Cape Hatteras National Seashore Acting Superintendent Patrick Reed announced that an additional popular section of Cape Point Spit at the cove area has been opened for off-road vehicle (ORV) and pedestrian use. Also, scheduled hours for much of the Cape Point ocean shoreline that remains open to ORV and pedestrian recreational use has been revised.
From 6 AM to 9 PM, 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 is accessible for public use from ORV Ramps 43 and 44.
The black skimmer chicks that were in the area fledged this past weekend, but the National Park Service is still protecting unfledged least tern chicks still on the ground. These chicks remain active at night and in the early morning putting them at potential risk from visitor and ORV use during these hours. Least terns are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The NPS will continue to monitor the terns until the chicks fledge.
The access corridor may be temporarily closed for short periods if chicks move into the corridor or if impacted by high tides. Tide swells from approaching full moon may cause higher than normal tides.
The National Park Service continues to explore adaptive management strategies to open the area at night. On the southside ocean shoreline further from the Point, approximately 360 yards of shoreline and some interior area of Cape Point are temporarily closed during all hours to ORV and pedestrian use due to the tern chicks, and migratory piping plovers in those areas.
Piping plovers are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
"Our 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 the of least tern chicks and changes in migratory plover use so that we can reopen additional shoreline access as soon as possible. We thank our park visitors and local communities for their cooperation in observing this closure."