A Final Rule for Hatteras

NC Shorebirds Need Your Help

Once again, nesting shorebirds need our help. Speak out against the proposed modifications to beach-driving rules at Cape Hatteras National Seashore today!

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) has opened a public comment period to consider changes to the ORV regulation of morning opening of beaches, extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and modifying the size and location of vehicle free areas. Our position remains the same.

These modifications don’t adequately protect our birds.

We encourage you to submit comments BEFORE MARCH 18.

Why Protections Matter

A review indicates protections for birds and turtles are reduced by allowing driving during courtship and nesting periods, and opening beaches to driving before the areas are thoroughly checked for sea turtle nests. Seasonal ORV routes left open to vehicles until April 14th in areas with a history of nesting birds may jeopardize populations of oystercatchers, Least Terns and more priority species that arrive earlier and provide no protections for migrating and wintering shorebirds, including the endangered Red Knot.

This proposed modification threatens our birds and wildlife on the Seashore.

How to Voice Your Concern

We all have a responsibility to tell the National Park Service that birds and wildlife matter. Tell them that birds and wildlife deserve protection before March 18.

1. Click to fill out the form with your comments. Select the “Open for Comment” link to view and comment on the EA.

2. OR submit written comments by mail to:


Cape Hatteras National Seashore

1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

3. Share this urgent message with your network. Share our Facebook posts or tweets and encourage everyone to speak out for the birds at the Seashore. 

Thank you for once again rallying to the defense of our birds and the enjoyment of wildlife by visitors to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.


It is important and more powerful if you share your personal passion for wildlife on the beaches and to make points that specifically address the Environmental Assessment, rather than using our talking points verbatim, but here are points to consider.

To review the Environmental Assessment and submit comments, click here. Then click the "Open for Comment" button on the left hand side of the page. Select the document you wish to review and then click "Comment on Document" to enter and submit your comments.

Specifically, my concerns are:

  • I want to see the beaches checked for bird and turtle nests, as well as eggs and chicks before the beaches open to ORV traffic both before and during nesting season, and that adequate protection for migrating shorebirds is also addressed.
  • Open beaches during sea turtle nesting only after beaches have been checked for nests and nests have been adequately protected from vehicle traffic, regardless of time of day.
  • I want you to use the best available science to protect birds and turtles: pre-nesting closures, adequate buffers, no driving in front of chicks and enumerate specific triggers for closures based on bird behaviors.

I am counting on you to protect:

  • The current plan. Any rule changes should be supported by peer-reviewed science as the law states, not just convenience or community pressure.
  • Adequate seasonal driving restrictions. Seasonal ORV routes left open to vehicles until April 14th in areas with a history of nesting birds may jeopardize nesting of oystercatchers, Least Terns, sea turtles and other wildlife.
  • Our birds. Allowing more ORV access isn’t the stewardship we count on from the National Park Service; vehicle free areas should be expanded to protect Red Knots, oystercatchers and other shorebirds.
  • Seashore visitors. Beaches riddled with vehicles and tire ruts is not the experience we expect when we visit a National Seashore and a safety hazard for families with young children who want to enjoy beaches without fear of being hit by a vehicle. 

Our wildlife deserves these protections, and scientific research has shown that these North Carolina native birds and sea turtles need beach-driving restrictions to survive.

Please listen to the public that loves our beaches and the wildlife that calls it home. We’re asking you to cease further actions affecting the wildlife on the Seashore without substantial scientific research to support them.

How you can help, right now