Cape Hatteras National Seashore Acting Superintendent Patrick Reed has announced that much of the Cape Point ocean shoreline reopened to off-road vehicle (ORV) and pedestrian recreational day use today at 12:00 PM. This includes the entire ocean shoreline on the north side of Cape Point, the Point itself, and some of the southside ocean shoreline following around the Point. These Cape Point beaches had been temporarily closed to protect three piping plover chicks, now fledged.
A section of the southside ocean shoreline further from the Point and some interior area of Cape Point will remain temporarily closed to ORV and pedestrian use due to black skimmer chicks and migratory piping plovers still using those areas. Initially, the beaches reopened for public use at Cape Point will be open for day use only and temporarily closed from 7:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. to protect the black skimmer chicks. Black skimmer chicks remain active at nighttime and in the early morning putting them at potential risk from visitor and ORV use during these hours. The National Park Service continues to explore adaptive management strategies to open the area at night as soon as possible.
Black skimmers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Piping plovers are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
"The Service's goal is to provide as much open beach access as possible while fulfilling our required legal responsibilities for these protected birds" stated Reed. "We will be closely monitoring for fledging and movement of the black skimmer chicks and changes in migratory plover use so that we can reopen shoreline access as soon as possible. We thank our park visitors and local communities for their cooperation in observing this closure."