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CHAPA Recommendations to NPS for Changes to Resource Managment Program PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 April 2015 09:24

Section 3057, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area was passed in December, 2014 as part of The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.  Now law, this bill requires the National Park Service (NPS) to review and adjust Wildlife Protection Buffers by June 19, 2015.  Specifically, this section of the law requires that “…buffers are of the shortest duration and cover the smallest area necessary to protect a species, as determined in accordance with peer-reviewed scientific data; and… designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas of the Nations Seashore closed because of wildlife buffers, to allow access to areas that are open.”

NPS is currently developing their plan to implement this legislation and intends to release it to the public before the end of April.

CHAPA’s recommendations were sent to the Superintendent for his consideration on April 10, 2015.  We believe the recommendations offered can be implemented with minimal disruption to the NPS resource management processes already in place at the Seashore.  We also believe our recommendations will balance resource protection and pedestrian / ORV access at the Seashore in a way that is consistent with the intent of the law. We encourage you to read this document.

Representatives from the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA), North Carolina Beach Buggies Association (NCBBA), Cape Hatteras Anglers Club (CHAC), Dare County Commissioners, and Hatteras Island businesses have been engaged in the effort to develop the CHAPA recommendations since the law was passed.  Over the past two months, this group has met with Superintendent Dave Hallac and members of his staff on several occasions to discuss and share ideas about what steps should be taken to meet the intent of the law.  In addition to meeting with the Superintendent and members of his staff, we have also met with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).

Another section of the law titled “Construction of New Vehicle Access Points” states that new vehicle access points and roads should be constructed “…as expeditiously as practicable; and…in accordance with applicable management plans for the National Seashore.”  CHAPA priorities were sent to the Superintendent on March 5.  Following distribution, we met with the Superintendent and members of his staff to discuss.  We are awaiting priority decisions to be announced by the NPS.

NPS has developed a website to track their actions to implement the law as they are announced.  The website is titled “2015 National Defense Authorization Act Actions Update” .  We recommend that you visit this website to be aware of announcements as they occur.

NPS intends to schedule approximately five public meetings to present the changes they intend to make and to gather input immediately after their release of their plan in April.  We will advise you of the dates and locations for those meetings when they become available.

We ask you all to keep informed, to participate in the public meetings, and to make the Park Service aware of your reaction to their actions over the coming weeks and months as the law is implemented.  Public participation and input remain critical to the success of achieving our goals of more reasonable pedestrian and ORV access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 21:50
 
Cape Hatteras Access Legislation Bill Passes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 12 December 2014 22:03

Today, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.  The bill has been forwarded to President Obama for his signature.  Section 3507 within Title 30 of the bill is named the Cape Hatteras Seashore Recreational Area.  This section is the same legislation known as Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act(S. 486) .

The passage of the Cape Hatteras bill represents a major milestone in our fight to properly balance visitor recreational and resource protection goals within the seashore.  It has been a rocky road to navigate, and we thank our membership for their encouragement and support over the years.

We cannot overstate our gratitude to Congressman Jones, Senator Burr, and Senator Hagan for their years of undying commitment to our cause.  We also thank others who have been steadfast in their support of our mission including Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, the Dare County Board of Commissioners and particularly Commissioner Warren Judge.  On multiple occasions over the past six years Commissioner Judge was called to testify before congressional committees which he always did with unmatched passion, conviction and effectiveness.

We must also thank other organizations that have been by our side throughout this effort.  Most notably, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club (CHAC) and the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA) have been instrumental in the formation, funding and guidance of the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Association (CHAPA).  Other organizations such as the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) have provided invaluable counsel and support over the years.

The satisfaction, relief and sense of accomplishment we feel today is tempered by the realization that much work is still ahead to execute the new law and to accomplish its objective.  We believe the legislation establishes requirements and guidelines to the National Park Service that will result in reasonable regulations that will properly balance recreational access and resource protection.  We look forward to working with the NPS and the new superintendent to achieve this objective.

 
Passage of Cape Hatteras Beach Access Bill Likely PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 07 December 2014 19:16

On Thursday, December 4, the House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate H.R. 3979, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.  Included in this bill, and therefore also passing, is section EC 3057 Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.  This section is the same legislation known as Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act (S. 486) which was introduced by Senator Richard Burr (NC) and approved unanimously by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2013.  It is also the same bill that Senator Burr sponsored as an amendment to the unsuccessful Bipartisan Sportsmen’s act which failed to pass the Senate in July 2014.

The Defense Spending Bill was crafted over the past several weeks by a joint Senate / House committee to establish Defense funding levels for the next year.  Senator Burr and Congressman Walter Jones pushed for S. 486 to be included as part of a package of land bills attached to the Defense Authorization Act.  The complete bill was introduced in the House late Tuesday night (December 2) and sailed through with a vote of 300 – 119 on Thursday.

The bill will be debated on the Senate floor this week with a vote expected either late in the week or early the following week.  Odds of Senate passage appear high given the importance of the Defense Spending legislation and the margin of the bi-partisan House vote.  However, we urge everyone to contact their Senators to ask their support.  If you live in North Carolina, it is equally important that you call or email to thank Senator Burr and Senator Hagan for their continued effort to bring this legislation to passage.  Please call or email as quickly as possible since the legislation will likely be considered during the week.

Senate Directory

Letters through U.S. mail will likely not be received before the vote occurs.

Senator Burr’s press release follows:

December 4, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Burr Applauds House Passage of Beach Access Legislation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) applauds the House passage of H.R. 4435, a bill that includes legislation he authored known as the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act (S. 486).  After successful bipartisan negotiations last year, an amended version of Senator Burr’s bill was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  With Senator Burr’s urging, the amended version of S. 486 was included as part of larger legislation that the House of Representatives passed today. The Hatteras legislation will help tourists and sportsmen gain access to North Carolina’s renowned Outer Banks beaches.  The legislation will set rules and parameters for the National Park Service (NPS) to abide by when they consider limiting citizen access to beaches, including off-road vehicle (ORV) access.

Senator Burr has long been an advocate of opening up North Carolina’s beaches to the public, while maintaining the wildlife and scenic beauty and began work on this legislation in 2008. Senator Burr’s hard work has led to ORV access finally being passed by the House and soon by the Senate.

“Interference from outside interest groups and Federal restrictions on beach access have crippled local businesses along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for years – it has impaired the local community and its economy,” Senator Burr said.  “This House vote is a win for North Carolinians and tourists from around the country who wish to visit North Carolina’s scenic treasures. This has been a long journey that required compromise on both sides of the aisle in order to see it through. I feel confident that my Senate colleagues will swiftly pass this legislation and unlock the beauty of North Carolina’s shores.”

New parameters would direct the NPS to minimize buffers on protected areas and keep them in place for the shortest possible duration necessary, designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas that are closed, coordinate with the State of North Carolina when establishing certain buffers, and allow for a public process when considering limiting access in special situations.  The agreement also directs the NPS to construct vehicle access points and roads as expeditiously as possible and report its progress to Congress within one year of the act becoming law.

Groups including the American Sportfishing Association and Congressional Sportsmen Foundation are supporters.

Text of the Bill:

EC. 3057. CAPE HATTERAS NATIONAL SEASHORE RECREATIONAL AREA.

(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
(1) FINAL RULE.—The term ‘‘Final Rule’’means the final rule entitled ‘‘Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Cape Hatteras National Seashore—Off-Road Vehicle Management’’(77 Fed. Reg. 3123 (January 23, 2012)).
(2) NATIONAL SEASHORE.—The term ‘‘National Seashore’’ means the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
(3) SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Secretary’’ means the Secretary of the Interior.
(4) STATE.—The term ‘‘State’’ means the State of North Carolina.

(b) REVIEW AND ADJUSTMENT OF WILDLIFE PROTECTION BUFFERS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall review and modify wildlife buffers in the National Seashore in accordance with this subsection and any other applicable law.
(2) BUFFER MODIFICATIONS.—In modifying wildlife buffers under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall, using adaptive management practices—
(A) ensure that the buffers are of the shortest duration and cover the smallest area necessary to protect a species, as determined in accordance with peer-reviewed scientific data; and
(B) designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas of the National Seashore closed because of wildlife buffers, to allow access to areas that are open.
(3) COORDINATION WITH STATE.—The Secretary, after coordinating with the State, shall determine appropriate buffer protections for species that are not listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), but that are identified for protection under State law.

(c) MODIFICATIONS TO FINAL RULE.—The Secretary shall undertake a public process to consider, consistent with management requirements at the National Seashore, the following changes to the Final Rule:
(1) Opening beaches at the National Seashore that are closed to night driving restrictions, by opening beach segments each morning on a rolling basis as daily management reviews are completed.
(2) Extending seasonal off-road vehicle routes for additional periods in the Fall and Spring if offroad vehicle use would not create resource management problems at the National Seashore.
(3) Modifying the size and location of vehicle free areas.

(d) CONSTRUCTION OF NEW VEHICLE ACCESS POINTS.—The Secretary shall construct new vehicle access points and roads at the National Seashore—
(1) as expeditiously as practicable; and
(2) in accordance with applicable management plans for the National Seashore.

(e) REPORT.—The Secretary shall report to Congress within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act on measures taken to implement this section.

Click here to read the entire 1,648 pages of the National Defense Authorization Act.

 

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PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 May 2014 10:40

Jones Takes Action to Reform Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is taking action to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to prevent the waste of taxpayer money and implementation of unnecessary, economically harmful regulations.  This week, Congressman Jones is cosponsoring seven pieces of legislation that would bring transparency to ESA processes and reduce the law’s impact on economic growth.

 “In Eastern North Carolina, we continue to see the negative economic impact of unnecessary ESA-related regulations,” said Congressman Jones.  “These regulations are often based on suspect science, and they are implemented on top of other federal, state and local management measures that are already adequately protecting the species in question.  The bills that I’ve cosponsored would enact common-sense reforms, bring transparency to ESA listing and litigation procedures, and ensure that the economy and other important factors are fully considered before more unnecessary regulations are put into place.”

 A summary of the legislation that Congressman Jones is cosponsoring follows:

  •  H.R. 1314 – Would prevent special interest groups from bringing unnecessary lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which are settled on the taxpayer dime and often result in action being taken without advice from experts or impacted groups – by amending the ESA to allow input from any person, business, state or local government that would be affected by the settlement of the lawsuit.
  • H.R. 4256 – Endangered Species Improvement Act of 2014 – Would ensure that the federal government counts animals dwelling on both private and federal lands when determining recovery for species listed as threatened or endangered.
  • H.R. 4315 – 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in ESA listing decisions by requiring the data used in making those decisions to be publicly available online.
  • H.R. 4316 – Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in the cost of litigation brought against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the ESA by requiring FWS to report to Congress and make available online the amount of taxpayer money used to respond to lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to litigation, and attorneys fees awarded as a result of lawsuits.
  • H.R. 4317 – State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act – Would require that in making ESA listing decisions, the federal government use scientific and commercial data provided by states, tribes, and local governments that will be affected by the listing, and disclose to those governments what data was used in making the decision.
  • H.R. 4318 – Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act – Would place caps on taxpayer-funded attorneys fees in litigation brought under the ESA, making the law consistent with the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • H.R. 4319 – Common Sense in Species Protection Act – Would require that before issuing a critical habitat designation, the federal government must publish and make available for public comment a comprehensive analysis, taking into account public and private economic effects on land use, property value, employment, and the provision of public services such as water and power.

 For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Last Updated on Monday, 26 May 2014 10:43
 
Red Knot Critical Habitat PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 May 2014 10:17

At the request of Congressman Jones, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior has scheduled a public hearing in Manteo extended the official comment period with regard to the designation of critical habitat for the Rufa Red Knot under the Endangered Species Act.


North Carolina - Alligator National Wildlife Refuge

Visitor Center

100 Conservation Way

Manteo, NC 27954

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Public Information Session

7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Public Hearing



The designation of critical habitat can have significant impact on how public land may be used.  Dare county has been directly affected by critical habitat designation for the piping plove and for loggerhead sea turtles in the past.

Many important public areas within Dare County as well as within other coastal North Carolina counties are included in the proposed designation.
The OBPA urges all residents and visitors to become familiar with the proposed regulation and to submit comments.
Click this link to review regulatory documents and submit comments prior to the June 15, 2014 deadline.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 12:36
 
Seashore Night Driving Restrictions Go Into Effect May 1st PDF Print E-mail
Written by Frank Folb   
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:07

National Park Service News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DATE:  April 30, 2014

CONTACT: Cyndy M. Holda, Public Affairs Specialist, 252-475-9034

 

 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Night Driving

Restrictions Go Into Effect May 1st

 

Superintendent Barclay Trimble reminds park visitors that night beach driving restrictions for ORV use on Seashore ocean beaches go into effect Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.  From May 1 – September 14, ORV routes on ocean beaches are closed to ORVs from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during the sea turtle nesting season.  Beginning September 15 to November 15, 2014, ORV routes will reopen when there are no sea turtle nests remaining on that route or portion of the route.

 

In addition, from May 1 to November 15, beach fires are limited to the following ocean beaches in front of:

  • Coquina Beach parking lot
  • The villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras
  • Ocracoke Day Use area

 

In general, fires are allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and a fire permit is required.  To obtain the free beach fire permit, visit one of the three ORV permit offices, any of the park campgrounds or visitor centers, or available on-line at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/beach-fire-permit.  The beach fire permit is valid only when a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) is present.  Fires, no greater than 3 feet in diameter, may be ignited and maintained seaward of the ocean dune, below the high tide line and at least 50 feet from any vegetation.  Fires cannot be left unattended and must be completely extinguished (cold to touch) upon termination of use.  Clean area of all trash before leaving the beach and remember the “pack in/pack out” practice of leaving national seashore beaches in a clean and safe condition for the next visitor.

 

As the turtle nesting season proceeds, park visitors will encounter localized sea turtle nest protection areas.  These areas are posted on-site and closed to ORVs, pedestrians, and pets.

Fireworks and metal detectors are prohibited.  Pets must be on leashed at all times.

 

For further information, please call (252) 473-2111 or check http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm

 
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The OBPA is a not-for-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) IRS designation.  Donations are tax deductible.

 
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NCBBA Donates $10,000 to CHAPA to fight for Access 11/21/2013



Jim Keene, NCBBA Director (center) presents a check to John Couch (L), OBPA President and David Scarborough (R). OBPA Treasurer in the amount of $10,000.00 to be used by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) in the continuing fight for free and open beaches.



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