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Pissed-Off Admin
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Joined: 23 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject: *** CAPE HATTERAS - URGENT! ACTION REQUIRED *** Reply with quote

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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: Uzbekistan

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

April 9, 2008 - There are two activities happening at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (Cape Hatteras) effecting off-road vehicle (ORV) use.

Cape Hatteras has begun the process of rulemaking that will result in regulations for the operation of ORVs and species protection management for the seashore. The rulemaking is being conducted through the negotiated rulemaking process (Reg. Neg.). This rulemaking process is special. It utilizes a committee of stakeholders striving to reach consensus (unanimous consent at Cape Hatteras) in forming the preferred alternative that the National Park Service (NPS) will analyze as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The NPS will do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will study several alternatives for ORV and species protection management. The agency’s preferred alternative will contain any elements that the Reg. Neg. Committee unanimously agrees to. The Reg. Neg. Committee was officially convened in January, 2008. There are 30 seats on the committee, representing various stakeholders, including the NPS, state government, county government, civic and homeowner’s associations, open access organization, recreational fishing, bird club, local businesses, state/regional and national environmental groups, local and national ORV groups, and commercial fisherman, and tourism.

UFWDA holds the seat for the national ORV interest. The local ORV seat is held by the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association. The national environmental seats, there are 4 of them, are held (1) jointly by a person representing both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Wilderness Society; (2) the Defenders of Wildlife; (3) the coalition of NPS Retirees; and (4) The Nature Conservancy. The two state/regional environmental seats are held by (1) the Southern Environmental Law Center and (2) a person representing Audubon North Carolina and his alternate representing National Audubon Society. I am unable to explain how the alternate on a state/regional environmental seat is a representative from a national environmental organization.

Each of the committee members agreed to the charter and the ground rules which require a member, among other things, to negotiate in good faith. To date, the committee has held three meetings and is working on reaching consensus on issues such as carrying capacity, vehicle speed limits, camp fire regulations, closure areas, and vehicle equipment requirements. I expect that species protection management will be discussed at the next committee meeting in May, 2008.

Simultaneous with the rulemaking is a law suit brought by Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, by their attorney Southern Environmental Law Center. The law suit was filed in October, 2007 against the NPS challenging the interim species management plan adopted by the agency in July, 2007. Dare and Hyde Counties, North Carolina and The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance were granted intervention in the case. In February the environmental groups filed a motion for preliminary injunction (PI) requesting that 6 areas within Cape Hatteras be closed to ORV use. These six areas include Bodie Island Spit (Oregon Inlet), Cape Point, South Beach, Hatteras Spit, North Ocracoke, and South Ocracoke. A hearing on the merits of the PI was scheduled for 4/04/08. The NPS and the environmental groups convinced the court to continue the hearing date until 4/11/08 with the promise of settlement negotiations on both the original suit and the PI. A settlement announcement is expected this week.

It seems that Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, and Southern Environmental Law Center will accomplish through litigation what they pledged to work cooperatively toward in good faith with all stakeholders through the rulemaking process.

UFWDA will continue to represent ORV interests at Cape Hatteras. Though the Reg. Neg. process is unlikely to yield a meaningful cooperative management strategy reached by various stakeholders due to the influence of the litigation and the refusal by the environmental groups to negotiate in good faith it will be imperative for access interests to continue to work as closely as possible with the NPS to ensure our voice is heard above the booming of the falling court gavel.

To donate to Rescue Cape Hatteras please contact UFWDA at or 1-800-44-UFWDA.
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Trail Goddess
Trail Goddess

Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Location: BFE Virginia

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is some good news with the law suit brought by Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society. The judge has made his ruling and it's good news for us.

See the artical at :

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.

Keep in mind that the committee formed to work out this issues is still in place and working to reach a settlement.

UFWDA has requested that the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Negotiated Rulemaking committee remove environmental plaintiffs from the committee.

To see the letter send go here:
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Trail Goddess
Trail Goddess

Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Location: BFE Virginia

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Carla Boucher- United Four Wheel Drive Assoication

Hi. I posted the following message on the UFWDA forums.

There will be a committee meeting for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on June 17th and 18th. Many members have asked what they can do to support the ORV community.

It would be helpful to have attendance by the public at the June 17th and 18th meeting. There is often press in attendance and it would help support our efforts and get the message out if 30 or 40 ORV users were present during the 2-day meeting. No speaking is necessary, but if you would like to have a chance to speak there is a public comment period both days around the noon lunch time. The important thing is to be present. In addition to supporting ORV access with your presence the money you spend to attend the meeting (gas, lodging, food) will be a very, very big help to the local community.

If you are interested in attending this meeting please contact me directly at

I would really like to have 30 - 40 users at this meeting. I realize it is a sacrifice to attend since it is on two weekdays (Tues. and Wed.). But it is one very effective and meaningful way to help out.



Carla Boucher, Attorney

United Four Wheel Drive Associations

P.O. Box 15696

Chesapeake, VA 23328

(757) 546-7969
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