18 Jun CCA Supports Beach Access To Cape Hatteras Seashore
In light of the expected vote this week on H.R. 2578, The Conservation and Economic Growth Act, we are writing to express our strong support for Title X: the Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act. This provision mirrors language from H.R. 4094, a bill to reinstate the Interim Management Strategy governing off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, which passed the House Natural Resources committee on June 7, 2012. The park’s recently implemented final ORV rule is severely restricting public access to one of the East Coast’s most popular surf fishing areas and causing dire economic impacts to the local community. This legislation is needed to provide relief to this community by requiring the park to be managed under the Interim Management Strategy until a more reasonable and balanced final ORV plan is developed.
The sportfishing industry and anglers are true conservationists who directly invest in the conservation and management of fishery resources and care about the conservation of our nation’s natural resources – including those at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. We believe strongly that reasonable access to the beaches can be provided for ORVs while protecting nesting shorebirds and other wildlife. The final ORV management plan currently in place severely restricts access to the most popular areas of the seashore far beyond what is needed for fish and wildlife resource management. In implementing the final ORV management plan, the Park Service ignored the numerous comments of the sportfishing community and local residents. This plan is the most restrictive management plan to date and not only threatens sportfishing in the park, but the seashore’s local economy, which is largely dependent upon tourism and recreation. The Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act will reinstate an interim management strategy that underwent the appropriate review process, restoring reasonable ORV and pedestrian access while providing appropriate shorebird and resource protection.
On behalf of the nation’s sportfishing community, we respectfully request that you support this important legislation.
Coastal Conservation Association
American Sportfishing Association
Center for Coastal Conservation
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
International Game Fish Association