Sunday, April 06, 2008

Federal Injunction: Judge Terrence Boyle Leaves Us In Limbo on ORV Issue, but its not looking good.

This article is co-hosted on and on

I find myself behind the keyboard once again, undecided as to how I should approach this issue. When I wrote my first column about this issue last month I was writing to share information with those I know and to disseminate the information sans the legislative legalese that muddles the waters regarding this important issue. Today, after having my post online for over a month, and after having found myself inundated with Google and Yahoo traffic, flooded with generous comments from readers, and even mentioned in the Richmond Times Dispatch, I feel it necessary to take the same precautions as last time; namely providing you with the information while trying to keep my temper from getting the best of me. I'd like to thank Andy Thompson for his quoting my previous article in the Richmond Times. Everyone loves to be mentioned in the press, but I'm sincerely glad he chose this important topic as the reason. Maybe with the help of press associates and newspapers, the Internet, and email, we can make a difference before its too late.

How do I state the importance of what is happening right now in federal court without dramatizing the issue? Phrases like "the government seeks to destroy the Outer Banks" and "Help us save our livelihood" come to mind, but I fear they would only serve to push me into a leftist category and would summarily reduce my writing in the minds of viewers to the ravings of an uninformed voice seeking to fight "the man" whenever he can. This is NOT the case. I can't easily put into words how dangerous this is for our livelihood and our way of life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Let me summarize the issue in brief before continuing with my thoughts on the matter. Below is a numerical list of the major events surrounding the situation.

  1. In 1937 the Congress of the United States of America designated the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area as a place for us HUMANS to enjoy nature, enjoy the beaches, and to be part of this wonderful world we all share.
  2. Sometime between then and now agencies such as the Defenders of Wildlife and the Audubon Society have conveniently tried to make us forget the words "Recreational Area" and instead to confuse them with "State Park" or "Endangered Wildlife Preserve," which the area is not.  The fact that the "type" of property we are talking about comes under the Federal jurisdiction of the "National Seashore Areas" section of governance gives them the footing they need to try to unequivocally and irrevocably destroy the livelihood of thousands of people.
  3. Over recent years the National Wildlife Service has been cooperating with the Audubon society in a method known as Negotiated Rulemaking,(see footnote A below) a process which will allow us to preserve our way of life while still providing protection for the few poor birds that share the area with us. (Note, everything after the words "protection for" should be shrouded in sheer sarcasm!)
  4. A few months ago, the Audubon and DoW decided to make and end-run around the negotiating process and attempt a federal injunction to close our beaches completely to ORV traffic and therefore condemn our coastal communities to incalculable economic devastation, not to mention ruining the tourist industry of a locale that depends on that tourism for its survival.
  5. Friday, April 4th, Federal Judge Terrence Boyle was set to make a ruling that could affect all our lives in a very negative manner.

I hope this catches you up on the current state of affairs.

I'd like to take a few moments to try to put in perspective the human element of the dangers this injunction poses for us.

Our Way Of Life...


Fishermen, for over two-hundred years, have been waking at pre-dawn hours to commute to the majestic shores of the Outer Banks to make their livelihood. I've been there myself to see the sun crest the waters of the Atlantic while the cold salt bites at your skin and seen the "old salty's" out there with their trucks, rod-racks, poles, rubber boots, thermoses of coffee, and ham sandwiches. Cold morning are thawed with the warm camaraderie these men and women share in their love of the waters and the love of the nature surrounding them. They make their livelihood fishing these waters and their families depend on them to come home in the late morning hours with their catches to put food on their tables.  Many of these fishermen sell their catch at local shops or restaurants. That money helps put their children in school, the same school I went to growing up. If this new law passes, and the access to their livelihood is closed to them forever, where will these men go to provide for their families?  Terrence Boyle will have ruined thousands of livelihoods to save about nine birds. (And I don't mean nine species of bird.. I mean actually about nine birds, who aren't even native to the area.)

A few have commented on behalf of the DoW and Audubon that the industry wouldn't change if vehicular access were prohibited, rather pedestrian traffic might actually increase to the area. Let me state for the record that every study ever performed on the impact of human traffic to the shores of North Carolina have resulted in the unanimous agreement that pedestrian traffic causes exponentially more damage than ORV traffic. ORV's stay to strict paths of travel near the tide line. They don't walk across the dunes and tear up the sea oats that hold our shores in place. They don't scatter bird nests with beer bottles, soda cans, paper and plastic bags, and other detritus fatal to the natural wildlife. ORVs don't dig in the sand with buckets and destroy the inter-dunal ecology with their mere presence. ORV's do one thing; they drive up and down the beach carrying tourists and fishermen to their destination. That's it.

My second comment for people who try to say that removing ORV access won't impact the feasibility of commercial fishing is this. How about you try this for one month and see if it's feasible for you. I'd like to task you people with the following test. I want you to get in your truck, car, work van, or whatever you drive. Then I'd like you to drive to work, paying close attention to how nice it is to be able to park at your job, your office, or wherever you work. Now.... turn your car back around, drive one-half mile away and park. Finally, I'd like you to take all your tools, briefcases, lunch pails, supplies, accessories and everything else you need and I'd like you to walk it the last mile to work every day for a month. Better yet, try doing it in soft sand in January in the rain.. get a grip people! Eliminating ORV access will destroy the small-scale commercial industry our locals need to survive!

Our Vacation Economy


While researching information for this post, it was easy to become lost in the multitude of literature published recently regarding this legislature. I was particularly flabbergaster by a quote I found. Hours later I remain astounded by the absolute idiocy of Derb Carter, the senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. His telephone interview quoted him as saying "a study by the federal government shows that most visitors to the seashore do not drive on the beach" as if this completely reverses our entire point of view. (see footnote B below)  While I won't argue the validity that "most" do not drive on the beach, I will argue a few important points that he fails to mention. I'm going to leave out all the other multitude of reasons beach driving is important to our economy and focus on simply this one statement for a moment. Read on while I digress.

Technically speaking, if you consider the tourist traffic on the Outer Banks, with the technical definition of the word "most" representing over 51% of all tourists, then the lawyer is right; "most" tourists do not drive on the beach. However, consider this. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a seasonal economy, so much so in fact that most beach locations, restaurants, amusement parks, water slides, putt putt courses, and hundreds of other companies shut down for six months at a time, relying solely on the summer economy to pull them through each year. The ENTIRE outer banks might have a full time population as high as 30 thousand in January, yet is home to over one million in June, and millions before the season's end if you consider the rental properties, vacation home, and hotel lodgings which remain booked sometimes as much as a year in advance.

On memorial day alone, in ONE SINGLE DAY, over one million people will travel to our shores over the Currituck bridge. Shops open their doors before dawn and shake the dust off the welcome mats. Place settings that have sat gathering dust in the prep room for three or four months are once again set out at restaurants before dawn to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of tourists who are coming to eat breakfast this first busy day of the year. Thousands of local students and others are coming to work for the first day in months and finally getting away from the unemployment checks they have been subsisting on for the last season, grateful to see the season start again. Tackle shops stock their stores with thousands of pounds of bait and supplies to supply the welcome visitors with plenty of bait and tackle for their vacation needs. I can personally remember the sounds of Dowdy's amusement park firing up for the first time of the year as I could finally ask my mom and dad for some money to ride the go-karts; the roaring sounds of their gasoline engines having been silent since the previous year instead finally thunder in my childhood ears.

When I was 15 years old, my father finally got me a job at the Wharf Restaurant working for Mr. Randy Culp. As proprietor of the single best known dining establishment in the entire outer banks of North Carolina, he opens his doors daily to the local fishermen this time of year to buy their fresh catch of the day, so he can feed the (literal) half mile long line of customers who are lining up down the road to eat at his restaurant each day once the tourists come. As a prep cook there, I was tasked with cooking over two thousand pounds of crabs per day to feed the masses. The place is so popular that there used to be a five year wait just to get a job waiting tables there. Students from Radford and ECU and other colleges come there to work in the summer to pay their entire years tuition. I remember days when every waiter would leave work with a month's rent in their pockets. Cutting off the beach access impacts the fishermen who rely on the sales of "actual fresh seafood" caught from the ocean and sold to places like this to provide their income. This is simply one of a hundred examples I could use just from the people I know personally, not to mention the thousands I don't.


Let's do some OBX Math: ORV+CLOSURE = POOR

Let's go back to Derb's point. So, yes Derb, I'll agree that MOST of those tourists most likely don't drive on the beach. Let's assume that one half of one percent of our visitors come to the beach for the sole reason of enjoying the beaches with their vehicles. (That's 5 thousand people if you want to do the math) Wow... that means that over 15% of our local population represented in tourists is down there just to enjoy the beaches with their trucks and fishing poles per day! Let's even divide that by half again, just to give Derb the benefit of the doubt. Let's say that just one-half of one-half of one percent of the tourists come down to traverse our beaches with trucks. That's 2,500 people... per day.

What does that mean for our economy? Our tourist season technically lasts the 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor day, so we could easily have as many as 245 THOUSAND people per season visiting our beaches to enjoy the ORV experience even before we start counting fishing tournaments and the like. Can you imagine the money that those 245,000 people bring to our economy every day? I'm not a census-taker, and I don't know the actual facts and figures. I'm just a local boy who can do a little math with a pencil when the mood strikes me, but it appears to me that if my extremely conservative numbers are correct, than we're saying that basically we have enough tourists enjoying ORV access to account for the entire population of the entire county 9.5 times over. So, Derb, how about we take every single man, woman, and child that live on the Outer Banks of NorthCarolina , and line them all up down the beach side by side, TEN TIMES!!!! Implementing some basic anthromopometry tells us that we could line up people for 69 miles... wow.

Hey Derb, you're right! "Most" people don't come to the beach for its ORV access privileges, but that's ok... completely leaving out a population of people who could stand shoulder to shoulder from Southern Shores all the way past the Hatteras Cape couldn't possibly be a significant representation of ORV usage in our little community...

My Own Personal Story:

I have a story from my own recent past I'd like to share that would be severely affected by the closure of the beaches to ORV traffic. Every year for almost 5 years now I have been throwing a birthday party for my mother at her home in Manns Harbor. Every year, on the eve following the pig-picking we all pack-up in four-wheel drive trucks and head to the beach to enjoy a camp-fire (weather permitting) on Oregon Inlet. For reference, you can even see the photos I posted of the event last year by clicking here. Last year I had a record 42 people attend the event, with almost half of those joining us on the beach that night for our relaxing get-together. We only had four ORV's so we had to drive up and down the beach in shifts just to get everyone down to the spot on the Inlet where we could enjoy ourselves like we had been looking forward to all year. What did our little one night adventure bring to the Outer Banks?  I know what it brought to us as people, but what recompense did OBX receive from one group of beach lovers?

  • Six hotel rooms at $55.00 per night, per room. We get a massive discount because we know the owner of the hotel. Even with the discount, we spent $660.00
  • At least 1 tank of gas per truck for four trucks, per day, averaging a 20 gallon tank is about $268.00
  • Dinner for all 20 or so of us Saturday night, let's assume we spent $20.00 each. That's another $400.00.
  • Ice, drinks, snacks... let's call that an even $200.00 for all 20 people.
  • I rented a truck because mine isn't four-wheel-drive. That was $440.00 for the weekend.

Total, in one 24 hour period, just my party of friends invented approximately $1,968.00 at various locations on the beach. If only one person per day does what we did, and you all know that's ridiculously lowballing the estimate of people on the beach per day, that's still $192,864.00 per year spent on the beach. Do you know how many of them would have stayed without the promise of four-wheeling on the beach? None. Absolutely none. Think of that when you're planning this ORV closure. I urge you to consider robbing each and every hotel owner of a potential one thousand dollars per day from their pockets from lost sales due to no access to ORVs. I'm sure their economy will bounce back.... sure... keep telling yourself that. I hope it helps you sleep at night. 


Surf Fishing Tournaments


Look above in this picture real hard. Look really close? Is there a stray beer can, child's toy, rampant dog, snickers wrapper? I see no litter, no destruction of dunes, no one who had to drive over a dune to get here. What I DO see is a representative sample of what an Outer Banks Surf Fishing Tournament brings to our community. Every one of these trucks stopped somewhere in my county to buy gas, bait, snacks, drinks, ice, and other accoutrements necessary to participate in this event. They drive HUNDREDS of miles to come to our shores to enjoy the premier surf fishing. One simple ruling by this judge will eliminate this entire industry from existence on the outer banks. I can't even calculate the millions of dollars lost to our little communities if we lose the Hatteras, Ocracoke, Oregon Inlet, Nags Head, and other fishing tournaments. The visitors from all across the world who attend our tournaments pour millions of dollars into our hotel, restaurant, service, retail, and other economies.

I could add on here for days, but I'll stop for now with my own rantings. I'll leave you instead with what some others have done in support of our cause


Marc Basnight Steps Up to Save ORV & OBX

I mentioned in my other posting that I had contacted Senator Marc Basnight's office on the matter as soon as it came to my attention. In addition to filing an amicus brief with the courts, his office sent a letter to the others in the government, requesting their help to save our beaches. The letter was sent to:

The Honorable Elizabeth Dole
United States Senate
120 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable G.K. Butterfield, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
413 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Walter Jones, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
2333 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Virginia Foxx
United States House of Representatives
430 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mike McIntyre
United States House of Representatives
2437 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Sue Myrick
United States House of Representatives
230 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Heath Shuler
United States House of Representatives
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Brad Miller
United States House of Representatives
1722 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Richard Burr
United States Senate
B40C Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Bob Etheridge
United States House of Representatives
1533 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable David Price
United States House of Representatives
2162 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Howard Coble
United States House of Representatives
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Robin Hayes
United States House of Representatives
130 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Patrick McHenry
United States House of Representatives
224 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Melvin Watt
United States House of Representatives
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The transcript of the letter, is as follows: (see footnote C below)

"Dear Members of North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation:
As you may know, a lawsuit has been filed against the National Park Service by the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society regarding off-road vehicle access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As the April 4 court date approaches, I wanted to be sure you were aware of how critical it is to keep public access to the Seashore and how important this resource has been to our coastal culture and heritage, our local economy, and our sense of community – and to ask for your assistance in protecting it.

This current lawsuit, driven by out-of-state environmental groups whose agenda is clearly to ban access to the beaches, would have devastating effects on the very families who have treasured and protected this resource for generations. The residents, visitors, property owners and business owners on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands will face very real and very significant harm should this lawsuit succeed.

When the federal government was creating the recreational Seashore in 1937, Outer Banks residents and visitors were deeply concerned – and rightly so – that government involvement would interfere with the public’s enjoyment of and access to the beaches of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. It was an incredible relief that the Park Service and the Department of the Interior were willing to work so closely and cooperatively with the local community to address these concerns. In fact, in 1952 during discussions of adjusting the boundaries of the Seashore, Park Service Director Conrad Wirth wrote an open letter to the people of the Outer Banks reassuring them that the beaches would continue to be open for their use, stating, “…when the lands for the Recreational Area are acquired and become public property there will always be access to the beach for all people, whether they are local residents or visitors from the outside.”

This access has always included vehicles – in fact, before we had roads built in the Outer Banks, the beaches were our roads. Wirth’s 1952 letter also states a clear intent to continue to allow vehicle access in the Seashore, specifically noting that “it will be necessary to establish certain regulations, such as to designate places for vehicles to get to the beach, in order to reduce sand dune erosion to a minimum…”

Beach driving and surf fishing are beloved local traditions and recreational opportunities that help people truly appreciate – and in turn, work to protect – our natural resources. The people who use this resource, in fact, are among our most conscientious stewards of the environment. Additionally, the economies of Hatteras and Ocracoke depend solely upon fishing and tourism, and losing access to some of the nation’s most premier surf-fishing spots would be a devastating blow to our local community and economy – and to the prestige that Cape Hatteras gives North Carolina as a world-renowned destination for fishing and recreation.

I write today to urge you to pass legislation as soon as possible to clarify the Park Service’s previously expressed intent to maintain public access, particularly vehicle access, to the Seashore. This issue is time-sensitive and is of critical importance to the lives – and livelihoods – of the people of the Outer Banks. As the hearing date nears, the involved parties have been meeting to negotiate rules for a long-term plan for off-road vehicle access. The people of the Outer Banks, the users of these beaches, and the Park Service itself all care deeply about our Seashore – and about the animal and plant species that live or nest there – and are absolutely sincere in their desire to develop a reasonable plan that protects the Seashore while preserving reasonable public access to it. However, the threat of this lawsuit hanging over their heads would, I assume, make it very difficult to work in good faith with those who have filed the lawsuit and who now have the ability to use this litigation as an unfair “hammer” in these negotiations.

I still believe that the 2007 federal plan to regulate off-road vehicle use was adopted through a public process and is being implemented in a fair and effective way. It is unfortunate that a lawsuit is now in play – and even more unfortunate that it has the potential to be used as a negotiating weapon to intimidate good-hearted people who truly love the beaches and the environment, and who work every day of their lives to protect the gifts that Mother Nature has given our community. I prevail upon your sense of justice and right, and hope you will take the immediate action that is needed to protect our heritage, our economy, and the public’s right of
access to their Seashore.


Marc Basnight


Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of Interior
Mike Murray, Superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Dare County Commissioners
Hyde County Commissioners"

All I can say, Senator Basnight, is thanks from the bottom of my heart for showing your support for our community! Hundreds of thousands of people appreciate your efforts on our behalf!


Congressmen Walter B. Jones joins the fight!


I wasn't aware of it until recently, but Congressman Water B. Jones, another man I admire, has also formally pledged his displeasure with the entire affair. I don't have an entire transcript of what he said, but the highlights are as follows: (see footnote D below)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to a motion filed this week in U.S. District Court to ban beach driving in major portions of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
issued the following statement:

“I am very disappointed that a few special interest groups have taken the extreme step of filing a motion in U.S. District Court to stop beach driving in major portions of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This ill-advised
action threatens to shatter the good work that Park Superintendent Mike Murray has done to implement an interim management plan for beach driving and to bring all the parties together to negotiate a final rule.”

“This development is especially troubling for many reasons. These groups demanded a seat at the negotiating table but their true intentions must be called into question when they insist on using the courts to short circuit or influence the negotiating process. Furthermore, available evidence suggests that the Park’s interim management strategy has been successful in protecting endangered birds, so it is simply not credible to claim
that beach driving needs to be stopped in order to save birds.”

“I urge these groups to rethink their decision, to withdraw their motion for a preliminary injunction, and to return to the negotiating table. Superintendent Murray has laid out a process to resolve this issue. It will take
time, and not everyone will be 100 percent happy with the result, but it’s far better than managing the Seashore through the judicial system.”

Kill Devil Hills Mayor Raymond P Sturza, II Joins In!

I am unable to get a clean transcript from which to copy, but the KDH Mayor sent a letter to the US House of representatives on our behalf this week as well. You can read the PDF letter here.


What Judge Boyle Has To Say:

Unfortunately I couldn't be in court on Friday to hear for myself, so I will have to tell you what I have heard, which I have been able to corroborate using the article from the Outer Banks Sentinel (see footnote E below). I won't use any names, because I wasn't there and this information comes second-hand to me. The general commentary from the judge was something along the lines of "I came here this morning with my mind made up to close the beaches, but I'm going to give you two sides some time to work it out yourselves. If you don't come to a conclusion on your own, I'll decide for you." I was thunderstruck to hear of this man just walking into his courtroom with no regard for the lives he's going to ruin and pretty much hand over the case to the Audubon. Stating something like this plainly puts his favor on the side of the injunction, putting all the leverage in the coming talks firmly in the hands of the Audubon and DoW.

Basically, it's going to go something like this:

Derb Carter: "Do what we want or else. You already heard what Daddy said...."
(This would be traditionally followed by Derb sticking out his tongue at the Park Service if we carried the third grade analogy to its conclusion)
Defendants: WTF?


Dear Judge Boyle

I'm not even going to get into the legality or sense of social-conscience that should be addressed within this discussion. I've done all that in my previous post on the subject. (If you want to read it, you can do so here or here.) What I am going to do is remind all of you who are trying to save a few birds at the risk of our entire economy of a few things you should know. I don't want to go home and take my daughter to enjoy the beach after you destroy what we have down there. I don't want to see Dowdy's closed because no one's around. I want her to enjoy the go-karts that I enjoyed when I was a child. I want her to eat at the Wharf restaurant once in awhile and tell her stories of how I used to work there in the back when I was her age. I want to visit the beach at dawn in the cool summer mornings and wave to the tourist families who are here to enjoy what my beach has to offer. This is MY beach you're talking about! This doesn't belong to the Piping Plover, the sea turtle, or anything else! This was given to US by Congress to ENJOY with our families, our children, our visitors, and each other. Don't take that away from us with one decision.

If my pleading isn't enough, listen to the nine comments I've received thus far from my previous blog post about the matter. My comments to each are in bold black.

(The following was excerpted from

9 responses so far ↓
  • 1 Jack // Mar 3, 2008 at 4:53 PM (This guy loves my beach so much he invested the hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a house so his family can enjoy it too!)

    Well said, even though those reddened eyes. I can imagine some of the thing you really wanted to say because I too have been saying them. As a property owner and long time visitor of the Outer Banks, this is the stupidest attempt to control us ever. I have asked the questions and none of the organizations DOW,NAS etc can or will answer. If quite undisturbed beaches are required for these winged critter to cohabitate, why aren’t the popping at the seams over on Portsmouth Island??? Maybe because, as you stated, and is posted at the visitors center at the lighthouse. The stupid little PLOVER in at it’s very edge of it’s breeding grounds. They breed in Long Island.. the ones in Hatteras are just too lazy to fly the rest of the way to their nesting places…

  • 2 Jim // Mar 3, 2008 at 9:05 PM (This guy is a fellow native and a fisherman. Remember him when you destroy his livelihood!)

    Tommy, you have put into succinct words what brings my emotions out when I try to do what you have done. Thank you. It is not easy to lay the facts out with all the small twists and turns that this issue is going through. In the last few years, there have been NO HUMAN causes that a plover egg, unfledged chick, or fledged chick died. None. Ghost crab, other birds, mammals, and God created weather & tide events did them in. The park Service under direction of Mike Murray have gotten better results doing the best job they can splitting the fine hair of undisturbed bird nesting/ ORV fishermen. They should be commended for this job well done. Yes, there are problems, but to us fishermen, and property owners on the Outer Banks, they are small. Again thank you.
    Jim Harris

  • 3 Henrik Suhr // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:39 am (Another guy who not only lives here with us, but rents his property for income so his family can afford to enjoy it with him. He loves the beach so much he built his own ramp to be able to enjoy it daily from his home in Buxton!)

    I have owned a beach front cottage on Buxton Beach for 5 years, 200 yards north of the Jetties.

    This is an investment in my retirement. And of necessity it is a rental property for the time being as I would not be able to afford the mortgage without that income. My rental season and income is dependent on the access to fishing at Cape Point National Seashore and Recreational Area and the ORV access to the best fishing on the east coast, and the best beach for family fun. My family’s retirement is dependent on this continued access. Another concern is what happens to the beach in front of my cottage if ORV access is stopped? The streets of our neighborhood will be clogged with illegally parked cars of fishermen and families using the ramp over the dune (which I built for some $6,000 of private funds) and making our our narrow, eroded beach much, much less attractive to renters. Crowded conditions and delicate dunes stressed by overflow. And the shore birds now there all day will have to relocate, their environment no longer hospitable.
    Even though the fishing is good on Buxton Beach, I am a fan of the Bull Drum and Cobia available at Cape Point, not this far up the beach.
    Much of my own recreational fun will be gone, and I’ve invested several hundred thousand dollars in that. All for the sake of 12 Piping Plover chicks fledged in the last 10 years. Common sense needs to prevail here.

    How about establishing a Sportsman's Piping Plover Chick Hatching Fund which will develop the artificial conditions necessary to hatch, grow and release Piping Plover and other protected shore birds, like what is done with pheasant, quail and chickens. Soon there would be thousands more in the flock. It would be easy to spend much less money and get better results than what will be spent to get 12 in 10 years. Consider that seriously, please.

  • 4 VCHawk // Mar 16, 2008 at 4:07 PM

    Dude,you are one right on mother……!Great site and it must be great to have it to post facts AND speak YOUR mind!!!

  • 5 Beach Guy // Mar 30, 2008 at 2:56 PM

    Excellent post. We are amazingly short sighted. It is incredible how slapping a federal name on something like the National Seashore makes it Federal. Is Federal Express the post office now?
    I completely agree ruining an already weak economy is paramount to destroying our economy.

  • 6 Dennis // Apr 2, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Just stumbled on this site while looking for info on what I needed to be able to drive my 4×4 on the beach near Oregon Inlet campground this summer. My family and I found the primitive campground last year and loved the idea of camping so close to the beach, and were absolutely excited about the idea of buying a truck and a 5th wheel, coming back this year and camping at that beautiful site and spending time driving on the beach and exploring new areas. We bought a Silverado and are looking at 5th wheels now. To think that beach access to ORVs may be limited, especially under the pretense of saving these birds is ridiculous. We spent some time on the northern beaches of Pea Island last year as well, where there seems to be more restrictions on beach activities, and were amazed at how few people were there. I am not a native of the area, and could not afford any properties on the island, but I think it would be catastrophic to lose what appeared to be quite a draw to Bodie Island - that is ORV activity on the beach. I hope Derb Carter, Jason and Chris as well, come to their senses and realize what an impact this injunction could have on your area. In real terms - economic. I am soooooo sick of sacrificing human rights in for the sake of animal rights. God created animals for our use, not the other way around. Besides, as you clearly stated and I have witnessed from only one season on the beaches of Bodie Island, it is a stretch of the imagination to even imply that ORV traffic on the beaches has any impact at all on the activities of the “native” and “endangered” species. Thanks for providing us all with the facts and fighting for us!

  • 7 Sharon // Apr 3, 2008 at 6:36 am

    My family is so sick about you trying to close our beaches over a handful of piping plovers.I used to support defenders of wildlife, but you have taken this too far and for what? I think the people of Dare co. should sue your asses for good.This is the bread+ butter of most of the people who live here.So go bother someone else’s beach.I will never defend your group. Defenders of wildlife. Shame on you

  • 8 Moose Droppings » Judge to Decide Whether Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area will Remain a Recreational Area // Apr 4, 2008 at 7:01 am

    […] see which side wins out. For a more in depth story about this I invite you to check out Tommy’s blog entry on Carolina Region. Cape Hatteras National Seashore,, National Park Service, off road vehicle […]

  • 9 jill marshall // Apr 5, 2008 at 8:17 am

    This matter is so very important to more people than even THEY realize. A lot of people don’t respond because they think it will never happen. You need to get letters/articles in The Richmond Times Dispatch and/or surrounding local papers to let visitors know just how serious this situation is.
    thanx,jill m.


The guys over at SaveHatteras.Com have been making a monumental effort to save our beaches. I would be remiss if I didn't point you there and ask you to go PLEASE take a few minutes to read the information they are working so hard to collect and distribute. There are links there to contact your congressmen, senators, the Audubon, etc.

More information about Negotiated Rulemaking:

For a community who is charged with "not caring about the wildlife", take a look at how many citizens and groups who love our beaches and who want to see them prosper have been involved in this process. All these organizations; literally thousands of people participating in the process, investing millions of dollars of time and money in reaching a peaceful resolution to make everyone happy... and yet still the Audubon (who is even a member of this rulemaking process) decided to forego any attempt at discussion and instead file a federal injunction and thereby ruin the lives of countless thousands who require this economy for survival.

The Secretary of the Interior has appointed the following primary and alternate members to the Committee:
Civic and Homeowner Associations
1. Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Civic Association, member C.A. Duke, alternate Pat Weston (Greater Kinnakeet Shores Homeowners, Inc., and Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Civic Association).
2. Avon Property Owners Association, member Frank Folb, alternate Pat Weston (Greater Kinnakeet Shores Homeowners, Inc., and Rodanthe- Waves-Salvo Civic Association).
3. Hatteras Island Homeowners Coalition, member Steven Kayota, alternate Vincenzo Sanguineti (Hatteras Island Homeowners Coalition).
4. Hatteras Village Civic Association, member Roy Kingery.
5. Hatteras Landing Homeowners Association, Inc., member Jeffrey Wells.

Commercial Fishermen
6. North Carolina Fisheries Association, Michael Peele, alternate William Foster (North Carolina Fisheries Association).
Environmental and Natural Resource Conservation Groups, State/Regional/Local:
7. Southern Environmental Law Center, member Derb Carter, alternate Michelle Nowlin (Southern Environmental Law Center).
8. North Carolina Audubon, member Walker Golder, alternate Sidney Maddock (National Audubon Society).
Environmental and Natural Resource Conservation Groups, National
9. Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, member Robert Milne, alternate Dwight Rettie (Coalition of National Park Service Retirees).
10. Defenders of Wildlife, member Jason Rylander, alternate Andrew Hawley (Defenders of Wildlife).
11. Natural Resources Defense Council and The Wilderness Society, member Destry Jarvis, alternate Leslie Jones (The Wilderness Society).
12. The Nature Conservancy, member Sam Pearsall, alternate Aaron McCall (The Nature Conservancy).

County Government
13. Dare County, member Warren Judge, alternate Lee Wrenn (Dare County).
14. Hyde County, member David Scott Esham, alternate Eugene Ballance (Hyde County).

Federal Government
15. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, member Michael Murray, alternate Thayer Broili (Cape Hatteras National Seashore).
16. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, member Pete Benjamin, alternate David Rabon (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

State Government
17. North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, member Wayne Mathis, alternate Sara Winslow (North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission).
18. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, member David Allen, alternate Susan Cameron (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission).

Tourism, Visitation, and Business organizations
19. Cape Hatteras Business Allies, member Judy Swartwood, alternate David Goodwin (Cape Hatteras Business Allies).
20. Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, member Scott Leggat, alternate Sam Hagedon (Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce).
21. Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, member Carolyn McCormick, alternate Renee Cahoon (Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce).

User Groups, OVR Use
22. North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, member Jim Keene, alternate David Joyner (North Carolina Beach Buggy Association).
23. United Four Wheel Drive Associations, member Carla Boucher, alternate Lyle Piner (United Four Wheel Drive Associations).

User Groups, Open Access
24. Outer Banks Preservation Association, member John Alley, alternate John Couch (Outer Banks Preservation Association).

User Groups, Other Users:
25. Cape Hatteras Bird Club, member Ricky Davis, alternate Raymond Moore (Cape Hatteras Bird Club).
26. Cape Hatteras Recreational Alliance, member Jim Lyons, alternate Burnham Gould, Jr. (Cape Hatteras Recreational Alliance).
27. Water Sports Industry Association, member Trip Forman, alternate Matt Nuzzo (Water Sports Industry Association).

User Groups, Recreational Fishing
28. American Sportfishing Association, member Bob Eakes, alternate Patricia Doerr (American Sportfishing Association).
29. Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, member Larry Hardham, alternate Robert Davis (Cape Hatteras Anglers Club).
30. Recreational Fishing Alliance, member Patrick Paquette, alternate Ronald Bounds (Recreational Fishing Alliance).


A: Click Here: Information from the Island Free Press, further discussing the Negotiated Rulemaking process.

B: Click Here: For the full article in which Derb Carter's quote is mentioned, visit the Hampton Roads Virginia Pilot Online.

C: Click Here: For an exact copy of the PDF sent by Senator Basnight.

D: Click Here: For an exact copy of the PDF from Walter B. Jones.

E: Click Here: For the corroborating article from the Outer Banks Sentinel


  1. Common sense, a rare commodity these days. I been visiting the Outer Banks for twenty five years . Finally own a lot in the Carova area - outright. Now, the next goal to build the beach cabin, - Kevin

  2. Ginny Here:

    "While I won't argue the validity that "most" do not drive on the

    I will. See the following web page:

    SELC's claim as to the above and minimal economic impact is addressed in detail under the section titled
    Violation of Congressional Acts. The document that provided the source for the claim as well as documents that refute the claim are provided.

    Tommy, feel free to work this information into your discussion on economic impact, as all the documents are part of the public record. And don't forget to let your readers know that USFWS has issued a new document for Critical Habitat Designation which, with the exception of one item, repeats the same economic impact analysis. The single change
    upped the loss estimate from .05 to .08 percent of revenues from visitation to a whopping .1 to .2 percent. 
    A comment period is open.

  3. Thanks to all you guys on Tradewinds Tackle, OBX Connection, and Saltwater Surf Fisherman who posted links to this article. I appreciate the traffic and your kind words.


Thanks for taking a moment to leave a comment! Please keep the language clean. (If you are considering spamming the blog, don't bother. It's going to be deleted anyway.)