The OBPA submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on September 14 on the proposed rule to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Loggerhead sea turtle.  The rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2013 with notice of a public comment period.  The public comment period was reopened by notice in the Federal Register on July 18, 2013.  The comment period ends on September 16. 

The rule considers all beaches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as potential candidates for designation for the Loggerhead Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment. A total of 184 different beach segments ranging in length from 0.2 km to 90.0 km are found in these states.  Total length for all beach segments considered is 2,464 km.  Of the 184 segments, 90 segments totaling 1,189.9 km are being proposed as Critical Habitat designation.

In North Carolina,  eight beach segments totaling 154.6 km are proposed as critical habitat.  These  segments are Bogue Banks, Bear Island, Topsail Island, Lea-Hutaff Island, Pleasure Island, Bald Head Island, Oak Island and Holden Beach.

Neither Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area nor Cape Lookout National Seashore are designated as Critical Habitat in the current proposal. 
The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted comments asking that both CAHA and CALO be added to the designated Critical Habitat units.

The OBPA made ten recommendations in the comments it submitted.  One recommendation was that Cape Hatteras not be added to the Critical Habitat designation.  A second recommendation was that no beaches in North Carolina should be designated as Critical Habitat.  In each case, the OBPA argued that the nest counts and nest density per kilometer compared to other beach segments within the six states are far too low for Cape Hatteras or other North Carolina beaches to be considered critical to the survival of the species.

Click here to read the comments, details for these two recommendations and the other eight recommendations submitted.

National Parks Subcommittee Hearing Scheduled 4/23/2013 - S.486

The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks announced a hearing to be held on 4/23/2013 to hear testimony on 14 National Parks Bills iincluding S. 486 - To authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area, and for other purposes.

The full agenda for the hearing can be viewed at

We will update this article as inofrmation becomes available.

March 14, 2013

House Subcommittee Hearing on H.R. 819 - "P
reserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act"

On March 14, 2013 the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a Legislative Hearing on H.R. 588, H.R. 716 and H.R. 819.

Congressman Walter B. Jones and Warren Judge, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners gave testimony in support of this legislation.  They made clear the problems which have been created for the visitors and residents of the Outer Banks by the promulgation of the ORV rule on February 15, 2012 and the importance of the passage of H.R. 819.

Information concerning the hearing can be viewed at the
Hearing website

Links to the written testimony submitted, as well as to the archived hearing webcast are also available on the site.

Minutes of the OPBA Annual Members Meeting – Saturday October 12, 2012

The Annual OBPA public meeting for was called to order at 7:00 pm at the Angler’s Club in Buxton, NC.  The directors in attendance were John Couch, Natalie Kavanagh, Anne Bowers, Pat Weston, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, Ron Tasso and David Scarborough.  There were 14 guests present for the meeting.

President John Couch began the meeting by introducing the board by name and title; Pat Weston – Vice President, Anne Bowers – Secretary, David Scarborough – Treasurer and the directors Natalie Kavanagh, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, and Ron Tasso.  Board member Wayne Mathis was unable to attend because he was attending the UMAPA board meeting in Maryland as a representative for the OBPA.

The Treasurer’s report was given by David Scarborough.  Fundraisers continue to be critical to OBPA’s mission as well as the amazing support from the membership through annual dues and donations.  The bank account has been growing over the last 3 years to meet the challenges ahead.  The balance was $99,547 in 2010, $204,252 in 2011 and $204,707 by September 30, 3012.  The balance reflects the $15,500 loan from the United Mobile Access Preservation Alliance.

In 2011, the OBPA raised about $125,000 through the following means:  $30,000 from membership dues, $6,500 from fundraisers, $8,000 from merchandise sales and $80,000 from contributions with recognition to a $40,000 donation from NCBBA and $5,000 from the Fishing Hole in Salvo and $5,000 from UMAPA. In early  2012, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club donated $5,000.

Legal fees continue to be the OBPA’s largest expense.  So far in 2012, $62,000 had been paid out in legal fees alone.

An overview was given on the legislative side of our mission.  HR-4094 was introduced on February 28, 2012 and later combined with HR-2598 which passed on June 19, 2012.  S-2372 remains in committee.  There is a strong effort to move it to the floor for a vote.  Angler’s Club, NCBBA along with the OBPA continue to urge their members to call their state senators.  The window is closing due to the November 6th election but there is still an opportunity.  In January 2013, the board will reconsider how to more forward.

The legal effort was also addressed but there was no time table yet.

Anne Bowers spoke on the fundraising efforts put forth for 2012.  A new T-shirt design was introduced over the summer with a design to appeal to multiple user groups.  Just released was a new pocket tee.  They are available online or at area stores.  Sales have been strong on this new product.

Donation jars that are all over the county in several retail businesses continue to be the OBPA’s largest fundraiser.

Smaller and regular BBQs have replaced the single large ‘Stand in the Sand’ event which took place 3 summers in a row at the Fessenden Center.  The BBQs are easier to handle because it takes less people and is more profitable.

The board is always open to fresh ideas for fundraising that our small group can handle and a general call for volunteers was made.

Pat Weston gave an overview of the effects that Hurricane Irene in 2011 had on the island and the OBPA.  Storm recovery became first and foremost for our membership as well as the board members.  All fundraisers for 2011 ended with the hurricane.  The start of required beach driving permits began on Feb. 15, 2012 while the island was still in the throws of recovery.

 A report about the ORV permit was also given by Pat Weston who got some information for Darrell Echols of the NPS.  The new stickers will go attach to the inside of the windshield for 2013.  The NPS reported the permit situation was working well and the longest wait over the season was around 15 minutes.  From February 15 through October 7, 2012, 7,513 annual permits had been sold and 20,398 weekly permits sold which adds up to nearly 2 million dollars in permit sales.  Echols reported that they experienced fewer problems with beach driving since the permit system began and this was probably due to their increased education.   He also said that there were very few disruptive applicants.

Jeff Golding is in charge of the OPBA’s Facebook page.  He told the group that the page is not getting as many hits as wanted – that people are not sharing their experiences as expected.  He also addressed the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) interest in Cape Hatteras’ access problems and their pledge to help us.  According to BRC executive director, Greg Mumm, if Hatteras falls, so do the rest.  Mumm visited Cape Hatteras in 2012.

 John Couch closed out the meeting by extending special thanks to our membership, to Jim Keene of the NCBBA who is very involved with the OBPA, to the Angler’s Club for their support and use of their resources, to the Island Free Press for its fair and straight forward reporting on access issues, to the Dare County Government, the ASA and to our legal team at Van Ness Feldman.  The fight for beach access is a group effort and that the OBPA is not alone in this battle.

 The annual meeting adjourned around 7:46 p.m. and the floor was opened to a question and answer session from the guests which lasted for 54 minutes.



2012 OBPA Annual Members Meeting
7:00 p.m. Friday, October 12, 2012
Cape Hatteras Anglers Club
47231 Light Plant Road
Buxton, NC 27920

Dear OBPA Members;

The Outer Banks Preservation Association will hold its annual members meeting on Friday October 12, 2012 at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, 47231 Light Plant Road Buxton N.C. 27920 at 7:00 pm. The annual meeting will consist of a report from the president for the prior year  and up-to-date informational reports to the membership by the Officers and committees. No business will be conducted at this meeting. Minutes of the meeting will be posted at After the meeting, the Board of Directors will answer any questions members might have. Hope to see you there.


 John Couch
 President OBPA

Quick 2012 Highlights:

Legislative Action:

 House of Representatives:

  • House Bill H.R. 4094, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act, was introduced by Congressman Walter B. Jones on February 28, 2012.
  • The House Subcommittee on National Park, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R. 4094 on April 27, 2012.  OBPA President John Couch and Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge were invited witnesses who provided testimony at this hearing in Washington, D.C.
  • H.R. 4094 was combined with thirteen other bills into a package as H.R. 2578 - The Conservation and Economic Growth Act". 
  • Bill H.R. 2578 was passed by the full House of Representatives on June 19th, 2012 and forwarded to the Senate. 


  • Senate Bill S.2372, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, was introduced by Senators' Hagan and Burr on April 26, 2012.
  • The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S.2372 on June 27, 2012.  Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge was an invited witness who provided testimony at the hearing in Washington, D.C.
  • S.2372 remains in committee as of the start of the fall recess.
  • H.R. 2578, which was sent to the Senate after House passage, was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources where it remains as of the start of the fall recess.

What can you Do?

  • Contact your Senators and urge them to engage with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to move this bill out of committee to the floor for full vote and passage during the legislative session that will occur immediately after the November election.

 Legal Action:

 CHAPA vs Salazar(DOI), Jarvis(NPS), Murray(CAHA) case 1:12-cd-00219 was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 9, 2012.

  • The defendants delivered the Administrative Record to the court and plaintiffs on September 7, 2012 as instructed by the court.
  • The attorneys for CHAPA are conducting a thorough review of the Administrative Record in preparation for the next phase of the case.

 Educational Efforts:

The OBPA has attempted to keep its membership and the public informed on the continuing events related to the above two actions as well as other matters relevant to access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore through the following venues:

    • Website: 
    • Emails: via Constant Contact, permission-based, announcements and informational updates to members
    • Mailings: February 21, 2012 CHAPA newsletter covering the implementation of the Final ORV rule.

Visit for the most current information on Free and Open Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area