FYI on the new regulations for ORV use on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore effective as of 02/15/2012.
Effective February 15, 2012
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a popular recreation destination where visitors participate in a variety of recreational activities. Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are one way for visitors to enjoy the seashore's ocean beaches and sound-side waters. The seashore also contains important wildlife habitat created by dynamic environmental processes. Several species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the piping plover, seabeach amaranth, and three species of sea turtles, are found within the park.
To comply with executive orders and a National Park Service (NPS) regulation regarding the use of ORVs on the public lands within the National Park System, the NPS has recently developed an ORV management plan and special regulation to preserve the unique plants and wildlife of this dynamic barrier island ecosystem while permitting the carefully managed use of vehicles on designated ORV routes at the seashore. The special regulation becomes effective on February 15, 2012.
The special regulation requires visitors to have an ORV special use permit to operate a vehicle on the designated ORV routes at the seashore. ORV permits can be obtained beginning February 15th at any of the three NPS 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 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with expanded hours on weekends and holidays during the summer season. The cost of an annual ORV permit (valid for the calendar year) is $120. The cost for a 7-day ORV permit (valid from the date issued) is $50.
More information about beach driving and beach access is available at the following links:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (ver. 02/10/12)
ORV Route Map (ver. 02/10/12)
Google Earth Interactive Beach Access Map
Additional information on the seashore's ORV management plan and special regulation is available at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment Website.