The Piping Plover Plunge - Shooting The Breeze


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The Piping Plover Plunge

Friday 31 July 2015 at 4:58 pm.

Shorebird nesting is winding down at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In fact, it's over for the federally listed piping plover.

There are no piping plover nests or chicks on the beaches, and there aren't likely to be any at this point.

The season's results for the piping plovers are dismal and disappointing.  For all the effort that has gone into protecting these tiny shorebirds, only two chicks successfully fledged this summer.

According to the National Park Service, 16 pairs of piping plovers were breeding on the seashore this year -- one on Bodie Island, seven on Hatteras, and eight on Ocracoke. That's close to the number of pairs that have been nesting in the seashore for the last five or six seasons.

However, only two chicks survived to fledge. That's way below the record year of 2010 with 15 chicks fledged, though slightly better than 2002 and 2004 when there were no fledged piping plovers chicks.

I can't hazard a guess at how much money goes into protecting these birds on the seashore, especially the federally listed piping plover . In fact, it would probably take the Park Service a good deal of time to figure it out.

However, I think it's safe to say that those two piping plover chicks are million-dollar babies -- or at least close to it.

It's disappointing for the birds, for park officials, and for the park's users who surely hope that all these protection efforts result in more birds.

At this point, you begin to wonder if there ever will be -- or, more importantly, can be -- more birds.

Looking at the chart that accompanies this blog is interesting.  It shows the number of piping plover breeding pairs and chicks fledged for the past 24 years.

It is not particularly easy to pick out patterns or trends. The 1990s seemed just okay for fledging, though 1998 had the second highest number of chicks fledged -- 12. And those chicks were produced by just nine pairs -- fewer than many of the years before and after that.

I wonder what was so special about 1998.

The years 2000-2007 were pretty dismal. Many fewer pairs -- two or three -- produced many fewer chicks that survived to fledge -- zero in two of those years.

The year 2008 seems to start another upward swing -- peaking when 12 pairs produced 15 fledged chicks in 2010.

However, it's been downhill since then.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, and the two environmental groups it represented in a 2007 lawsuit against the Park Service for its lack of an off-road vehicle plan -- Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society -- like to take credit for the upswing. The groups claim that the numbers are rising because of increased ORV restrictions.

They claim the upswing is a result of the consent decree that was agreed to by a federal court in the spring of 2008 to settle the lawsuit.  Under the terms of the consent decree, ORV regulations and nesting buffers were instituted that are very similar to the ORV plan the Park Service adopted in 2012.

However, what do these groups have to say now that the numbers have been on the way down since that 2010 record of 15 fledged chicks, followed by two years of 10 and then 11?

Although I am not a scientist who studies these things, it seems pretty clear that the one variable that the Park Service really can control in its natural resources management program-- human disturbance from pedestrians, ORVs, and pets -- is not making the difference it was intended to.

Then, there is the issue of predators.  Although chicks are not monitored 24 hours a day, seashore biologists think that most of the chicks are lost to predation.

In recent years, the Park Service has instituted an aggressive predator control program that removed or killed many mammals that feast on the baby birds -- feral cats, raccoons, coyotes, otters, foxes, and the like.

But, even as more animals are killed, fewer chicks are surviving to fledge. Now, seashore biologists are looking increasingly to avian predators.

Some long-time beach users point to the changed topography of the island -- the loss of vast sand flats that provided an environment that the piping plovers need for foraging for food.

The sand spit at Hatteras Inlet has eroded to about nothing in recent years, and piping plovers no longer nest there.  The Park Service has let the sand flats around the Salt Pond at Cape Point become covered with vegetation that completely changes the topography and probably provides cover for predators.

Cape Lookout National Seashore, just to our south, provides a much more piping-plover friendly environment.  There is no human habitation on the seashore, it's accessible only by boat, ferry, or small plane, and, for a variety of reasons, the barrier islands that comprise Cape Lookout have many more wide, sandy and muddy flats and inlets that come and go.

A brief look at Cape Lookout's piping plover success shows that there are many more pairs that prefer to nest there -- as many as 51 in 2012.  However, since 2000, there have been as few as 13 -- in 2004.

Since there are more pairs, you would expect the birds to produce more chicks that fledge, and they do -- 47 in 2013.

However, interestingly, the fledge rate for chicks at Cape Lookout during some seasons has been even more abysmal than at Cape Hatteras.

It's also interesting to note that the most dismal recent years at Cape Hatteras -- 2001 to 2004 -- were also the lowest at Cape Lookout.

All of this raises a number of interesting questions.

What are the barriers to more successful nesting at the seashore?  And can they be removed?

Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout seashores are at the southern edge of the piping plovers' breeding range.  With sea level rise, are the seashores becoming less suitable for nesting -- and will they become even more inhospitable in the future?  Is it then worth the protective measures now in place for the birds?

Should seashore biologists continue to struggle to make the seashore more inviting to breeding piping plovers if they are doomed to nesting failure here?

The seashore's new superintendent David Hallac, whose Park Service career has been in natural resource management, isn't ready to answer those questions yet.

But they do make him even more excited about the idea of starting a new program of science workshops at the seashore that will be open to the public.  The workshops would bring in scientists to review the park's plan for managing various species of wildlife.

The workshops, he said, "would improve our ability to tease out factors" in the management plan, in addition to human activity, that affect nesting success."

Hallac said he would like to start the workshops in the coming year, but it might take two years to get the program underway. 


Only one unfledged American oystercatcher chick remains in the way of reopening Cape Point to vehicle and pedestrian access.

The chick will fledge in about 10 days to 2 weeks.  However, the ORV management plan calls for keeping the 200 meter buffer in place for another two weeks after the last chick fledges.

It is unclear what seashore officials plan to do.  Keeping the buffer in place for the additional two weeks could keep Cape Point closed until almost the end of August.

After the chick fledges, the plan allows the seashore to establish a pedestrian corridor to the Point.


The Park Service is planning five public meetings over the next two weeks to get public input into the latest round of changes to the seashore's ORV management plan. The changes were mandated by legislation passed in Congress last December to assure more public access to the seashore.

You can click here to go to an Island Free Press story about the regulations under review, the meetings, and how to comment.

Two of the meetings are in the seashore -- at Ocracoke and Buxton -- and the others are  on the northern beaches at Kitty Hawk, in Raleigh, and in Hampton, Va.

If you want more reasonable public access to the seashore's beaches, make it a point to attend one of the meetings -- or at least find out what's under review and submit your comments.


Ken Yount

From 1971 through 20011 I0 averaged 5 300 mile trips a year to the Outer Banks, 2 full week trips and 3 long weekends. I haven’t been back since and have no plans to. I just wish someone could explain to me why ramps 23 and 34 are closed. Makes absolutely no sense.

Ken Yount - 31-07-’15 20:22
Clark Fortney

It’s really not about preserving and protecting the flora and fauna of a particular eco system. It’s about perpetuating the bureaucracies. The various environmental groups along with their partners in government, in this case the NPS, are parasitic feeders that prey on the taxpayers of this country. It is a complete fraud!

Clark Fortney - 31-07-’15 21:50

Said it before, saying it again… This is a failed experiment, at the cost of Millions. Millions in direct costs, millions in indirect costs, millions of lost experiences. Never get them back. The key here is “at the southern most part of the nesting area” Average of less than 6 birds a year at what cost?

Einstein said it best: The definition of Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The chart above proves that theory.

Jack - 31-07-’15 23:28
Dave H

Clark, you’ve pretty much summed it up! I’m sure that some will present this to us as a reason to further restrict access and double down on regulation. I also think it’s hilarious that they’re now looking at “avian predators”. What are they going to do-kill everything in the park excepting endangered species? Why not simply leave well enough alone?

Dave H - 01-08-’15 07:45

I am pretty sure SELC, Audubon, DoW, and their ilk will stay silent. They have been proven wrong.
I’m not sure Dave will get his workshops, the NPS has mismanaged themselves into a 11.5 billion maintenance backlog. They also suffer from a group of delusional liberal progressive upper management that puts politics ahead of everything else.
The science and common sense said these birds would never be successful here but political agendas prevail these days…

AnonVisitor - 01-08-’15 08:25

Muck like Ken, from mid ’80’s through 2011 I spent anywhere from 30 to 40 days on Hatteras Island between March and November every year, but haven’t spent an hour or a dollar there since.

Due to the unreliable availability of accessing some of the most enjoyable and dynamic parts of the seashore, non-NPS beaches get my tourist dollars.

Now that there is irrefutable proof that the NPS’ much touted plover management schemes are an utter failure, it just adds insult to injury.

Hopefully the new super will get behind the congressionally mandated review of these failed management policies and restore common sense and balanced access and resource protection to the seashore as it was before all this mess got started.

Not holding my breath, though.

David - 01-08-’15 10:25

Looks like they were doing better when the ORV’s were there. The fishermen used to feed them extra bait etc. now they have to look out for themselves.

dumps - 01-08-’15 10:51

if these birds are so important how come these so called “conservationist” don’t study where these birds go when they leave the area? better yet why don’t they just go with them?

robert - 01-08-’15 19:18

Man managing nature is futile at best. It is a simple fact that more species have gone extinct than are presently alive on earth. A robust species can and will adapt to whatever environment it inhabits, or will move to a more favorable location. I love birds of all kinds but, if they can’t adapt, then let them go. Don’t spend billions of our tax dollars trying to protect them, and acutely restricting human presence in the process. Enjoy the ones that are left.

Robert - 01-08-’15 21:18

This situation is shameful. Not only is it unsuccessful and a waste of tax dollars but the untold millions have only served to destroy. I have been going to the cape for about 30 years and watched as it turned from a relatively remote outpost to a very popular destination. The economy was growing, people built businesses and sustainable lives until the US government began to “manage” the beaches. The economy has clearly taken a big hit as evidenced by the closed shops. The Park Service is “protecting” several species by killing predators when there have been studies that show that one of the best protections from predators is human activity. When humans are around the predators flee. I see no problem with creating a buffer around nesting pairs but 200 meters (2 and a half football fields all around) is absurd and obviously ineffective. We need to organize against these restrictions, the SELC, National Audubon and Defenders of Wildlife if we are to take back this gem, the Outer Banks, which was set aside specifically for human recreation in the first place.

Chris - 02-08-’15 12:26

Don’t forget the crucial role played by Federal District Court Judge Terrance Boyle. Without his support, the closures could never have taken place. It’s baffling why a conservative Republican judge would turn his back on the people of Hatteras and Ocracoke and make common cause with the environmentalists.

Doug - 03-08-’15 11:23
Al Adam


Although Boyle was appointed by Bush I think you will find that he is not only not conservative but has some kind of record of making poor decisions that have been vacated. He has made some very strange, kneejerk decisions on issues related to wildlife apparently thinking himself some kind of naturalist or authority. I’m sure his attempt to ban coyote hunting in three counties, because they may be confused with the red wolves with whom they have interbred, has been met with disdain, or ignored, by farmers and pet owners in those counties.
As far as the hearings on ORV and access issues it is also my understanding that he had little to no interest in the findings or viewpoints of the access side, ignoring them, and listening intently to his fraternity brothers from SELC et co.
I wasn’t there but trust my sources who witnessed the debacle.

Al Adam - 03-08-’15 14:21

With what looks like 2.8 million visitors to the national seashore this year, it seems like more people are arriving on HI than turning away from ORV restrictions. That said, there will be about 30,000 ORV permits issued this year, which is about 1 percent or so of visitors. Yet this one percent or so are not satisfied with one percent of the beach. They would rather demand 10 percent, 20 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent and more of the beach. We the 99 percent would prefer our fair share of beautiful national seashore beachfront devoid of on-the-sand motorized traffic. We’ll start by requesting 99 percent as a fair and equitable share.

Billfish - 03-08-’15 15:46

So BF what you are saying is there is only one person in each permitted vehicle ?? That’s delusional at best

Mike - 03-08-’15 16:56

Blindfish, we routinely take 6 to 8 passengers in our ORV and shuttling in even more. I’ll bet that more than half of that 2.8 million don’t even step foot on the beach. Those NPS visitor counts are highly inaccurate but we don’t need the NPS counts to know there are less visitors in the shoulder season due to these bad policies. Get lost.

AnonVisitor - 03-08-’15 18:22
salvo jimmy

And Mike,

bf has ignored the one permitted vehicle making 4 – 6 trips from the parking area ferrying over car loads of folks without a permit. He’s also a troll having been trying for about a month to get a bite on this BS idea.

salvo jimmy - 03-08-’15 18:26

Okay Mike,
I’ll give you that. Fill the vehicle up—you’ll still barely move the percentages in comparision to ORV access as it stands now. Keep spinning and modeling in every matematical variable and the difference between beach goers without ORVs and those with is in the ninety plus percentile. That’s reality, not delusion. Now how much beach is demanded by ORV beach drivers?

Billfish - 03-08-’15 19:18

Salvo Jimmy,
Four to six trips per day? That means your beach driving has six times more of an influence on environment and pedestrians. I hope the park service factors in such overlooked information as that. Is your driving activity typical of others?

Billfish - 03-08-’15 19:41
salvo jimmy

And AV has a good point. Watching the 3 MacMansions by me I see most hanging around the pool, ordering in or cooking on the grill. Occasionally make a day trip, but I seldom see any beach gear going along.

salvo jimmy - 03-08-’15 20:37

There’s definitely been a change in the beach visitor over the years, noticeable to those of us who work in tourist related businesses. Exit the outdoor enthusiast, enter the pool crowd.

ccb - 03-08-’15 21:54

When ORVs start becoming shuttle machines for pedestrians, then you know there isn’t enough pedestrian access and too much ORV excess.

Billfish - 03-08-’15 22:06
salvo jimmy


Did my post say I did the sand shuttle?

That BS try was immeasurably distant.

salvo jimmy - 04-08-’15 06:11
salvo jimmy

And bf,

The shuttling has little to nothing to do with lack of pedestrian access. I see it happening all the time where there is a pedestrian boardwalk, like Ramp 25 or 27.

It has more to do with not wanting to buy a permit and not wanting to walk the distance and haul stuff, even where access is provided.

I also frequently see folks without a permit at such ramps take a chance by driving out, dropping off people and stuff, then return to the parking area. Later to return to the beach and do a pick up.

Nope, it ain’t lack of pedestrian access.

salvo jimmy - 04-08-’15 06:25
Dave H

Stats are most often meaningless without the full context of their development, which is rarely forthcoming! NPS and the enviros cherry pick the stats to support whatever new program or restriction they are trying to force down our throats.

Dave H - 04-08-’15 07:00

Drive, drive, drive. How about a 30ft wide walking corridor to the Point. One young oyster catcher has ruined many folks vacation by stopping access to the most beautiful place on the island. It’s time and everyone damn well knows it! And why is the area behind ramp 45 closed to walking with nothing there? Has anyone on earth ever stepped on a flying bird?

Ricky - 04-08-’15 07:41

Salvo and CCb have it …eventually folks will get tired of driving here to swim in a pool . The towns besides the full timers will be strewn with empty , over grown palaces … in 30 years or so the Islands should look like they did back in the 60’s . It’s Mom nature …she’ll take it back . Shame … gotta go back to that famous line “ can’t we all just get along “ .
PS . You folks gotta stop falling into that rabbit snare that BF lays out there all the time .

diver531 - 04-08-’15 08:24

It should be abundantly clear that the VFAs have never been and economic problem, period. There is not any data to suggest otherwise. There are a handful of disgruntled ORVers who claim they don’t buy their permit or vacation in the Park because of VFAs. The number of issued ORV permits and visitation to the Park strongly suggest there is no validity to their claim.

Not sure what the glitch was or is but this is part of a rebuttal that was submitted but not published on a previous IFP Op-Ed.

“Back in 2000’s economic heydays the south beach was closed to vehicles from a little south of ramp 49 to ramp 59 for narrow beach and had been that way for years. The beach from a spot north of the Haulover (ramp 38 area) all the way to ramp 43 was closed for narrow beach. There were areas on Ocracoke, Bodie Island and Avon village that were also closed to ORVs year round for narrow beach. No economic problems! If vehicles were able to drive to Cape Point, Hatteras Inlet, South Point and Bodie Island Spit 99% of fishermen and beach goers wouldn’t care about the VFAs, probably just Cape Point alone. Going after the VFAs is purely vindictive and selfish.

The malcontents cause more economic problems with the hype and misinformation about the Park for their own selfish personal reasons than all the VFAs combined ever did”

PH - 04-08-’15 09:57

One creative approach could include the use of beach shuttles and water taxis in order to ensure access while avoiding the environmental impact of individual ORV use on the beach. This could be a win-win and would guarantee greater access to all, including the elderly and people with disabilities.

Billfish – 01-03-’15 11:27

Looks like Billfish was for beach shuttles before he was against them.

The hypocrisy of the anti-ORV side is astounding.

TADA - 04-08-’15 10:34

Could it be that the ORVs are shuttling pedestrians because the pedestrian areas are too hard to get too, and not walkable from the parking lots, especially for elderly or handicapped beachgoers? It’s hard enough to drag all your beach and fishing gear if you are in the best of physical shape. A lot of the beach has been put off limits to the physically challenged.

Marty - 04-08-’15 10:48

I suggested beach shuttles when individual ORV use is discontinued. There is no hypocrisy here. Please re-read your quoted material.
Special accommodation is allowed for those with disabilities, just like within all federal lands. That does not mean special ORV access should be built down the Grand Canyon, or along the Appalachian Trail, or to the front door of the Washington Monument.

Billfish - 04-08-’15 12:46

Beach people unite! Keep the one percent of ORV beach drivers from taking the beach away from the 99 percent of other beach goers.
It’s time to increase vehicle free areas for the ninety nine percent of beach goers, the ones who walk to the beach and enjoy the beach and leave their SUV on the asphalt.. We the beach people demand more truck free beach and more pedestrian access for the 99 percent of beach goers.

Billfish - 04-08-’15 13:12

PH, please stop being dishonest. It is abundantly clear that the newly established VFAs are an economic problem, period. There is plenty of data available, every tackle shop and every beach supply store will tell you their business has been slowed in the shoulder seasons. The VFAs between Avon and Salvo alone have been a big issue in the fall season, tackle shops complain of a huge drop in business and they directly attribute to the closure of the popular fishing spots between Avon and Salvo.

I would accept some VFAs in the summer months, but these need to be open in the spring/fall for those of us that have been fishing these areas our entire lives. There is no good reason for these areas to be closed year round!

AnonVisitor - 04-08-’15 15:01

If the VFAs were an economic issue today they would have been years ago. Stop making an issue out of something that is not and has never been a problem. Anybody who had been here long enough knows this to be true. I doubt anyone canceled their fall vacation because of the VFAs. The fall season will be fine as long as nature and weather cooperates.

PH - 04-08-’15 18:23

Billfish, what’s your explanation why the Point will not open to walking? Park says one 35 day old oystercatcher chick stays in a ten foot on the Point. Even by your standards, isn’t this getting a little weird?

Ricky - 05-08-’15 06:56


There was no mention of “discontinued individual ORV use” in your previous sanctioning of shuttles, so hypocrisy is definitely in play here.

BTW, beach driving isn’t going anywhere in our lifetimes, so might as well suck it up and get used to reality.

So, what do you think about the dismal year for the plovers? If the Final Plan giveth, then it also taketh away, no?

TADA - 05-08-’15 09:18

“And Mike,
bf has ignored the one permitted vehicle making 4 – 6 trips from the parking area ferrying over car loads of folks without a permit. He’s also a troll having been trying for about a month to get a bite on this BS idea.
salvo jimmy – 03-08-’15 18:26”

Which also inflates the amount of ORV use or trips.

“I would accept some VFAs in the summer months, but these need to be open in the spring/fall for those of us that have been fishing these areas our entire lives. There is no good reason for these areas to be closed year round!
AnonVisitor – 04-08-’15 15:01”

There you go 3-4 months of VFAs probably only in front of the villages the rest of the year all the beach open to vehicles. At least AV is honest about it.

PH - 05-08-’15 14:50

Billfish, I love your message!! Yes, keep the trucks on the asphalt. We want quiet beaches.

SPA - 05-08-’15 15:05

I believe in as much pedestrian access as possible, but support restrictions, which will hopefully be studied and reviewed more and permit even more pedestrian access. I believe in zero ORV access because a few tons of intrusiveness per vehicle can easily mess up the dry sand with ruts, make walking more difficult, increase sound and sight pollution and generally create negative conditions for the 99 percent of beach goers. How we allowed 30,000 permit holders spread bad press and push around millions of national park advocates and beach goers is beyond belief. Ban it. End it. Move on with 21st century conservation.
The 99 percent is officially sick and tired of the whole deal.

Billfish - 05-08-’15 16:25

More chicken little.

A bad year (which is to be expected) and Irene wants to ignore the fact that since the Consent Decree, Cape Point has averaged 1.3 chicks/pair (6) per year. As good if not better than some of the locations not at the southern end of the range (not that there’s one single study which shows a correlation between productivity and location within breeding range for any species, much less the plover).

One wonders if the fledge rate triples next year, if she’ll write a headline: The Piping Plover Ascension

FKAA - 05-08-’15 18:51

I wonder if SPA has ever walked out to the point?

ccb - 06-08-’15 08:37

WE CAN COEXIST. The birds and turtles can thrive while people access the beach, but the NPS can’t or won’t figure out how to do it.
Just putting a cage over the nest, closing the beach to everyone, and killing predators is NOT working. We have listened to the NPS say over and over that they are legally required to protect the resources, but look at the data. 40% of sea turtle nests lost every year. Dismal bird productivity with less than 10% surviving to fledge. Is the NPS really protecting the resource or just furthering an agenda? A simple look at the lack of their successes tells you they are furthering an agenda, because there is no course correction, just $500,000 birds while the community struggles to survive.

Maybe the NPS should stop being so divisive, lazy, and incompetent. Open the beaches up and protect the resource. Rather than losing 40% of sea turtle nests every year, how about relocating those nests so they are not lost and people can access the beach? Seems like fulfilling their dual mandate to me but then again I am not an environmental lawyer.
Rather than use their failed padlock management technique, how about some habitat management/adaptive management so the birds can be productive and people can access the beach? Seems like fulfilling their dual mandate to me but again, I am not an environmental lawyer.

No where have I seen an address of the NPS themselves. Most governmental agencies have a long history of doing nothing to very little, and further expanding their workforce and budget to the expense of the taxpayer. Anyone can see this is exactly what is happening at CAHA. More money to the NPS via permits, more techs, more rangers, and less service to the public. Lest we not forget the revolving door of NPS employees from the top to the bottom ensuring what gains are made via relationships are made in vain as they are only here for a year or two then gone.

Woodpecker - 06-08-’15 12:20

Nice try FKAA.

As the trends show, and as with most any other types of wildlife, breeding success is cyclical. And nothing we as humans do; from closures, trappings, and monitoring; makes a hill of beans of difference in the success.

If you want to continue to portray yourself as the cat covering scat on the marble floor, be my guest.

This plover farce at Hatteras and Lookout is losing ground quickly.

Dood - 06-08-’15 12:25

If the plover rate ‘triples’ next year, there will be 6.

ccb - 06-08-’15 21:38

So Dood I guess your alright with fire lighting for deer and doing away with all game and fishing regulations, or at least for ,“most wildlife”.

It would be my guess that nesting shorebird’s primary problems are directly linked to humans via: habitat destruction, increased carrying capacity for shorebird predators and the introduction of non-native predators.
It is too early to tell if the park’ s mitigation efforts have helped. There have always been ups and downs to shorebird’s breeding success due to natural changing environmental conditions (weather). Shorebird biology adapted to that (quite successful) for 100’s of years. The recent changes, whatever they might be, have proved devastating.

PH - 07-08-’15 07:09

Again…one 40 plus day old oystercatcher chick, that flies quite well, has a very large area of one of the most popular places in the Park closed to walking……STILL! If your Park allows this issuse to go this far, you poor people on Hatteras don’t have a chance. The new Park superintendent has nothing new for Hatteras Island. Billfish, you win.

Ricky - 07-08-’15 08:39
Pat Avon

I am disabled and have bought a permit but only went to the beach 2 times so far, the ruts are to bad, also all you walkers were do you think all thee money comes from to pay for you walkways and parking comes from? Do you pay a FEE? Ww ORV people do. If you want it your way were is the money? so shut your mouth or put up……

Pat Avon - 07-08-’15 10:27

ccb, when I walk over the sand dunes I want to see only mother nature. That’s why I live on HI.

SPA - 07-08-’15 14:40

Sure is interesting that the ORV management plan mandates that the point stay closed for TWO WEEKS AFTER THE BIRDS FLEDGE. Insult to injury, plain and simple, but commonplace action for a lazy, incompetent NPS that prefers the padlock management technique to actual resource management which is highly dynamic and labor intensive. Add that to the fact that Cape Point and other important recreation areas have been closed since early April and this is the first week of Aug. Not only do we have $500,000 birds out there, everything the NPS has said and done to “protect” these resources is a failure. Is the NPS liable for the obvious adverse and negative impacts to PIPL, AMOY, LETE, they are legally mandated to protect? Is the NPS liable to the public for providing access and the community they promised would have access to the beach and an economy to sustain themselves? When does the public take the NPS to task for its failure in their legal mandate, and by extension the congressionally mandated access improvement initiatives? Maybe this could be fixed by the NPS in the new modifications congress has mandated?
Another good point is why do Pedestrians get free parking and free access when this is NOT the policy at many other national seashores? This is another very good revenue stream for the NPS because everyone knows they need more money, rangers, resource people, ect ect ect like they always do. Seeing as the NPS has billion dollar maint backlogs maybe they should stop giving people free rides while asking others to fund it all via the only permit in the park? This is highly inappropriate by the NPS, and they should know better, but with what the NPS has already gotten away with, why not keep pushing? Its not like they have had any resistance so far? I think Ricky maybe right, the “new” super is just more of the same Murraylike figurine and Hatteras has no hope because of the NPS and their complete failures…

Woodpecker - 07-08-’15 15:12

Pat sorry that you are disabled and the ruts are so bad I have found them unexceptable for years and they are a big reason why I like the VFAs.
I’m not disabled but I am glad to pay taxes that support public access for the disabled. Anyone is allowed pedestrian access on the new ramps including those that bought an ORV permit and those that didn’t. Don’t the NPS ramps have some disabled structures built too? I hope you are not suggesting that the Park charge all visitors a fee to use the beach.

PH - 07-08-’15 15:16
ghost crab

Fascinating that when bird numbers were going up, that was never a sign of a trend for ORV advocates. Now when there is drop in fledglings the plan must be a failure? Logical fallacy, much? First, note that there is a record number of breeding pairs this year. Also, Hatteras just set another record for turtle nests.

ghost crab - 07-08-’15 16:20

The 30,000 or so ORV permits shows how small, yet demanding, this special interest group of recreational beach drivers really is. It’s time to put this group into perspective regarding appropiate amount of beach access and where it should be. The fact is yearly visitorship is up while the so-called economy-busting VFAs and wildlife restrictions are in full force. Additionally, beach pedestrians vs ORV drivers and passengers is in the upper 90 percentile. Yet ORV drivers demand up to 100 percent of the beach at some time throughout the year, even though they make up such a small user group compared to people who walk to the beach. Personally, I’m for a full ban on beach driving because of the sound and sight pollution and every tire rut that walkers have to stumble through. Just remember, if you are driving by a pedestrian, they really wish you weren’t there. It’s time stop messing with the millions of beach goers that actually drive the HI economy.

Billfish - 07-08-’15 17:57

Ph / NPS ….why is it fair/acceptable to have the ORV’ers pay a permitting fee but not the pedestrians who use the same access points ? It’s asinine ! It was put in place to deter ORV’ers yet pedestrians are the ones benefitting from all the cash !!!!!!

diver531 - 08-08-’15 09:40


Sorry, but even if you lived on HI in the 1930’s you saw vehicles mixed with Mother Nature when you walked over the dune.

And they’ll be there in the 2030’s and beyond.

TADA - 08-08-’15 11:09

I think think the American population would safely side on the belief of more control because going this way would more like avoid the possibility of losing “nature” than the other. That’s the fight, and it’s a tough one for all.

No one is wrong. No one is right. And in the end, we could all just be re-shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. A special thanks to those who served.

billfish – 26-05-’13 14:56

Free and open access resulted in some really nasty consequences because many visitors own 4×4s as a daily driver and wanted to cruise the beach because they could. It was free. It was open. And yes, it was a mess. It’s somewhat better now. And of course, neither side is really happy with the outcome.

I believe it is time to let things go and thank NPS for its tremendous contribution in managing our national seashore. Our rangers deserve far better treatment and respect for keeping America’s treasure safe.

billfish – 28-10-’14 23:56


In a little over 2 year’s time you’ve gone from “No one is right, no one is wrong” and “I believe it’s time to let things go…” to “I believe in zero ORV access…”, and “Ban it. End it.”

What changed, and when did you abandon the NPS-based science that shows ORV’s have no significant impact on the seashore and decide to go with your “beliefs” instead?

TADA - 08-08-’15 12:13
salvo jimmy

So bf, why are the pedestrians not flocking to the VFAs?

salvo jimmy - 08-08-’15 13:32
Denny in Dayton

I’ll just cut to the quick. The visitation numbers are phoney. Anyone ever read the formula? a
You would have to be an idiot to think they are accurate (BF?) They basically count vehicles up at Whalebone, add some numbers on ferry vehicles (not passengers), make up how many planes and boats there were, very little actually people counting. If you are staying in the park, take the ferry south and returned you are counted again. Day trip north, same thing. Just Google the formula, it’s a joke.

An annual permit often has many visits through the year. The one on my families Durango can have as many as 60 visitors a year. This is pure junk science.

Here is part of the formula:

Recreation Visits
1. An inductive loop traffic counter is located on Highway 12 at the junction of old U.S. 158 at the
park entrance. The traffic count is reduced for non-recreation traffic by multiplying the traffic count by
the non-recreation adjustment factor in Table 1. The reduced traffic count is multiplied by the
recreation persons-per-vehicle (PPV) multiplier in Table 2.
2. The number of registered hunters.
3. The number of aircraft observed at Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island is multiplied by the
persons-per-plane multiplier of 2.5.
4. The number of vehicles arriving on Ocracoke Island by ferry is multiplied by the recreation PPV
multiplier in Table 2.
5. The number of overnight boats is multiplied by the persons-per-boat (PPB) multiplier of four.
· If the traffic counter is inoperable, estimate the traffic count by using Table 4
Non-Recreation Visits
1. An inductive loop traffic counter is located on Highway 12 at the junction of old U.S. 158 at the
entrance to the park. The traffic count is reduced for recreation traffic by multiplying the traffic count by
the recreation adjustment factor in Table 1. The reduced traffic count is multiplied by the nonrecreation
PPV multiplier in Table 2.
2. The estimated number of non-recreation overnight boats is multiplied by the PPB multiplier of

Are they serious? Best part “if the counter is broken use the chart to estimate the count”. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Denny in Dayton - 08-08-’15 13:46
Denny in Dayton

And BF about your comment: “Just remember, if you are driving by a pedestrian, they really wish you weren’t there.”

Odds they really wish they had a 4×4 and had bought a permit. Saw a group walk to the top of the dune on ramp 44 today thinking they were going to walk out there, take a look at how far it was, turn around and walk back. (they were carrying beach gear)

Where’s your Moses now?

Denny in Dayton - 08-08-’15 13:55

Blindfish, is just trolling. Looking to get negative reaction. Dream on my little delusional friend.
Spring 2004 I gave some “birders” a ride from the Point, they flagged me down and asked me for a ride back to the parking lot, they couldn’t believe their “guide” said it was an easy walk.

AnonVisitor - 08-08-’15 14:57

No Denny I was one of those people you saw, we saw all the ruts and vehicles and decided the old Loran Road was a better place to access the beach we walked down with all our gear and turned back a second time for the same reason. Thanks a lot. Don’t have an ORV and never will again.
However the NPS counts visitors ect as long as it is done consistently year to year then it is accurate.

PH - 08-08-’15 15:48

The ORV fight to invade VFAs and village beaches. This selfish and unreasonable move from a small special interest group speaks for itself. No wonder off-roading is being banned acoss so many public parks and beaches in America and around the world. This will continue—and it should.

Billfish - 08-08-’15 16:00


Cyclical? There’s no evidence or published lit that would suggest plover productivity is cyclical. What mechanism is making plover productivity cyclical in your expert opinion? Note too, plover probably haven’t been monitored long enough to determine any such cyclical behaviors.

While there’s tons of literature showing some populations are cyclical – most famously that of the lynx and snowshoe hare, where one’s decline is followed by the other, and conversely, as hare populations increase, lynx numbers follow – there’s never been such a relationship observed for plover populations and none of available data in the USFWS productivity reports support the claim cyclic mechanisms are involved with productivity.

FKAA - 08-08-’15 16:13
salvo jimmy


“Not exactly” as they use to say in the old Hertz ad.

It just means that they are consistent.

salvo jimmy - 08-08-’15 17:22


Invasion? Hardly. The VFA’s began as ORV routes. It’s the environmentalists who are the invaders.

I’ll ask you and PH this same question:

How many times have you used the south beach VFA between ramps 49 and 45, where did you park, and how did you get there?

And just to remind you, “small special interest groups” regularly find protection under law in our society. Do you often trample the lawful rights of minority groups simply because you don’t agree with them?

Seems you’ve gone from John Lennon to Josef Stalin in a very short time.

TADA - 09-08-’15 08:36

PH could have walked to the point in the water and had it all to themselves. No cars, no ruts and it’s just a ‘short’ hike.

ccb - 09-08-’15 11:04

More than Red Knots depend on horseshoe crab eggs for their diet. Except for the last stronghold of the horseshoe crab in the Delaware bay, horseshoe crab populations have been decimated. Walking the beaches in the 80s and 90s I remember quite a few more horseshoe sheddings than the spat of one here one there as is now commonplace along many east coast beaches in the horseshoe crab’s range. The NPS should look into Moist Substrate Habitat or MOSH and its importance as foraging areas for all CWBs and in particular southern units of PIPL. Assateague Island in MD has their most productive plovers on the bayside and their science suggests a strong correlation to bayside MOSH and productivity of breeding pairs. A big source of this is in Buxton (the ponds), manipulating the water level and vegetation management should go a long way to restoring historically productive breeding areas thereby fulfilling the dual mandate of providing access and prime breeding, rearing, and foraging areas for CWBs.
I also have never heard the words wardens uttered by anyone. Maybe Irene could do a blog on wardens and their effectiveness of protecting the birds while maintaining access, again another dual mandate fulfillment. When do the beaches open back up? December if its anything like last year with the NPS telling us those turtle nests were viable when clearly they could have done more than their do nothing padlock management. That’s right, the most popular recreational beaches still closed, as they have been all spring and all summer, maybe all fall too.
With all these dual mandate fulfillments put forth herein, how can the NPS continue to justify the closed beaches, while bird numbers tank, 40% of sea turtle nests lost, a community relationship tarnished, their economy in shambles, visitation down, recreation down, ect ect ect…

Woodpecker - 09-08-’15 13:00


I don’t want you to pay for an ORV permit fee because I don’t want any new ORV ramps and interdunal roads constructed, maintenance for the ramps, or the extra LEOs to enforce ORV regs (like all taxpayers did for ORV users for years). ORV permit fees legitimizes an activity that I don’t view as appropriate in this day and time. You are not being charged a fee to access the beach, you are paying to drive your vehicle on the beach. You will end up paying 2 fees, an ORV permit and a Park entrance fee.

The idea of charging everyone to use the NPS beach by a entrance fee was brought up by ORV reps at the ORV reg neg meetings. It has been brought up by 3 different posters in this thread alone which suggests to me that this is an active topic and an agenda among the ORV orgs’ membership. I wonder if this is a ploy to gain more ORV access or just a vendetta aimed at pro pedestrian advocates. Whatever the reason it is a bad idea. I am not surprised but still wonder how ORV proponents can suggest charging visitors to access the beach and in the same breath be concerned about the local economy?

SJ if you think there are no pedestrians using these beaches then they are being managed as intended, low visitor density and fauna resting and foraging areas. The VFAs outside of Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras are used by visitors on a regular basis.

PH - 09-08-’15 14:26

The place is packed, no bed, no restaurant seat, no parking lot space is left. Considering the popularity of the seashore, NPS must be doing something right. You are correct about the point being closed during this summer and most likely for decades of future summers. Yet the place is packed because people want to be here and they spend their hard earned money to vacation here. And the point is still closed. Now how can closing the point during the summer destroy an island? It didn’t and won’t next year either.

Billfish - 09-08-’15 14:45

Charge a fee for one you should charge a fee to all. Why should those that choose to walk, shell, fish, ect without an ORV not have to pay for parking and or entrance fees. That’s what they do at other seashores, Cape Cod, Assateague, Fire Island. Why should the largest user group get a free pass? Shouldn’t they at least share in some of the funding improvements/maint. costs? Whether the NPS keeps out ORVs or pedestrians enforcement is the same right? So why should one group pay and not the other? Just looking at the resource violations one can clearly see pedestrians are more of a threat than ORVs and the entrance/parking fees could be used to educate them, thereby reducing the threat and or impact on the sensitive ecosystem they are recreating in.
of course the place is packed in middle august. Its the last time most family vacations take place because of school. I highly doubt most islanders and those north can survive and thrive with just June-Aug. The shoulder seasons are often what makes or breaks them and was/is a big player in the scheme of the local economy . Take away the spring and the fall and there is a serious constraint on the economy. Would you care to address this and the other points I have made above about the NPS fulfilling their dual mandate? After all it is not a wildlife refuge its a national seashore.
We can coexist, but the NPS cant get away from the do nothing padlock management technique.

Woodpecker - 09-08-’15 17:35

We’re talking about the point being closed during summer—owns there’s no overall economic effect this summer. If the shoulder season is bad, it will not be because of the point but because of road closures due to storms. Almost all of the beach will be open for ORVs during shoulder season and most likely the point, too. You make no sense. Thirty thousand or so permit holders don’t make that much statistical difference compared to 2.8 million visitors to the national seashore in 2015. We won’t coexist until ORV access is in proportion to the number of ORV access permit holders. Anything more than a few percent of the beach is out of whack compared to the user base percentages. Personally, I wish NPS would ban all beach driving, but I respect their knowledge and involvement make it a more informed decision-maker than me, and certainly a better decision makers than the naturally biased opinion of self-interested beach drivers.

Billfish - 09-08-’15 20:21

Actually Billfish, the beaches do not reopen until November 1, the shoulder season is over by then. And they close early in the spring, before the shoulder season begins.

Bud - 10-08-’15 07:25


So exactly how many times have you used the South beach VFA, and how did you access it?

BTW, I think narrow-minded environmentalists should be banned from the park, or charged a fee to enter.

TADA - 10-08-’15 07:27


Show me the facts and figures that the shoulder seasons are failing and the data that points to Park management as being the culprit. Make sure you identify and analyze all the variables not just the one that is your pet peeve.

While your taking to the tackle shop owners (and the rest of the small businessmen) about the shoulder season ask them what they think of the NPS charging to access the beaches. Make sure you use their names so some of us can follow up on that. Since the villages are encompassed by the Park explain how is the NPS going to regulate and enforce your beach use permit. Charging a fee for an ORV permit was a bad idea but it is nothing compared to charging for beach access.

And if you want to harp on the pedestrian resource infractions make sure you quantify the ratio of pedestrians to ORVs and the exact nature of the infraction and negative consequences of each specific infraction. Every visitor that access the beach by a vehicle becomes a pedestrian as soon as they step out of the vehicle. I’m pretty sure the one squashed turtle on Ocracoke by a vehicle kind of trumps all the pedestrian infractions combined. And I am guessing most of the pedestrian infractions occur at night near the village beaches when and where vehicles are not allowed on the beach.

There is nothing I can do to make you understand that resource protection takes precedent over recreation concerning the dual mandate, It doesn’t mean that I am not for better access or that the Park couldn’t do a better job of protecting the resources and providing access. I am all for resource modifications that protect the resource and improves all types of access.

The historical precedent of a handful of locals using the ocean beach as access to get to the ferry at OI and to commercial fish and an even smaller number of visiting rec fishermen is not in the same ballpark as today’s ORV use. The VFAs are the only thing that protect the historical perspective of when and why CHNS was established. That attribute is also part of the dual mandate. It is wrong to think that the far greater portion and part of the year the ocean beach is going to be assigned as one groups’ road and parking lot.

PH - 10-08-’15 07:59

Funny I thought we were talking about the failure of NPS to protect PIPL. You deflect with no facts to back it up. Point closed=no economic benefit? Clearly you do not understand the dynamics of the island economy, that of which access is a major driver, the point being the most popular recreating beach in CAHA. The spring and fall are the shoulder seasons, and you deflecting the cause to the road is another lack of understanding. Mismanagement by the USFWS and the unwillingness to acknowledge the rolling ROW and its integrity is what contributes to a lack of a road through pea island.
Visitation as above from Denny and the fallacy of RTI puts you back in deflecting once again. What about the senate and house passing access improvement legislation signed by the POTUS. So even if the 2.5 million is a real number, which clearly it is not, just a ballpark guess, then you pit that against the majority of the population of the US, again another deflection to falsehoods. What about the specific and direct questions I asked? I suspect it would be more deflection and falsehoods.

Woodpecker - 10-08-’15 10:06

When the NPS published the final rule, access proponents were told that they had no choice but to make concessions, accept and deal with the changes.

Now the NPS is making changes as mandated by congress, and the environmentalists views have changed from “deal with it” to “ban it”.

Their new-found honesty is refreshing, and it finally proves that it’s never been about the birds and turtles.

TADA - 10-08-’15 11:30

Woodpecker, The only assured truth is an outcome as it stands at this very moment. This very moment has ORV restrictions in place. And there you have it, everything stripped to its basic truth. Welcome to reality. There is also no yearly downturn in overall visitorship. Welcome to reality again. Off-roading at public parks and seashores nationwide have been banned more so than any time in US history. Welcome to reality once more. The enabling legislation takes prescidence by law, even in terms of the dual mandate. Now that’s the real world unless you live on Mars. Piping plovers are just one of many reasons ORVs are banned on public parks and beaches nationwide. There’s sound pollution, sight pollution, turtles, endangerment to the general public,
expense, killing of various flora and fauna and greater pedestrian access
created for difficult to reach areas. By the way, if it’s so hard to reach the beach on HI, how come the road keeps being moved back for fear of falling in the ocean. Cape Hatteras has to be one of the nation’s skinniest national parks. It’s even a longer walk to the Jefferson Memorial than to the beach. If a kindergarten class can make the walk, I’m sure sportsmen and outdoorsmen can do the same, with exceptions made for people with disabilities. Here’s another reality. The 21st century is here right now and today’s young people are the most environmentally aware and active generation in history. You ain’t seen nothing yet. In the end, toes will be on the beach and trucks will be on the asphalt. Recreational driving on the beach will be a thing of the past and the new generation of surf fisherman will continue to realize the joy of going light instead of hanging onto last century’s antiquated beliefs of needing 6000 pounds of rolling steel and another few hundred pounds of equipment to catch a 30 inch drum. Those days are rapidly going the way of shorebird hunting, lead shot and no bag limits. Now that’s the ultimate reality.

Billfish - 10-08-’15 11:39


Congressionally mandated changes are coming to CAHA, and most will roll back restrictions on ORVS and pedestrians.

Besides, beach driving at CAHA is considered a “Cultural and Traditional” activity, and since it is is protected by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, it’s not going anywhere.

Those are the only realities you need to be concerned with.

TADA - 10-08-’15 13:50

You are talking about what was and what could be. I’m talking about what is—the reality of the present moment. Want proof? Try to drive to the point. Beyond that, you could be right, but I personally doubt it because it would require a reversal in the nationwide trend of greater off-road restrictions on public land. I suggest you re-read the congressional mandate, which requires any changes to adhere to existing laws and the discretion of NPS planning and management realities.

billfish - 10-08-’15 14:44


Plover counts are down, mandated changes are coming to CAHA, and beach driving isn’t going away, no matter how much you wish it would.

So, how many times have you used the south beach VFA, where did you park and how did you get there?

TADA - 10-08-’15 15:32

I just attended the NPS Scoping session at Buxton and I was disappointed at the cheeky and snarky responses by Hallac. I am not expecting any real changes in ORV access. Unfortunately, Billfish’s response represents the NPS/DOW/SELC/Audubon attitude toward this required exercise….that being to feign consideration and compromise with the beach access crowd. I rectum, we have been scoped!

lowtide - 10-08-’15 20:44

Ph you make this statement “ I am not surprised but still wonder how ORV proponents can suggest charging visitors to access the beach and in the same breath be concerned about the local economy?” So your saying that if the pedestrians are charged their gonna stop coming to Hatteras and stop shopping in the stores ??? Didn’t seem to affect the 30k ORV drivers . Here’s an idea and probably some sort of arse whooping : Why not establish a 4×4 shuttle bus of sorts to traverse the Hatteras beach’s out to the point . Like they do in Corolla to see the horses ? Charge a minimal fee , open roof for poles , handicap accessable , j-hooks on the sides for chairs and no seats in half ….just sit on your coolers . The military sells those big sand vehicles cheap …would open up a few avenues for local business . As for the NPS boundries , they’ll be set for turtles and birdies and the fisher-folks can get back to the point year round , run it 10 times a day out and 10 times back for starters . Could alleviate a few headaches . Be gentle ….was just an idea ! lol

diver531 - 10-08-’15 20:50

PH, Billfish,

You don’t have to be a statistician to see that the spring and fall is off and closures are most likely the culprit. Close the beach and take away the main reason for visitation. Who closes the beach, that’s right the NPS, there is your correlation. My conversations with islanders are none of any one’s business, and if they want to post here I am not stopping them.
Nor am I LEO and therefore have no idea how to enforce it, that’s what we pay the NPS for. But being an island I am sure it cant be too hard.
My point/points is that we can coexist, yet I say apples and you say bowling balls. You offer no solutions except close the beach. I think we can recreate side by side with the resources while its clear some desire the “no vehicles, no pedestrians, no pets” padlock management technique that is the preferred alternative of the NPS.

Woodpecker - 10-08-’15 20:54

Take the most popular and best fishing spot away on the outer banks and most likely the east coast and it doesn’t affect anything? The spring shoulder fishing season crowd are gone. The fall shoulder fishing season crowd may or may not be here.

Cape Point should be open, always.

ccb - 11-08-’15 08:08

Dare County tourism dollars exceed 1 billion for first time in history. National seashore yearly visitorship skyrockets to expected 2.8 million.
Y’all are all talk and no numbers. 30,000 or so ORV permits are puny by comparision. Now how much beach do you want? 1-3 percent is generous by the numbers. It was the great recession and washed out roads that caused the previous decline in years past, and ORV restrictions had little or no overall effect. Could it be argued that the overall numbers are up because of restrictions? Now that’s an interesting thought.

Billfish - 11-08-’15 16:00

I’d like to see a breakdown of those tax numbers by town and venue.

ccb - 11-08-’15 23:05


You do realize that Dare Co. includes everything north of the Bonner, right?

You also realize that the UPS delivery truck gets counted as a visitor 4 times daily, right?

As does the FEDEX truck, the Merita bread truck, gasoline delivery trucks, Food Lion trucks, US Postal service trucks, garbage trucks, EMS vehicles, NPS vehicles, LEO vehicles, daily commuter vehicles, school buses, and too many more to name.

Your math is as skewed as the rest of your worldview. Thanks goodness less tyrannical and more objective minds than yours are in positions of power at CAHA.

TADA - 12-08-’15 10:55

You are 100 percent correct. Of course, greater visitorship requires more counted delivery trucks, ambulances, police cars and commuters. But you already knew how to extrapolate for these things, now didn’t you?

Billfish - 12-08-’15 11:31

Not only is everything north of the Bonner up to and including Duck, Dare County, so is Roanoke Island which has lots of touristy stuff as well. And there’s some mainland involved as well, like Stumpy Point. The mainland doesn’t seem to be a big tourist draw, but people move in and out of it constantly, it’s probably counted too.

Marty - 12-08-’15 11:53


To answer your question in a word, no. Increased visitor ship ≠ visitors.

See below:

In the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, park visits (not individual visitors) are determined by electronic traffic counters embedded in the road at key intersections.

Some of the counters were out of order for years, but that changed in 2013. When a counter is not working, the last accurate number is used, which could be several years old.

Three traffic counters were replaced in 2013 at River Road, the routes 739/209 intersection and Millbrook Village in New Jersey. Plus, a new counter has been added at the intersection of Route 209/Bushkill Falls Road. All are counting accurately, said NPS spokeswoman Kathleen Sandt.

Each car is not counted as one visitor. Depending on the location, each car counted is assigned a number of passengers.

At the intersection of routes 739 and 209, each car is multiplied by .08, less than one visitor. But at a traffic counter near Smithfield Beach, each car is multiplied by 6.53 visitors, whether it is a carload of swimmers headed to the beach or a single driver passing through the park.

DWGNRA, (which if you’re like me you’ve never heard of much less been to), was listed as a more visited NP place than Yosemite NP, despite YNP holding the #3 spot of most visited National Parks when DWGNRA doesn’t even make the top 10.

The reason for this impossibility is that the NPS counts “visits” via counting cars on the only highway bridge to cross the Delaware River in this area, just like they do on Rt. 12 at Whalebone Junction, which isn’t even on HI proper.

This is not even sound math, much less sound science.

TADA - 12-08-’15 15:56

The logistics of trying to enforce a permit to get on the beach just about makes this issue a non-sequitur. I would have to assume that if 30,000 visitors bought permits that that must say something about the economy and the shoulder seasons. Let’s table that one.
I think your shuttle bus idea is an excellent one, to bad the ORV orgs continue to shoot down any ideas like that.

Of course we can co exist. Advocating for VFAs is not advocating to close the beaches.

And Billfisher brings up an excellent point about Dare county economics. These indicators could just as easily suggest the VFAs are assets not liabilities. I know I see them as such.

PH - 12-08-’15 16:24


All park entrants could pay their fee exactly as it is done at the Blue Ridge Parkway NPS unit in Va via a tollbooth. Residents and commercial vehicles would have an EZ-Pass. Existing technology, easily installed at the Whalbone welcome center, it would pay for itself in two years tops.

On the subject of VFA’s, how many times have you used the south beach VFA, where did you park, and how did you get there?

TADA - 12-08-’15 18:43

Thanks for the info and Informative link to Park Advocate. By the way,
did you also know this highly respected national thought leader also advocated against greater ORV access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore? Go figure. And thanks again.

Billfish - 12-08-’15 20:10
salvo jimmy

Here ya go ccb

salvo jimmy - 13-08-’15 06:05
Al Adam

Dare County and HI/Ocracoke economies are not the same. Other than the fact that O’coke is in Hyde County….both HI and Ocracoke are the areas feeling the impact of restricted beach access. It may be a small factor of the overall population in those areas but the folks who own fishing related businesses (i.e. everything in the shoulder and off seasons)and the rental home owners who count on shoulder season renters have felt a very big impact. If you don’t like that fact just talk to those impacted by lower sales revenue, shorter work hours or worse, struggles to pay for their investments. Along with surf fishermen these are the real endangered species south of the falling down Bonner bridge! In a country where the government recognizes over 20 genders (fact..don’t ask me!) and ignores the Constitution to favor the tiniest minorities the surf fisherman is ignored. I happen to believe that it is not coincidence that those seeking individual activities, opposed to organized group activities, those seeking rural living and those of strong Christian faith are some of the most endangered species. Plovers, on the other hand, are simply not doing well anywhere regardless of extreme actions to protect them. Short of killing every predator that slips, slides, floats, glides or walks within their nesting range maybe we need to let nature determine their fate! It is becoming obvious that man does not have a big impact on the success or failure of the plover!

Al Adam - 13-08-’15 07:20

Mr. Adams,
I don’t think anyone has an issue with surf fisherman. It’s driving on the beach with six thousand pounds of rolling steel that the 99 percent is against and refuse to participate in. So let me see, you can’t fight the science, can’t fight the economy, can’t fight the increased visitorship, can’t fight the 99 percent…so now you bring Jesus into the ORV equation. Now that’s a new low if I ever heard one. I hope the other 30,000 or so permit holders get you back in line.

Billfish - 13-08-’15 13:03

Good initems siite visits. Looks like HI enjoyed the greatest percentage increase over all the beaches up north. In other words, HI is enjoying the greatest growth margins compared to anyplace on the Outer Banks. Now you know why some of the locals are already planning their monthly winter getaway to locales from the Rockies to the South Pacific.

Billfish - 13-08-’15 14:04

Make that good info on site visits. Sorry for typos.

Billfish - 13-08-’15 14:05


Guess what? The NPA lost that battle, but at least they’re not in favor of an outright ban like some of the more tyrannical in our midst are.

I guess we can add the shady NPS math at DWGNRA to the list of tough questions you won’t address, which includes this one:

How many times have you used the south beach VFA, where did you park, and how did you get there?

I ask this because I’ve requested that it be eliminated in my recently submitted public comment since no one on this forum will admit to ever setting foot in it.

TADA - 13-08-’15 17:06
Al Adam


As much as I hate to honor your drivel with a response your troll has worked. The science is faulty, as you now, the economic impact on much of HI and some businesses specifically is great, as you know, the increased visitor number is discretionary numbers at best, and I have no idea why you keep sighting this mystical 99% unless that is the group of low information voters to which you belong.
As for Jesus, being a fisherman he would want us to have access! Excuse me for evoking Christianity… I should have known that would rub you the wrong way. And by the way, nobody will “get me back in line,” with you the sheeple.

Al Adam - 13-08-’15 17:08
Al Adam

Furthermore BF… aren’t you, once again, trolling on your employers’ nickel?

Al Adam - 13-08-’15 17:10

Mr. Adams,
I’m a sheeple? You sure have been quiet until after the 12th? Of course the NPS doesn’t forget that in quite recent times you called them everything from boot-strapped Nazi’s to being on the take. It didn’t work.
People aren’t stupid.

Billfish - 13-08-’15 19:02

The south beach goes from the hook to hatteras inlet—20 to 30 miles. There’s all kinds of access for all kinds of beach users. Your question makes no sense. You must be from Pennsylvania or Virginia or New Jersey or somewhere.

Billfish - 13-08-’15 20:45

I work at a tourist related business south of Oregon Inlet and our business is down from last year. Other retailers have said the same. The restaurants seem busy but I don’t know if the money spent is down or not, but prices everywhere seem up.

ccb - 13-08-’15 22:13

Billfish, how many times have you used the south beach VFA ?
Where did you park ? How did you get there?

FKAA - 14-08-’15 09:10

Mr. Adams,
I was mistaken. You actually called NPS jack-booted nazis. My mistake on the boot strap post.

Billfish - 14-08-’15 14:17

While I fight Al Adam and Salvo Jimmy tooth and nail and I disagree with what they believe and say, I at least know they are men of their word. I respect them for playing hardball and standing up for themselves and their position on ORV access. Our banter is a way to vent, get ideas across and clash on opinions, and I’m sure the truth gets stretched at times. In turn our crazy debates keeps the community aware and probably draws readers to IFP, which is a good thing. However, if you intentionally impersonated FKAA, then you are a character of a different stripe. You are a childish liar. An old timer here once told me that sooner or later we find out who the thieves and liars are an drive them off the island. If you have any self-respect, it might be time to apologize to FKAA and all the readership here. If not, the old timers truism will come true again. And Mr.Adams and Flyspeck, this does not mean I’m mellowing. It’s still game on, so fight on. Nobody expects anything less.

Billfish - 14-08-’15 15:35

Comment on this blog is closed.
Thank you.

Irene - 14-08-’15 15:48

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