Shooting The Breeze

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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

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Jones' bill to overturn consent decree gets first Democratic co-sponsor

Monday 03 August 2009 at 4:32 pm In my blog last Friday, I wrote about beach access issues, including Dare County’s efforts to get Democratic co-sponsors for HR 718 to overturn the consent decree under which the National Park Service has managed seashore beaches since April of 2008.

Walter Jones, R-N.C., introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives last January.

As of last week, he had six co-sponsors, all Republicans. Read More

There's lots of activity of beach access issues

Friday 31 July 2009 at 4:08 pm As we head into August, beach access issues are on our minds even more than usual.

The bird nesting season is winding down and favorite beaches that have been closed for three months or more are re-opening to off-road vehicles and pedestrians. Cape Point re-opened for vehicles on Wednesday, July 29.

The turtles are still nesting – 86 in all on the seashore as of this week.  Many of these closures are being expanded as the nest hatch window approaches, but many of the expanded nests allow ORV and pedestrian access behind the expansions.

There are two dates coming up to mark on your calendar.  

The Outer Banks Preservation Association, which supports free and open beach access, will have it annual meeting on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club in Buxton.

And on Sunday, Sept. 6, the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance, a consortium of beach access groups, will sponsor a barbecue and dance at the Fessenden Center in Buxton to raise money for legal fees to defend open access.  The barbecue is from noon until 10 p.m. and the dance will be at a soon-to-be-announced time in the evening.

And, last but not least, county officials spent several days this week in Washington, D.C., trying to get more support – especially among Democrats – for legislation that would nullify the consent decree that now rules ORV use and the seashore and return management to the National Park Service under the Interim Protected Species Plan. Read More

Jonathan Jarvis' confirmation hearing was only slightly interesting

Tuesday 28 July 2009 at 5:13 pm President Barack Obama’s nominee to become director of the National Park Service appeared before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this morning for a confirmation hearing.

Jonathan Jarvis, who is currently director of the park’s Pacific West Region, is a biologist with 33 years of service with the Park Service.  He’s a Virginia native, who grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and graduated from the College of William and Mary.

There were few surprises at the hearing – other than North Carolina’s Republican Sen. Richard Burr, a committee member and also the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on National Parks, was not present to grill Jarvis on the situation with off-road vehicles at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Burr’s spokesman, David Ward, said that Burr met with Jarvis last Friday and that Burr would be submitting at least two questions to Jarvis for the record, including a question about whether Jarvis will work to ensure that the community has access to the seashore beaches. Read More