News | May 4, 2011

SELC Champions Clear, Enforceable Regulation of Beach Driving on Cape Hatteras

In the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the populations of nesting seabirds, shorebirds, and sea turtles have rebounded significantly (PDF)—some to record levels—thanks to three years of reasonable limits on beach driving secured by SELC and its partners. In accord with a legal agreement we reached with the National Park Service in 2008, the agency has developed a plan for managing off-road vehicle use on the seashore. Although the plan does not implement all the protections scientists have recommended, it goes a long way toward safeguarding sensitive areas of the seashore for wildlife and pedestrian use while still allowing reasonable vehicle access for activities such as surf fishing.

Our goal now is to make sure a new regulation based on that plan, to be proposed by the Park Service this summer, has clear, enforceable standards for protecting wildlife and their nesting grounds, with specific provisions for when and where people can drive off-road. The final rule is scheduled to be issued in November.