Shooting The Breeze


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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A conversation with the park superintendent

Monday 08 June 2009 at 5:24 pm Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Mike Murray is the most accessible park leader that I have covered in 18 years of reporting news on Hatteras and Ocracoke.

You may agree with the actions he takes or the direction in which he takes the seashore – or you may not.  Some think Murray is held hostage by the Department of Interior solicitors who have more to say than he does about the management of the seashore – especially after environmental groups filed a lawsuit over off-road vehicle access on the seashore in 2007.

But the fact remains that this man is accessible by phone and by e-mail, really seems to endorse transparency in park actions, and has remained calm and patient despite all the grief that has come his way since he took over as superintendent in December, 2005. Indeed, he has been squeezed by ORV access groups, environmental groups, lawyers, business people, residents, and who knows who else, and he always remains poised, answering questions – some quite ill-informed -- with respect  and as much detail as he can.

Granted that this is his job, but I think, he is good for the seashore.

Murray has been meeting with local reporters in “media roundtables” since the beginning of his administration in the park.  We meet about three or four times a year.  Sometimes he calls us to meet, and sometimes we call him to remind him it’s time to meet.

Sometimes, there’s a lot on his agenda and on ours.  Sometimes, not. Read More

More ramp closures put the big squeeze on Hatteras beaches

Tuesday 02 June 2009 at 10:20 am Fewer than 10 miles of beach on Hatteras Island are now open to off-road vehicles.

That’s fewer than 10 miles on the island’s more than 50 miles of shoreline.

And much of the beach that is closed to ORVs is also closed to pedestrians.

These are resource closures – areas that are closed to protect nesting shorebirds and colonial waterbirds.

The northern end of Hatteras – about 13 or so miles – is part of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and is off limits to ORVs all year.

The beaches in front of the villages are closed to ORVs as part of the usual summer safety closures to protect pedestrians.

Ramp 23 south of Salvo was closed yesterday for breeding least terns. Read More

More on the Memorial Day weekend

Friday 29 May 2009 at 3:08 pm After I posted my May 26 report on the Memorial Day weekend, I got comments – online and in conversations -- that are worth noting.

Several of the folks who commented agreed that the weather was beautiful and the beaches were not overly crowded.  However, they think the beaches aren’t crowded because there are not as many visitors on the islands.

That could be correct, but it’s hard to tell now.

A check of the Web sites of the major rental companies on the island shows that all are offering hundreds of “specials” right through the summer season when the companies have had bookings of close to 100 percent in the past.

One rental company executive told me 10 or 15 years ago that “you could rent a rock on Hatteras Island” in July.

Well, this year, you apparently will not have to settle for a “rock.”  There are discounts on many cottages, and most of them seem to be the larger, pricier places.  Some of the discounts are $1,000 a week or more in the prime, mid-summer season. Read More