Driving assessment

ORV corridor established near Cape Point

VHR corridor of 2021. photo CHNS

An off-road vehicle (ORV) corridor was established near Cape Point on Friday morning, April 15, due to American Oystercatcher breeding activity, according to a recent access update to the beach of Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS).

“The same pair of [oystercatchers] who have used the Cape Point area for the past six years have laid a nest, which is why we have set up an all-terrain vehicle corridor,” said Michael Barber, public affairs specialist for CHNS. “This allows all-terrain vehicles to pass through Cape Point.”

“We will continue to monitor this nest and make adjustments to the area as needed,” Barber said in an email update. “Due to the reduced size of the Cape Point area, it is likely that the southern tip of Cape Point will close in 24-30 days when the nest hatches.”

The corridor begins 0.17 mile south of ramp 44 and takes vehicles directly to the point, which remains open.

Access west of Bypass Road for approximately 0.42 mile is available for pedestrians wishing to use the road, and the distance from the Bypass Road entrance to the open beach is approximately 0.20 mile. Part of South Beach is also open after a short walk from the parking lot at the south end of South Beach Road.

When the buffer zones for breeding/nesting activities were changed in 2015, the new rules included the possibility of placing a driving corridor in front of the nesting areas, so that vehicles could cross and access the open areas of the shore. So Cape Point will remain open for as long as possible, using the modified wildlife buffers.

“In consecutive years, we have used VHR corridors to extend VHR access to Cape Point by approximately one month over previous years,” Barber said. “Before the ORV corridors were put in place… Cape Point was closing regularly in early April. Without this morning’s corridor installation, Cape Point would be closed.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach access updates are posted regularly at http://go.nps.gov/beachaccess.

Additionally (and new for 2022), CHNS visitors interested in receiving off-road vehicle updates can now sign up for ORV-specific text alerts by texting CAHAORV to 333111.