Nighttime Beach Driving Banned Immediately

Effective immediately nighttime driving is banned on Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches.

That because of a consent decree signed yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle, settling a lawsuit over the beach driving issue.

Park Service Superintendent Mike Murray says beginning today all of their beaches will be closed to off-road vehicles from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The nighttime ban was enacted to increase the chances of successful turtle nesting. The ban lasts until November 15th. After that the consent decree says the park service may issue permits for driving at night.

Rangers will enforce the ban. Violators face up to six months imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.

Wednesday's Story

A federal judge has signed off on a proposed settlement of a lawsuit over protecting endangered wildlife along parts of the Outer Banks while still allowing driving along the beach.

At a hearing this afternoon in Raleigh, District Court Judge Terrence Boyle approved the plan to continue allowing vehicle access along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Environmental groups sued the park service over concerns that the beach driving plan didn't do enough to protect wildlife on the beach.

“Today's decision is evidence that we can protect our native wildlife without sacrificing traditions like beach driving, fishing and surfing that are so important on Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” said Jason Rylander, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife.

Both Dare & Hyde counties voiced a concern about lost tourist revenue and gained a voice in the settlement process.

“The long standing position of our Board is to support free and open access to all users of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The efforts of Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon to restrict or deny access to America’s beaches by the public are shameful," Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners said in a news release.

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  • by Brian Location: Bath on May 4, 2008 at 06:03 PM
    The simplest thing they should have done is just roped off those areas known for nesting,as they do for the terns. I think the beach(at South Point, Ocracoke) will suffer more damage from the release of the hords of beach goers when the 6am open time starts. Edited
  • by Renae Location: NJ on May 2, 2008 at 02:08 PM
    Our family takes the 10 hr drive every summer to come to the Hatteras beaches because our own state has allowed our beaches to become overcrowed, dirty, poluted & we still have to pay just to have access to walk on. If you want to drive on you have to pay a hefty sum for a park permit & its fishing only. The beaches in Hatteras are gorgeous & they sustain the life of the people who reside on the island. This is just another spotted owl incident where the bunny huggers don't get the big picture! Completely banning beach ORV access would wipe out Hatteras and Ocracoke making is a desolate & isolated place inhabitable only by the birds..perhaps that is what they really want!
  • by Brad Location: Greenville on May 2, 2008 at 04:42 AM
    If it were not for the fishermen and other beach visitors highway 12 would probably not be there today. Beach replenishment is an ongoing process which prevents the road from washing away. A road which is traveled mostly by fishermen, tourists, and vehicles that support the retailers that support the other two groups. Without tourism and fishing the only ones left would be a few resident fishermen left on the island. No need for a road then because locals would revert back to using boats and ferrys. Mother nature causes beach erosion, vehicles don't. I haven't seen any vehicle caused erosion in the 35 years I've been going there anyway. But don't worry David, in 100 years, hwy. 12 will most likely be gone anyway and the long strip of land will be comprised of smaller barrier islands, just like Okracoke is today. Oceans waves and tidal changes will be lapping at the shores of Manteo and the story goes on and on. Read information on barrier island dynamics.
  • by MM Location: OBX on May 2, 2008 at 04:24 AM
    Yes, David...where are you from. Maybe if they had closed the beaches and business dwindled down we could all be drawing welfare down here on the island. Raising your taxes. It about a lot more than just driving on a beach or a few birds. Wake up!
  • by Ed Location: Windsor on May 1, 2008 at 02:26 PM
    "The judge approved a reasonable compromise. County officials ranting against "closing the beaches" were just shooting themselves in the foot because it was never about a closure." George...if you read the entire original proposalby Audobon and DFW, it was indeed about a closure. ORV and pedestrian traffic would have been restricted or eliminated in many places.
  • by do what Location: nc on May 1, 2008 at 01:02 PM
    david i have to ask where you are originally from....curious
  • by do what Location: nc on May 1, 2008 at 10:45 AM
    excellant comment tim!
  • by David Location: Manteo on May 1, 2008 at 10:33 AM
    Personally, I dont see what the big ordeal is about? So you cant drive your vehicle on the beach? So what? Putting aside the wildlife issue... Locals constantly complain about beach erosion. They didnt want to pay the proposed tax to help prevent it. Now everyone wants to cry and complain because they almost lost their rights to drive on the beaches. So you might have to walk instead of driving. Boo-hoo! God for bid any of you were to get a little exercise as well as agree on something for a change! This decision would have greatly helped the beach erosion issue. But you people just want something to whine about. You know, you cant satisfy everyone. I am a beach driver myself but I am willing to give it up if it means no extra taxes for beach erosion and preserving the land of our beaches in the future. We need to compremise people. Things in life isnt always going to go your way so you might as well learn how to deal with the way it does go.
  • by Tim Location: Vanceboro on May 1, 2008 at 08:35 AM
    Judge Boyle is an idiot, this is not the first controversial item he has been involved with. He likes his name in the paper. He has not a clue to the economic impact his decisions make and quite frankly he could probably care less. And I'd like to remind the friends of animals, humans are animals to!
  • by do what Location: nc on May 1, 2008 at 06:32 AM
    thank goodness the moronic liberals and environmentalist did not get there way, more power to the people...
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