Cape Hatteras National Seashore Implements ORV Rules, Fees, Fines

A hotly debated off-road-vehicle management plan has been put in place at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where you need to obtain a permit to drive on the beaches as park managers strive to protect threatened and endangered species.

While a lawsuit has been filed in a bid to keep the Park Service from enforcing the management plan, so far no block has been issued against the plan.

Seashore officials describe the plan as a way to "protect and preserve the unique natural and cultural resources of this dynamic barrier ecosystem while permitting the use of vehicles on Seashore beaches and provide a variety of safe visitor experiences while minimizing conflicts among various users."

Under it, ORV drivers who intend to drive onto the beaches must purchase and display a special use permit and stay on designated ORV routes. While the ORV plan took effect February 15, Seashore officials are giving ORV drivers until March 15 to obtain their permits.

Individuals in ORVs on the beach without an ORV permit (weekly or yearly) will be contacted by park rangers and advised of the permit requirement and where to obtain the permit. If the same operator is contacted a second time during the transition period, they may be issued a written warning. If contacted a third time during the transition period, they may be issued a violation notice. Failure to obtain a permit is considered a petty offense under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Persons issued a violation notice have the option of appearing in U.S. District Court or paying the $150.00 fine by mail.
Motorists can obtain ORV permits at the Coquina Beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (Buxton), and the Ocracoke Visitor Center. The permit offices are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., year-round, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, with expanded hours on weekends and holidays during the summer season. The cost of an annual permit (valid for the calendar year) is $120. A 7-day ORV permit (valid from the date issued) costs $50.

Seashore crews have installed posts on the beaches to distinguish between the designated ORV routes and the vehicle free areas where recreational ORV use is prohibited, and new regulation information signs were installed at ORV ramps.

Now that the routes are marked and signs are installed, NPS rangers will enforce compliance with the designated routes and other ORV requirements, such as the 15 mph speed limit. The interactive Google Earth map on the park website has been updated to show current access status on the designated ORV routes and vehicle free areas.

For more information about the regulation and its requirements, the NPS has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions information sheet and a map showing designated ORV routes as well as pedestrian areas where ORVs are not authorized.

Comments

Oh - this comment section is going to get interesting very quickly.

y_p_w, What makes you say a thing like that ;-)

These fees collected pay for access to nowhere. The NPS states these fees are how the new parking lots for pedestrians will get built as well as Ramps for beach ORV access. I am willing to bet the parking lots show up first...
Please refer to the above mentioned maps and cross reference to the prenesting closures and then let me know how much access will be there next month! Then cross check once more at the height of breeding season with the 20 or so threatened birds on the entire island...
As with everything our government does there is no guarentee to access with the purchase of this permit. During the busy season I assure you there will be many days of overly congested beaches feeding the enviro-nuts more ammunition to show how they can segregate one form of access while promoting the version that seems to cause the most harm.

Enviro-nut!!! I've been called worse!!LOL

For a place with little industry, what a shame to put animals before humans.
Some of These humans have lived there for generations. There is little industry besides fishing and tourism there.
The closures have affected the tourism. That is a black and white fact. Businesses are closing, people are leaving or contributing to the increasing levels of unemployment. If anyone here has not been to these beaches and witnessed the care and respect shown especially by the fishing community, I would suggest taking a look before you cast your vote.
Remember this is a National Recreation Area. Not a National Park
Please sign this petition to support getting these closures removed.
http://www.change.org/petitions/the-us-senate-remove-the-orv-rule-and-provide-free-and-open-access

CHNS is not a recreation area. There are 18 national recreation parks and 10 national seashore administered by the NPS. CHNS is one of the 10 national seashores. The NPS dropped, "and Recreation Area" when referring to this park years ago. ORV access advocates use the amended antiquated name Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Recreation Area erroneously believing that by referring to the National Seashore as a recreation area it grants them ORV access privileges.

The economic indicators for Dare County and Hatteras Island don’t suggest economic collapse. ORV advocates pontificate that the Park’s ORV plan has or will cause economic collapse of Hatteras Island and hype local economic collapse as a way to further their special interest, ORV access.

THE NPS received a large number of written comments indicating that ORV use in the National Seashore (in addition to resource concerns) constitutes recreational conflicts for visitors who want to recreate on beaches that are not ORV routes.

The Park’s recent ORV plan is an attempt to address those concerns by establishing vehicle free zones in the selected ORV plan. ORV organizations continue to be highly critical of and lobby against vehicle free zones in the park.