Ramp 34 Closed to ORV Permanently?!

As locals and visitors line up to purchase ORV driving permits for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, ultimately, the next question to ask is "What will the permit offer me?"  Between plover and turtle nesting closures, and other closures simply due to "in season" visitor traffic, ultimately there may not be much available to drive on anyway?!  Most concerning has been a recent experience by Keith M who, upon purchasing a 2012 ORV permit, was notified that Ramp 34 will be closed to ORV traffic permanently!  Not due to nestings, not due to seasonal visitation, but simply permanent closure to ORV starting in mid-April!  A reevaluation was noted, but not for 5 years, and though mention of new ramps being opened, budget constraints and other issues will certainly stall any efforts.  Ultimately, one of our prime wavesailing access ramps with a wide expanse of beach for clean SSW wind will be closed to ORV.  Though pedestrian access remains open and will be the new intended focus of the Ramp, the hike is long to the waters edge.  For wavesailing, we require a lot of equipment to haul out onto the beach.  Varying winds require multiple sail and board sizes, and having it available from your truck on the beach is key.  Now that will no longer be an option at one of our prime wavesailing launches.  The positive..., a good workout even before hitting the water by hiking all the gear out!?!

 Beyond exercise though, I guess as the noose is tightened on ORV access, its simply inevitable.  The Outer Banks is located firmly within reach of US mid-Atlantic metropolitan hubs and given recent medical, infrastructure, and housing booms over the past 15 years, it all boils down to regional access and population growth.  Today's 2012 OBX is nothing like the OBX I first visited back in the early 1990s purely when looking at population numbers.  Its not the same OBX as was here in 2000.  Today's OBX is simply an extension of the mid-Atlantic metropolitan boom stemming from points west in Raleigh/Durham NC, to our northern neighbors from Chesapeake, VA to NYC, NY.  There are simply a lot more people on the OBX today, and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is no longer simply treated as BLM "all access" land anymore.  As is consistent with the US East Coast, if you want free range to do as you please in open space land managed by the US Government, move west to where BLM land remains available.  Here on the US East Coast, its simply no longer an option.  The "environmental" and nesting bird concerns were avenues and now function as "fronts" for the true issue, which is population growth and managing/policing Federally administered land.  No worries, its completely understandable, but unfortunately, its a losing battle for the ORV proponents.  Population growth and access to the OBX is not going to diminish, and if anything, it will continue to expand.

Keith's experience:
I just paid for my new yearly Cape Hatteras beach permit ($120 which expires Dec 31 12. not exactly a year) so i can have the privilege of never driving on ramp 34 ever again. Yep that's right .... the government closed the beach north of 34 permanently. thanks a bunch. That is our home beach ramp here in Avon, no more driving out to surf, fish, windsurf, or BBQ. I just hate having some bureaucrat making these kind of decisions. In a way this is a microcosm of whats going on in the entire US, bigger and bigger government, government for the sake of government. All the funds from the beach permit fees are being used for the administration of the permit! Not for park or visitor experience improvements. The NPS is actually bragging about this, hinting that the new permit administration isn't using any tax payer dollars, like that is some kind of huge achievement. What this is...is just another layer of bureaucracy and another incremental power grab. Pleading my case about how the Ramp 34 decision was a poor one, i was told that in 5 years there will be a review of the closures. How comforting. Legislation is the only way to correct this insanity. Please sign the change.org petition i posted earlier if you care about beach access here on Cape Hatteras.

Jones introduces bill to overturn both ORV final rule and consent decree

PETITION: The U.S. Senate: Remove The "ORV Rule And Provide Free And Open Access"