Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier, August 4, 2013
Alistair Nicol / Flickr/Creative Commons

Cape Hatteras has been ranked as the sixth best beach in the nation by a leading beach expert, Dr. Stephen Leatherman ("Dr. Beach") of Florida International University.

Here's the list:

'Sunny Side Up' A picture of  a lifeguard chair
Creative Commons

The National Parks Service is trying to keep at least a few lifeguards on the Cape Hatteras Seashore this summer.

Federal officials cut the $200,000 program that staffed three beaches seven days a week during the summer.

Now, Outer Banks Group Superintendent Barclay Trimble said he wants lifeguard service contractors to offer bids that can accommodate a tighter budget.

Cape Point is south of Buxton, Map
Google

One of the most popular sections of the Cape Hatteras seashore is off limits for vehicles for the next few months. The Cape Point area south of Buxton is the migratory home to the piping plover, a nationally- recognized threatened species.

In 2011, the park service implemented a vehicle management plan that requires a 75 foot buffer zone be put up to prevent off-roaders from driving near the birds.

The wreck of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor lies off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Friday marks 150 years to the day since it sank.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary / noaa.gov

The NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary held a ceremony in Beaufort yesterday to unveil sign recognizing the 40th anniversary of the USS Monitor's discovery. The sign is the first of five to be dedicated that marks a place of significance in the Civil War vessel’s history. The USS Monitor was discovered 40 years ago in 230 feet of water about 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras. 

Bodie Island Lighthouse
National Park Service

For the first time ever, the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be open for public tours.  The structure was built in 1872 and has been closed for a $5 million renovation for the past four years. Years of exposure to harsh weather had brought on structural and safety problems. Restoration work included repairs to the spiral stairs, brickwork and the lens that still serves as a navigational guide for ships.

A bill that would re-open parts of Cape Hatteras to vehicles has passed the U.S. House.

Gurnal Scott: The legislation includes North Carolina congressman Walter Jones' bill lifting restrictions on access. The Federal Lands and Water Projects Bill overturns National Park Service rules keeping off-road vehicle traffic from a large part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Congressman Jones says this bill will have a positive effect on one of the state's top tourist areas.

Congressman Walter Jones has filed a bill to overturn new rules on beach driving along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The eastern North Carolina Republican says new restrictions to protect sea turtles and birds will harm the local recreational economy.

Walter Jones: Instead of finding a balance between the endangered species and the people, it seems like that they're always giving more consideration to the endangered species. And I'm for protecting the endangered species, you know my work to protect the horses at Shackleford Banks and up in Corolla.

AAA Carolinas expects more drivers on the road this holiday weekend despite damage from Hurricane Irene. The agency says about 870,000 motorists will be traveling in North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend. That's about 1 percent more than this time last year. And AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby says that includes areas with storm damage.

Dare County officials are asking residents to conserve power as utilities set up emergency generators on Hatteras Island. Parts of the main highway on the Outer Banks were washed away in four spots near Rodanthe. That left residents who waited out the storm stranded on Hatteras Island. Dare County spokeswoman Cathryn Bryan says emergency crews are taking bare essentials to the hardest hit areas.

A new project aims to give combat veterans and their families some rest and relaxation on the beach. Kevin McCabe is one of the founders of the Cape Hatteras Wounded Warriors project. Its main goal is to provide Purple Heart recipients with vacation getaways on Hatteras Island. McCabe says the idea was born out of a desire to give something back to those who have served their country.

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