking”.

Location³.

The sensor across the non-divided highway at Whalebone Junction only counts instances of vehicle/object passage, regardless of travel direction.

.You seem to be saying it’s lacking simply because it’s an estimate and not an exact count.

Since most travel to Hatteras/Ocracoke from the north is round-trip in nature versus going through Cedar Island via ferry back to the mainland, the sensor at Whalebone counts many visitors twice.

It’s not about un-ringing the bell, but about refuting claims current (pre-2005) use is “natural, cultural and historic” and hence “untouchable”.

Untouchable? References, please.

logic - 29-08-’11 23:22
math

So then, the sensor at Whalebone Junction is also counting garbage trucks, police vehicles, people going to the Bodie Island lighthouse, some school teachers, jr. college students going to Manteo, all the folks that go to Nags Head to shop, on business, to Dr. appointments, school buses with sports teams, food delivery trucks, gas delivery trucks, the many people heading to Ocracoke, day trippers to climb the lighthouse, etc, etc, etc…………..

math - 30-08-’11 14:26
Yup

Math – there ya go, completely unusable data.

Yup - 30-08-’11 14:53
Crotalus

Logic,

So you’re saying visitation is half of what’s reported – about a million – because round trips aren’t accounted for? Seems pretty obvious to me they would account for that, but they don’t do a good job of describing the methodology on the website.
For instance, in June, if 4100 vehicles were counted in a day they would multiply that by 0.10 and that result by 2.7 = 1107 visitors for that day. While intuitively I’m sure that accounts for round trips, they do not link the original study that describes the complete methodology and formula.

The “historic use” issue is Ginny et al’s hobby horse. I’m surprised you’re not aware of that.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 15:08
Crotalus

Non-recreational visits (trash trucks, residents, etc) are accounted for (using above count) 4100×0.90×1.5=5535.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 15:21
Yup

NPS really hasn’t put any real effort into counts. They know the real numbers would not show just cause for the restrictions and rules they want to impose. They know what data they need to hide, they have done this before, and its being run by the man who pulled this off at Cape Cod. Though, I’m sure he didn’t expect this much resistance, especially having two Governor’s in a row completely disagree with his plan’s and proposals.
Just like the economic impact study. No one could comment on FEIS economic impact without an economic impact study.

"None of those historic photos show 100s of vehicles parked fender to fender. "

How old does it need to be, to be historical? I can remember from late 70’‘s and 80’s hundreds vehicles lined up around the Point and several vehicles deep. No matter how spin it, American’s have using vehicles to reach the recreational areas on this seashore for a long time. That doesn’t happen all time too, I was there a couple of weeks ago and at best there might have been 50-60 vehicles spread out around the Point every day I was there. If the birds we were really threatened/endangered by this activity, they would have been wiped out a long time ago. PIPL population has been increasing without any help from CHNSRA.

Yup - 30-08-’11 16:41
Crotalus

NPS really hasn’t put any real effort into counts. They know the real numbers would not show just cause for the restrictions and rules they want to impose.

tin-foil thinking. It seems to me only counting every tenth car as a recreational visit during peak visitation, makes for a large under count.

I was there a couple of weeks ago and at best there might have been 50-60 vehicles spread out around the Point every day I was there. If the birds we were really threatened/endangered by this activity, they would have been wiped out a long time ago.

No. they weren’t threatened by that activity because they weren’t nesting or raising chicks.

Historical = prior to becoming a National Park.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 17:40
math

Well, now we won’t have to worry about the Whalebone Junction sensor for at least a month or two.

math - 30-08-’11 18:05
Crotalus

Math,
I think with the extent of the damages, 4-6 months is optimistic. Someone said something about combat bridges, but I don’t know that those would work for regular traffic.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 18:54
math

If four to six months is true, the businesses of Hatteras Island are screwed, including mine.

math - 30-08-’11 20:27
Crotalus

Math,
I hear you. That long bridge would be nice about now…..

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 21:10
dood

Hist0rical = 50 years

dood - 30-08-’11 21:29
dood

btw, Cro doesn’t like to talk about section106 stuff. wait for the slavery rant, it’s a doozy!

dood - 30-08-’11 22:26
Crotalus

Dood,

What makes you think I have anything against talking about Section 106 “stuff”? Why is a discussion on protecting historic properties even relevant?

Slavery rant? The only thing that comes to mind is it’s a prime example of why “because we’ve always done X” is a bad advocacy argument in every instant it’s made.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 22:49
dood

bristle bristle!

dood - 30-08-’11 23:51
Crotalus

dood,
Sorry, it wasn’t my intention to upset you.

Crotalus - 30-08-’11 23:59
math

sorry crot…..i don’t think the 17 mile bridge was the answer to all the road problems as there were other alternatives. i’m not even going to get in to a debate about it so this is my last comment on that subject.

math - 31-08-’11 08:56
dood

Cro, you didnt upset me sweetie

dood - 31-08-’11 13:41
Crotalus

Math,
I wasn’t wanting to start a debate …. just wishful thinking for my friends.

dood (?),
I thought you “bristled” … no problems

Crotalus - 31-08-’11 13:47
Yup

"I was there a couple of weeks ago and at best there might have been 50-60 vehicles spread out around the Point every day I was there. If the birds we were really threatened/endangered by this activity, they would have been wiped out a long time ago.

No. they weren’t threatened by that activity because they weren’t nesting or raising chicks."

I realize that the birds weren’t nesting or raising chicks during my visit a couple weeks ago. But what about all of those years we were there in the Spring, they were supposedly there and nesting. We made many trips during the early and late Spring and observed hundreds of vehicles coming and going. Now that we can’t go in the Spring, its common sense that more birds would nest. Close it off and they will come… I just hate the lack of common sense used here. Of course, if you close off vast areas, that will attract the birds. If you have other activities going, they will likely go somewhere else.

Yup - 01-09-’11 12:39
Crotalus

I realize that the birds weren’t nesting or raising chicks during my visit a couple weeks ago. But what about all of those years we were there in the Spring, they were supposedly there and nesting. We made many trips during the early and late Spring and observed hundreds of vehicles coming and going. Now that we can’t go in the Spring, its common sense that more birds would nest. Close it off and they will come… I just hate the lack of common sense used here. Of course, if you close off vast areas, that will attract the birds. If you have other activities going, they will likely go somewhere else.

Closing areas off does not "attract" the birds. They’ve been attempting to nest, and nesting in these areas for decades and long before they were ever closed off, despite the disturbance, which was usually less historically during egg-laying (April and May) than during incubation and brood rearing (May, June and July).

Crotalus - 01-09-’11 19:00




(optional field)
(optional field)

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible until it has been approved by an editor.

Remember personal info?
Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.