Overnight Ocracoke and Hatteras beaches and landmarks closed

Photo via the Island Free Press, taken by Don Bowers and Connie Leinbach.

Photo via the Island Free Press, taken by Don Bowers and Connie Leinbach.

Photo via the Island Free Press, taken by Don Bowers and Connie Leinbach.

Photo via the Island Free Press, taken by Don Bowers and Connie Leinbach.

Blue skies and mid-70s temperatures have the makings of a lovely day at the beach. Although summer weather might be sounding its last hurrah, and it might have been the perfect day to enjoy the beach at Hatteras and Ocracoke, most of the beaches were closed to the public due to the federal government shutdown.

The shutdown officially began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and by daylight Park Service personnel were already erecting barricades and chaining ocean and soundside beaches, according to the Island Free Press.

Here is what is open and closed on the national seashore, based on info from the Island Free Press :

  • All ramps on the seashore – on the oceanside and the soundside – are chained or blocked.
  • All visitor centers and maintenance and administrative facilities are closed.
  • The road to the Bodie Island Lighthouse is barricaded.  The Lighthouse Road in Buxton is blocked just beyond Flowers Ridge Road.
  • All ORV permit offices are closed.
  • All parking areas on the soundside and the oceanside have been closed and secured – including facilities at Coquina Beach, Ocracoke Day Use Area, Canadian Hole, Kite Point, the Frisco Bathhouse, and Sandy Bay day use area. Also closed and secured are all parking areas at various oceanside ramps on Hatteras and Ocracoke.
  • Campers have until 6 p.m. to leaved the campgrounds.
  • Commercial operations within the seashore are also closed. The Avon Pier closed at noon, and the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center will close at 6 p.m. Thursday. (The Rodanthe Pier remains open because the owners no longer have a Park Service concession since the pier, after erosion, is no long on seashore property.)
  • The three airstrips in the park area will be closed.
  • All National Park Service websites are closed down, and visitors to the sites will get a message about the shutdown.

In Pea Island and other refuges visitor centers are closed and public access is not allowed on the beaches and trails.

In a news release today refuge manager Mike Bryant explained further, “This means all public uses of these national wildlife refuges cease completely — no hunting or fishing– even hunts for which people have been issued special permits, like the Pungo Hunt scheduled for this week.”

“It means no birdwatching, no walking on the beaches or trails, and no driving to see bears. It means that these federally-owned lands are closed.  The closure also includes Visitor Centers and offices.  For refuge employees, it means no work.  No checking e-mails, no posting on web pages, no management activities, and no public programs — on or off the refuge.  The few Refuge staff we have working will be limited to activities that protect of life and property or communications internally concerning the closure.”

Store owners report frustration from visitors and residents alike.

People have to get creative about water access, and in Ocracoke need to know someone with private sound-side access.  The 16 miles of beach and all of the soundside access not in Ocracoke village are on National Park Service land.

On Tuesday a tourism post was published in desperate attempt to remind people that Ocracoke Village still offers plenty, and that the economy is dependent  the tourism industry.

“I’m among the lucky ones who can go to the beach any time,” islander Robin Turner told reporter Irene Nolan. “But how unfortunate for those here on their vacations and to not be able to utilize the very reason they came.”

Read more on Island Free Press.

14 comments

  • Tom Pahl

    Ocracoke is open! There is a lot to do even if the beach is “shutdown.” There IS access to the sound side at Springers Point, which is a beautiful piece of preserved forest with a nice soundside beach belonging to the Nature Preserve and it’s open. Plus you can go fishing on a charter boat, go parasailing, rent boats, shop in the cool shops in the village, go for a sunset sail, eat at great restaurants, go to a coffee shop, walk around the historic village, take a ghostly tour….there’s A LOT TO DO in Ocracoke

  • Ocralocal

    Don’t tell anyone, but there were a lot of people at the beaches on Ocracoke today…all except the one beach they call the “lifeguard beach” which was closed, and the driving accesses were chained.

  • None of your DAMN business

    Your legislators are still collecting their pay. Why should you cry because your vacation is compromised? Hatteras seashore has been owned by birders representing a breed that is doing well in other areas and wanders to breed only marginally in the park for years now, denying access to our beaches. I wonder why the tax paying public is denied. Can our representatives be bought for birdseed?

    Has the government denied health care or wages to its legislators during this fabricated hoax. Will O’bummer and the rest of our elected reprehensibles (0pps, never mind) relay on his health care plan to provide coverage for him and his family after his term has expired, and he is UNEMPLOYED!

    OPPS! (Politicians once bought are never unemployed!)

    I suppose that the application of the remaining funds is a matter delegated to special interests, and that that interest does not lie (damn how appropriate that word seems!) with the common good! (That would be us common folks who save for one or two weeks just to enjoy!)

    Plague on them all! I will paddle my kayak and fish off the shores of the closed areas and curse them all!
    Wish me good fishing next week.
    And pardon if I woke anyone up.

  • None of your DAMN business

    If the government is shut down then Hatteras and all “National Parks” must be Public land and free to all citizens who wish to access them!

  • Jeff nelson

    We the people are the government and we own the government.
    This does not make any sense.we should be free to use these beaches and accesses no matter what is going on in Washington. We as tax payers bought those beaches.

  • Bill Hobbs

    There is no such thing as “federal-owned land.” The American public owns public lands. The proper response of the citizenry should be to remove those barricades and go to the beach – its YOUR beach. It does not belong to the federal government and they have no legal right or authority to barricade it.

  • Brian

    I agree with Jeff. Just because the government can’t set a budget to pay the employees, they shouldn’t have the right to close the properties that are owned by the people.

    • Ocralocal

      In fact the enforcement folks are apparently looking tother way all along the Cape Hatteras Nat. Seashore. You can’t drive onto the beach, but plenty of people are parking along the road and walking over the dunes.

  • Randy

    I arrived on the island Tuesday afternoon, my family and I were very disappointed, we have been enjoying the beach for 20 years, we drove about 12 miles from town parked along RT12 and carried our things over the dune, and didn’t get a ticket, we did that all week.
    I just don’t think Washington should be able to just say to bad for you and family, they still took my tax money on all the money I spent

  • Political Girl

    This is a perfect example of why the bulk of national parks should be turned over to the states where they are located. This is being done by the White House to punish the American citizen. Obama wants to continue to spend us into a Greek-like debt situation and the House is trying to stop it.

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