ORV Beach Driving Going the Way of the Dodo(?)
Looks like we will likely be losing ORV (off-road vehicle) access to some of the prime wavesailing spots on the OBX. In reality, its not a total loss for the wavesailing crew, except for likely the Cove, Hatteras Inlet, and Oregon Inlet. The east facing Point and north end of Ocracoke will remain accessible with a gear hike since both of these spots have paved parking nearby. However, the "spit" of the Point and adjoining Cove will no longer be accessible. OBX surf breaks are driven by shifting sand bars, and ORV driving is the best way to identify and set up where to launch. The launch in front of the paved lot is not always the "best" spot; therefore, even though we may be able to hike the gear, it may be a few miles+ upwind or downwind sail to the best break. Since the majority of OBX windsurfing is found within the sound, the impact on the sport locally should not be too bad, except for us core wave sailors. However, for sport surf fishing, which is really the biggest draw to the OBX, it will be a devastating blow! The Point, Hatteras Inlet, and Oregon Inlet are the most popular fishing spots on the islands, and without ORV access most will not be able to fish. The impact on the local economy will be interesting to see, especially in Hatteras during the prime fishing seasons. All in all, April 4 is decision day, but with the latest revelation from the National Park Service, the case against ORV access has a new nail to drive into the ORV coffin.
Likely an additional ramification of this ban will be concentration of activities. The limited areas where ORV access continues will swell in activity and the concentration will be interesting. Take a bunch of fishermen, regular beach goers (swiming/surfing/partying - everyone drives an SUV these days...), throw in some windsurfers, and next thing you know, we will have time of day allotment requirements similar to what is found in Maui. Fishing from sunrise to 11:00am, beach going from 11:00am to sunset. No windsurfing if there are more than "X" number of people in the water... Concentration of activity is a whole new can of worms, and I guess that will be the issue in 2009?
For more on the current ORV issue:
- Island Free Press
- Red Drum Tackle Forum
A new poll regarding the ban has been added. Since this is a hot topic and will ride though April 4.