Cape Hatteras National Seashore Vandalized During Government Shutdown
by Jessie S.
Amid reports of vandalism at national parks across the country during the government shutdown, the beloved Cape Hatteras National Seashore is unfortunately being added to that list.
In a Facebook post Thursday morning, Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA) shared the news that Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area had been recently vandalized. In a Charlotte Observer article, the National Park Service confirmed the reports of vandalism including destruction of park signs, driving on restricted areas of the beach and leaving human waste outside of the restroom facilities.
“It is not acceptable to tear up NPS signage. It is not acceptable to create a situation where the remaining NPS personnel are forced to clean up human waste outside of the toilet facilities. It is not acceptable to drive through vehicle free areas and do doughnuts in the sand,” the OBPA post reads.
Impacts of the Shutdown
Open only at the discretion park superintendent, David Hallac, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is one of many national parks impacted during the government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018. Many national parks across the country are completely closed while those that do remain open face limited staff due to employee furloughs. At locations like CHNS, the outside areas remain open to the public but access to visitor services and facilities like restrooms and trash pick-up are restricted. Typically, around 90 employees work for the CHNS but now there are only about 10 staff members who were not furloughed. As of today, January 18th, the government is shutdown for its 28th day.
Access Restored at Local Parks
Recently, some restroom facilities were reopened at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Ocracoke Visitor Center and Whalebone Junction thanks to funds generated by recreation fees while the NPS allowed for trash to be removed from Cape Hatteras National Seashore and several other sites including the Wright Brothers Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
Local organizations are also stepping up to help clean the parks during the shutdown. Last weekend, the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA) called out for volunteers and members to help clean up litter along the beaches, along the road, and even change out trash bags in existing trash cans.
Hallac does not yet feel the problems have escalated enough to close the park at this time but visitors are encouraged to help maintain access by respecting property, being responsible for their trash, and notifying local authorities if they see any vandalism occurring on park grounds.
Jessie has been coming to the Outer Banks since she was just 5 years old. She loved it here so much that she finally relocated in 2018. Now her mission is to show the world that the Outer Banks is an incredible place that everyone should experience. When she isn't working, you can find Jessie hanging out with her friends, chilling at home with her awesome cat, Yoji, or discovering a new Outer Banks adventure.