As I wrote about in my column yesterday in The Roanoke Times, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore implements its new beach driving plan today.
Among the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective) are access fees that range from $50 for a week to $120 for a year, as well as various permanent and seasonal closures.
There’s a coded map on the park’s website, and that will give you an idea where you’ll be access and drive on the beach, and when. Another option is to use Google Earth to access a map showing up-to-date access and closures.
Even though the Outer Banks is six hours (or more) from the Roanoke area, it remains a popular vacation destination, and a favorite among surf fishermen. Many are bummed, to put it lightly, about this plan.
I have not been to the Outer Banks since this whole thing blew up a few years ago and, while I’ve read a lot about the situation, I really want more insight and information.
For those of you who do get down there to fish, what impact do you see the new plan having? Is it better or worse than the interim plan that was in place for the past three years? Is there a different approach that would meet legal requirements (for dealing with endangered species such as the piping plover, the bird responsible for much of this hubub) while still providing a more reasonable level of beach access for drivers?
Of course I also welcome input from those who support the closures, or even feel like this plan doesn’t go far enough.