HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATES

Friday, March 2, 2012

Congressman Jones Introduces Bill to Restore Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area

North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones has introduced House Bill H.R. 4094 to preserve pedestrian and motorized vehicular access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Access to the seashore is now severely limited due to the implementation of the Final Rule from the National Park Service, which went into effect on February 15, 2012. The controversial rule was issued by the Park Service in spite of an outpouring of public comments in support of reasonable recreational access.

H.R. 4094 follows a lawsuit that has been filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA), a grassroots project initiated by the Outer Banks Preservation Association committed to balancing recreational access with resource management. “The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area,” CHAPA says, “has been a popular destination for American families seeking affordable, family-oriented beach vacations.  Under the final rule, access to some of the most popular areas is no longer available.  This has restricted access for many, including the disabled and elderly, and caused financial harm to the communities surrounding the seashore.” For over thirty years, OBPA has worked to maintain the seashore as intended by Congress when the first National Seashore Recreational Area was established. Preserving the traditional and cultural values of the seashore has been a fundamental principle of the group, which represents people throughout the United States.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area has been a popular destination for American families seeking affordable, family oriented beach vacations. Under the Final Rule access to some of the most popular areas is no longer available. This has restricted access for many, including the disabled and elderly, and caused financial harm to the communities surrounding the seashore. “The federal government needs to remember that Cape Hatteras was established to be a recreational area for the American people,” Congressman Jones said in a statement issued by his office.  “But taxpayers can’t recreate without access to the beach.  The goal of management ought to be a balanced approach between visitor access and species protection.  The Final Rule falls short of that goal.  The interim strategy comes much closer to hitting the target.” 

CHAPA President, John Couch, expressed gratitude to Congressman Jones for introducing H.R. 4094. He said, "We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Jones and the leadership he has shown for preserving access to this American treasure, so it can continue to be used by the people for its intended recreational purpose."

Jim Keene, a Director of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association emphasized the importance of people getting involved throughout the United States. He explained, "The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is controlled by Congress. That is why it is vital that people everywhere contact their elected leaders in Washington now and ask them to support House Bill H.R. 4094.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Click here to read H.R. 4094, introduced today by U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones

The Interim Protected Species Management Strategy is available on the park planning website at 
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=358&projectID=13331&documentID=19796

The Change.org petition can be found at 
http://www.change.org/petitions/the-us-senate-remove-the-orv-rule-and-provide-free-and-open-access

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