02/1/12

Beach Driving Permits – Costs Announced

The National Park Service has announced that there will be a new permitting process for Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) usage in the Cape Hatteras seashore. This rule is effective February 15, 2012.

Permits can be obtained beginning on February 15 at any of the three NPS ORV permit offices located at Coquina Beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (Buxton), and the Ocracoke Visitor Center. These offices will be open year-round, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with expanded hours on weekends and holidays during the summer season.

The cost of an annual permit (valid for the calendar year) is $120. A 7-day ORV permit (valid from the date issued) will cost $50.

In order to provide the public with ample time to obtain a permit, there will be a transition period between February 15 and March 15 before the rule is fully implemented and enforced. The FAQ and map is available on the Seashore’s website.

Visit this quick link to view the map of designated ORV routes: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/upload/2012-CAHA-ORV-Routes-Map-2.pdf


What does this mean for you, our vacation guests?

• To drive an ORV on the beach, a permit will need to be purchased and a 7-minute video will need to be watched at any of the three NPS ORV permit offices located at Coquina Beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (Buxton), and the Ocracoke Visitor Center

• One permit is necessary per vehicle someone intends to drive on the beach.

• You can purchase a full year permit for $120 (calendar year) or a 7-day permit for $50 (7 days from date of purchase).

• Driving will only be permitted in specified areas, and those areas are subject to closures due to “resource protection” or if the capacity limit for the area has been met. Available ORV Routes are listed on the map here: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/upload/2012-CAHA-ORV-Routes-Map-2.pdf .

• The National Park Service website has been updated with FAQ and map information at http://www.nps.gov/caha


Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a permit to operate a vehicle off road?

Yes. To obtain an ORV permit, you must complete a short education program, acknowledge in writing that you understand and agree to abide by the rules governing ORV use at the Seashore, and pay the applicable permit fee. Both weekly (7-day, valid from the date of issuance) and annual (calendar year) ORV permits will be available.


Is there a limit to the number of ORV permits available?

No. There will be no limit to the number of permits that the Superintendent could issue. However, use restrictions may limit the number of vehicles on a particular route at one time.
Several of my family members have ORVs that we would like to use on Seashore beaches.


Do we need to get a permit for each vehicle?

Yes. You will need to get a permit for each vehicle that you want to use for driving on designated ORV routes. You must display the proof of permit, in a manner and location specified by the Superintendent, on each vehicle that you operate on designated ORV routes within the Seashore. (The proof of permit may be a color coded windshield sticker, hang tag for the rear-view mirror, or some other indicator provided by NPS.)


Where can I operate my vehicle off road?

Once you obtain an ORV permit, you may operate a vehicle off road only on designated routes. Maps of designated ORV routes will be available in the Office of the Superintendent and on the Seashore Web site. For your convenience, we have copied the ORV route chart below or you can find them here: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/upload/2012-CAHA-ORV-Routes-Map-2.pdf


Does the ORV permit guarantee that all designated ORV routes will be open for me to use?

No. In addition to the referenced seasonal restrictions, ORV routes are subject to temporary resource and safety closures. However, past experience indicates that substantial portions of the beach designated as ORV routes will remain open for ORV use even when other sections are temporarily closed.


Are there any requirements for my vehicle?

Yes. To receive a permit to operate a vehicle on designated ORV routes, your vehicle must:
• Be registered, licensed, and insured for highway use and comply with inspection requirements for the state, country, or province where the vehicle is registered
• Have no more than two axles and be equipped with tires that are listed or approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation as described at: http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/Tires/Tires+Rating/Passenger+Vehicles.
• Be equipped with a low-pressure tire gauge, shovel, jack, and jack support board.


Can I drive on designated ORV routes at night?

Yes, but not at all times on all routes.

From November 16 through April 30: ORVs will be allowed on designated ORV routes 24 hours a day, subject to the terms and conditions established under an ORV permit.

From May 1 through September 14: Designated ORV routes in potential sea turtle nesting habitat (ocean intertidal zone, ocean backshore, and dunes) will be closed to ORVs from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m.

From September 15 through November 15: Designated ORV routes in potential sea turtle nesting habitat (ocean intertidal zone, ocean backshore, and dunes) will remain closed to ORVs from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m., however, the Superintendent may reopen portions of designated ORV routes at night if there are no turtle nests remaining. This is a minor change to the dates in the ROD. NPS has decided it will be easier for the public to understand and more convenient to administer if the night-driving dates coincided with some of the seasonal ORV route dates. Therefore, night driving may be allowed beginning on September 15 instead of September 16. Routes that are subject to these night-driving restrictions, as well as routes or portions of routes identified as having no turtle nests remaining, will be shown on maps available in the Office of the Superintendent and on the Seashore Web site.


Is a separate permit required for night driving?

No. It will be covered by the ORV permit required to drive on the designated ORV routes in the Seashore.


I have a family member who is disabled or mobility-impaired. Can I use my ORV to drive that family member to the beach where we are gathering, even if it is not designated as an ORV route?

Yes, if you obtain a special-use permit for that purpose. The special-use permit will allow you to transport mobility-impaired individuals to a predetermined location in a beach area in front of a village that is not otherwise open to ORV use. You will be subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the permit. Additionally, you should keep in mind that with a standard ORV permit you will have access to many miles of beach open to ORVs year-round or seasonally. In those areas, vehicles may simply be parked in the ORV corridor.


Basic Definitions

ORV corridor means the actual physical limits of the designated ORV route in the Seashore. On the landward side, the ORV corridor on Seashore beaches will be marked when possible by posts that are located seaward of the toe of the dune or the vegetation line. On the seaward side, the corridor runs to the water line, which will not be marked by posts unless necessary. Where the ocean beach is at least 30 meters wide above the high tide line, the landward side of the corridor will be posted at least 10 meters seaward of the toe of the dune.

ORV permits: ORV permits are a form of NPS special park use permits, which are issued and administered by the Superintendent and for which the NPS charges a fee to recover its administrative costs.
(i) A permit issued by the Superintendent is required to operate a vehicle on designated ORV routes at the Seashore.
(ii) Operation of a motor vehicle authorized under an ORV permit is limited to those routes designated in the ORV routes chart.
(iii) There is no limit to the number of ORV permits that the Superintendent may issue.
(iv) Annual ORV permits are valid for the calendar year for which they are issued. Seven-day ORV permits are valid from the date of issue.
(v) In order to obtain a permit, an applicant must comply with vehicle and equipment requirements, complete a short education program in a manner and location specified by the Superintendent, acknowledge in writing an understanding of the rules governing ORV use at the Seashore, and pay the permit fee.
(vi) Each permit holder must affix the proof of permit, in a manner and location specified by the Superintendent, to the vehicle covered by the permit for use off-road.

ORV ROUTES:
The following ramps are designated for off-road use to provide access to ocean beaches: 2.5, 4, 23, 25.5, 27, 30, 32.5, 34, 38, 43, 44, 47.5, 49, 55, 59, 59.5, 63, 67, 68, 70, and 72.

Designated ORV routes and ramps are subject to resource, safety, seasonal, and other closures.
Soundside ORV access ramps are described below.

For a village beach to be open to ORV use during the winter season, it must be at least 20 meters (66 feet) wide from the toe of the dune seaward to mean high tide line. Maps showing designated routes and ramps will be available in the Office of the Superintendent and on the Seashore Web site.

BODIE ISLAND–DESIGNATED ROUTES

YEAR ROUND: Ramp 2.5 (0.5 miles south of the southern boundary of Coquina Beach) to 0.2 miles south of ramp 4.

SEASONAL (September 15 to March 14): 0.2 miles south of ramp 4 to the eastern confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and Oregon Inlet.

HATTERAS ISLAND–DESIGNATED ROUTES

YEAR ROUND:
1.5 miles south of ramp 23 to ramp 27.
Ramp 30 to ramp 32.5.

The following soundside ORV access routes from NC Highway 12 to Pamlico Sound between the villages of Salvo and Avon: soundside ramps 46, 48, 52, 53, 54 and the soundside ORV access at Little Kinnakeet.
Ramp 38 to 1.5 miles south of ramp 38.

The following soundside ORV access routes from NC Highway 12 to Pamlico Sound between the villages of Avon and Buxton: soundside ramps 57, 58, 59, and 60.
0.4 miles north of ramp 43 to Cape Point to 0.3 miles west of “the hook.”
Interdunal route from intersection with Lighthouse Road (i.e., ramp 44) to ramp 49, with one spur route from the interdunal route to the ORV route below.
Ramp 47.5 to east Frisco boundary.

A soundside ORV access route from Museum Drive to Pamlico Sound near Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet.
Pole Road from Museum Drive to Spur Road to Pamlico Sound, with one spur route, commonly known as Cable Crossing, to Pamlico Sound and four spur routes to the ORV route below.
Ramp 55 southwest along the ocean beach for 1.6 miles, ending at the intersection with the route commonly known as Bone Road.

SEASONAL (November 1 to March 31):
0.1 mile south of Rodanthe Pier to ramp 23.
Ramp 34 to ramp 38 (Avon).
East Frisco boundary to west Frisco boundary (Frisco village beach).
East Hatteras boundary to ramp 55 (Hatteras village beach).

OCRACOKE ISLAND–DESIGNATED ROUTES

YEAR ROUND:
Ramp 59 to ramp 63. After ramp 59.5 is constructed, it will replace ramp 59 for ORV access and the route will be from ramp 59.5 to ramp 63.
Three routes from NC Highway 12 to Pamlico Sound located north of the Pony Pens, commonly known as Prong Road, Barrow Pit Road, and Scrag Cedar Road.
1.0 mile northeast of ramp 67 to 0.5 mile northeast of ramp 68.
A route from NC Highway 12 to Pamlico Sound located near Ocracoke Campground, commonly known as Dump Station Road.
0.4 miles northeast of ramp 70 to Ocracoke inlet.
A route from ramp 72 to a pedestrian trail to Pamlico Sound, commonly known as Shirley’s Lane.

SEASONAL (September 15 to March 14): A seasonal route 0.6 mile south of ramp 72 from the beach route to a pedestrian trail to Pamlico Sound.
A seasonal route at the north end of South Point spit from the beach route to Pamlico Sound.
November 1 to March 31 0.5 mile northeast of ramp 68 to ramp 68 (Ocracoke Campground area).

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