The ocean beach on South Core Banks north of Ramp 24 is now open to off-road vehicle traffic, allowing access to New Drum Inlet. The area was closed June 15 to protect piping plover chicks using this area. All of the plover chicks are now old enough to fly.
Over one third of the nesting piping plovers in North Carolina were found within two miles of New Drum Inlet. On the South Core Banks side of the inlet, ten nesting pairs had a total of twelve nests. Nine of the nests hatched and sixteen chicks survived to fledge successfully. The nesting success for the birds in this area exceeded the goal set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the number of chicks produced by nesting pairs.
The 2005 piping plover nesting season at Cape Lookout National Seashore has concluded as one of the most productive in recent years. Twenty seven nesting pairs on the four islands between Ocracoke Inlet and Beaufort Inlet successfully raised 23 chicks, the most in the park since 1993. In addition to protecting the nesting birds from disturbance, park staff also used fence to protect most of the nests from predators. After ten years of declining numbers it's hoped that this season marks the start of better things for this rare shorebird.