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mortimer77

Beach Access Article

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Here is an article that I meant to post here but posted it in general. Sorry.

 

(from associated content website)

 

There is a growing battle on the coast of North Carolina where special interest groups look to close miles of shoreline for less than one dozen pairs of birds.

 

 

The National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service claiming that four wheel drive

 

access has led to the destruction of habitats for birds of interest at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The CHNSRA represents a stretch of barrier islands that span from the town of Nags Head to Ocracoke Inlet, which is over seventy miles of coastline.

 

 

Traditionally, this area has been known for its pristine ocean waters that have been consistently ranked in the top five beaches throughout the world. Another aspect of CHNSRA is the fact that it holds one of the best surf fishing opportunities throughout the world. Here, anglers can catch fish, such as citation red drum and cobia, which normally require the use of boats in all other waters. However, this traditional past time has come under fire from special interest groups such as the Defenders of Wildlife and The National Audubon Society, as they claim that the use of four wheel drive vehicles on the seashore inhibits breeding and nesting of certain birds; mainly, the Piping Plover.

 

 

The Piping Plover is a migratory bird that ranges from Canada to Florida and has started using the coastline of North Carolina as a breeding ground. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the Piping Plover listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act and requires that special attention be given to this particular avian species when breeding behavior and nesting are observed (www.fws.gov). Other birds also inhabit the North Carolina coastline although none are listed as threatened or endangered. It should also be noted that due to these few Piping Plovers, an estimated 60% of shoreline at the CHNSRA was closed to both four wheel drive and pedestrian access in the summer of 2009.

 

 

The lawsuit enforcing these closures is based upon a consent decree negotiated between environmental groups and NPS for four wheel drive use within the recreational area. There was a plan for

 

CHNSRA created in 1978, and the park operated under this plan for almost thirty years although it was never officially registered with the federal government (www.nps.gov). Hence, in the mid 2000's, The Audubon Society partnered with Defenders of Wildlife to bring suit against the NPS, which has resulted in a consent decree that has lead to the closure of miles of beach until NPS can come up with a complete plan. However, many do not consent to this decree at all.

 

 

As a result, these closures have cut off access to the main areas used by both visitors and fishermen (and women) of the park. Cape Point, one of the most popular areas of CHNSRA, was closed in the spring of 2008 and did not reopen until late in the fall. This has led many to wonder how two birds can constitute a closure of miles of coastline, as Cape Point is not the only area to experience this type of access issue.

 

 

CHNSRA allows access by four wheel drive to areas of the beach through the use of ramps, which are trails that lead from the main highway (Hwy. 12), to areas of beach that are undeveloped. Although the National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife have stated that there are very few miles closed to four wheel drives or pedestrians, the closures erected near ramps have also closed the access ramps themselves. This leaves no way to access these points of the beach unless one walks through the dunes, which is sometimes illegal and levy's a hefty fine for violations. This means that although there may be strands of sand that are open, there is no legal access to these areas, which basically means they are closed as well.

 

 

This is a growing concern for the residents of Cape Hatteras, as much of the economy depends on tourism from visitors and fishing. With a decrease in the amount of accessible shoreline, many have decided to re-think their annual trips to the seashore and vacation elsewhere. In a phone interview with Bob Eakes, owner of the Red Drum Tackle Shop in Buxton, North Carolina, he estimated that after the consent decree, their spring revenue dropped 40% in the '08-'09 year, and is off by up to 50% during the present 2010 season. The effects of the closures are being felt by many who depend on these annual tourist dollars, and local businesses have been fighting this decree although they do not have unlimited coffers of money at their disposal.

 

 

On a final note, it should be stated that there have been no known occurrences of bird deaths attributed to four wheel drives in the park by its visitors or residents in the years that these birds have nested along

 

CHNSRA. Also, the local residents and fishers regularly organize efforts for beach clean up and restoration projects when other environmental groups are nowhere to be found. Protection of our natural resources is important for future generations but certain actions by special interest groups may render some of the country's greatest treasures off limits if they get their way. National Parks and recreational areas were created for use by all citizens and visitors of the United States, not just a select few.

 

 

This is something that everyone needs to know about. Hopefully this will get it a little more attention by being on an international website.

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I did a little reseach and looked up some other animals that are threatened or endangered in the state of NC. I found that one species considered to be endangered, is the Tar River "Spinymussel," which is basically a freshwater clam.

 

So what's being done to protect this endangered invertabrate species, the "Spinymussel?" RESEARCH, that's all! No closures, no limitations of public usage to the rivers and streams of its habitat, just reasearch... not "jump to conclusion" decisions based on overzeloous "loons" (pun intended) like the Audobon Society folks.

 

So why not enact same crazy laws and petitions enacted to protect these slimy little bivalves as are done for the piping plover? The answer, as always, is that there is no "cuteness factor" for these mussels.

 

I still say that the solution to this getting this petition overturned is to organize some private, unbiased renegades to fashion a way to release ticks and mosquitoes, eels and snakes by the millions into various animal rights group events and see how many poor defensely animals get visciously swatted, stomped, and poisioned to death by these people who claim to respect all animals, big and small!

 

What these special interest groups should mention, is that a plant or animal is only worth protecting, if it is cute! That's why these organiations use a polar bear, butterfly, or bald eagle as their figureheads to gather support, rather than rattle snakes, roaches, and turkey vultures. Roaches are an endangered (and hopefully nonexisting) species in my house, but if one rears its head it is getting its just due, DEATH!

 

Wait a second, this just in.... The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is a species listed as being of "special concern" in the state of North Carolina. They better act quickly and close down public use to all parks in the forested or mountain regions of the state to protect these venomous creatures (sarcasm). Oh wait, they are not cute enough to protect! Nevermind.

 

Do what is right and fair to a species that is quickly becoming a threatened on their naturally inhabitated NC shores, "HUMANS!" Do not support these lefty groups with money or time or political support in the form of votes!!!

 

I support in whatever small ways I can from afar (I live in Maryland). My heart goes out for those who live down there. The liberty bell of human rights and freedoms seems to ring fewer times every day!

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nice article, Mortimer, but you're preaching to the choir here

 

common sense, and facts are not relevent to what's happening

 

this is a political ploy brought about jointly by the dept of interior and the justice dept

 

the only solution is to determine the root cause of why doi and justice are ramming this down our throats

 

until we know why, we cannot fight it.

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Just trying to get the word out to everyone but I know that some of us are already well versed in this fight. To the poster prior to you, he may be surprised to find out all the animals that are being killed by the NPS to make sure that they don't kill the birds. If I can find the list, I will post it but it was over four hundred animals that had been killed to protect these birds. Crazy.

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which is why I think those groups are the biggest hipocrites money can support, which is why I lend them none of my own. Enforcing laws, like illegal hunting, cruelty such as dog fighting, or trashing a beach and polluting the environment is one thing. But the audacity to say, "This species is struggling, so lets close an entire state's coastline!" and then turn around and kill raccoons and foxes while still blaming the human interference as the root cause, that's ridickulous (heads)!

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