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At tonight's meeting at CHAC, NPS Supt. Larry Belli announce sweeping & massive proposed beach closures in an attempt to entice piping plover to nest at Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet, and Cape Point. These closures would effectively close 90% of these areas to ALL HUMAN ACTIVITY from the time they are enacted until as late as August 31st.

Belli has engaged in a Section 7 consultation with the US Fish & Wildlife Service Ecological Services Office in Raleigh, NC. The proposed closures were recommended from that office.

The text of the cover letter from Mr. Belli to US Fish & Wildlife follows. READ THIS CAREFULLY!! Beach use at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is under SERIOUS attack.

The closures recommended come straight from the text of the latest petition filed against NPS by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Wilderness Society, and the National Resources Defense Council. This petition seeks to severely restrict, if not outright ban ORV use within the Seashore. NPS has left itself open because it has not had a formal ORV management plan in place. The plan in use now is an interim plan & has never been formalized.

This is serious chit, folks. If NPS doesn't hear from you, they will think that it's OK to close your favorite fishing areas again this year and for years to come. If you value your ability to fish Cape Point, Oregon & Hatteras Inlets, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS LETTER!!


Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Wright Brothers National Memorial
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive
Manteo,NorthCarolina 27954

United States Department of the Interior

N16 (CAHA)

APR-7 2005
Mr. Pete Benjamin
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Ecological Services
P.O.Box 33726
Raleigh, NC 27636-3726

Dear Mr. Benjamin:
We are writing under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to notify the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of closures planned to protect breeding piping plover at Cape Hatteras National Seashore at the beginning of this breeding season.
We propose closing the three spits (Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island) except for an 80 foot corridor around the ocean and inlet beaches that will remain open for recreational use including ORVs (see maps in attachment #1). The soundside beach will be closed to all recreational use to provide some foraging habitat for plovers that may breed on the spits. The point where the ORV corridor terminates at the inlet shore is a little different at each spit because of the existence of tidal and ephemeral pools and flats that are excellent foraging areas and have been used by breeding plovers in past seasons.
In addition, we propose closures at Cape Point, Hatteras spit at three overwashes from Hurricane Isabel and Green Island (see maps in attachment # I). Green Island, located just north of Oregon Inlet, is only accessible by boat. It will be posted as a full closure to all boat landing and visitor use. The three overwash passes on Hatteras spit located approximately 2 miles northeast of Hatteras Inlet will be closed for visitor use to include nesting and foraging habitat and including the sound side shore. Cape Point will be open to ORV and visitor access along the eastern shore so that visitors can reach the actual point to fish and recreate. The small, recently created pond on the flats at the point will be closed including the western shore of the point and proceeding west to the first interdunal access route to the beach. Further west along ''south beach” two closures wil1 be installed that allow an 80 foot ORV corridor and extend landward to include nesting and foraging habitat east and west of the "drain:'
To mitigate for impacts to the breeding piping plovers from these visitor uses, we plan to increase monitoring of closures with additional staff and volunteers. Monitoring will be focused on both bird behavior (biological monitoring) as well as visitor compliance with the closures (compliance monitoring). Closures will be adjusted based on monitoring observations.
Biological monitoring will be conducted by qualified biologists assisted by trained staff. Any observations by trained staff will be quickly confirmed by qualified biologists who will make management recommendations based on their observations. (See biological monitoring schedule and staff training in attachment #2)

Compliance monitoring will be conducted by Park Rangers with law enforcement commissions assisted by trained staff. Trained staff will not respond directly to violations but will serve as “eyes and ears” for commissioned rangers in addition to carrying out informal interpretive contacts. If violations are seen, trained staff will immediately contact rangers who will respond if not dealing with a life or death emergency.

We also plan an increased effort at public education and awareness through a variety of media (radio, television, brochures, signs, interpretive programs, etc.)

We also expect to adjust closures if plovers nest and just prior to expect hatching. Closures for nests and closures for chicks will follow the recommendations in the recovery plan as described in the attached Superintendents Order # 10: Monitoring and Protection of Species of Concern (see attachment #3).

We believe these procedures for the 2005 piping plover breeding season meet the requirements of the Atlantic coast piping plover recovery plan. Therefore, we have determined that these actions may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect this protected species.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 252-473-2111.

Lawrence A. Belli Superintendent

1. Maps of proposed closures
2. Biological monitoring schedule and staff training
3. Superintendent's Order on wildlife protection

John Yancy, SERO Natural Resource & Science Manager

OBPA'S Contact List

114 Posts
Looks like someone thought Belli went a little too far.

CONTACT 404-562-3182 Paul Winegar

Cape Hatteras Group Superintendent

Reassigned to NPS Regional Office

(ATLANTA)—The National Park Service has reassigned Outer Banks Group
Superintendent Larry Belli to the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta,
effective immediately.

Southeast Regional Director Patricia Hooks said the deputy superintendent
at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Philip A. Francis, will take over
as acting manager of the Outer Banks Group until a successor to Belli is

Belli has been in charge of the Outer Banks parks—Cape Hatteras National
Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National
Historic Site—since August 2001. During his tenure, he led the 100th
anniversary celebration of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk,
one of the largest special events ever held in North Carolina.

“Larry did a fine job in planning and directing the Wright Brothers event,”
Regional Director Hooks said. “However, it has been determined that it is
in the best interests of the Park Service to make a change immediately,”
she said. “We anticipate that his experience will be helpful in other

Before moving to the Outer Banks, Belli served for eight years as deputy
superintendent at Everglades National Park in Florida. He also has been
superintendent of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, and
previously worked at Grand Canyon and Shenandoah national parks and Glen
Canyon National Recreation Area.

In Atlanta, Belli will be assigned to the concessions division, which
oversees privately operated concessions in the southeast region that
encompasses nine states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The new acting superintendent for the Outer Banks parks, Phil Francis, has
been in the number two job at Great Smoky Mountains for 10 years. On two
occasions, he has been acting superintendent of America’s most visited
national park for more than a year each time. He also was a member of the
top management team for the Park Service’s former southwest region
headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M.

534 Posts
Belli thought Hatteras Island was his private preserve and did about as much as he could to keep people away and harass a life stlye that has existed on the island for generations
Finally transfered to be ---Head popcycle salesman for the NPS Atlanta Region-- I love it. [excited][excited]
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