Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Park Planning

The National Park Service prepares a variety of planning and environmental documents to help guide it in managing park resources. These documents can range from site-specific impact analyses on facility locations to broader park-wide plans for future use and management of a park.

For information on the park's current planning efforts, check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore project page on the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website.

Wildlife Habitat

Over 360 documented bird species enjoy the Seashore’s habitats, be it for nesting, resting, or feeding. The Seashore is located on a major avian migratory route known as the Atlantic Flyway, and in 1999 the American Bird Conservatory designated it a Globally Important Bird Area in recognition of the value the seashore provides to bird migration, breeding, and wintering.

Beach-nesting birds are protected by state and federal laws. Beach closures are periodically established to provide undisturbed habitat needed by breeding birds to successfully nest and raise their young.

Riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs) is a popular activity at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but over the years, unregulated riding has threatened the populations of piping plover, seabeach amaranth, and some species of sea turtles. In response to declining species populations and pressure from environmental groups, the NPS implemented new rules governing the use of OHVs on Seashore lands and a OHV management plan.

Now there are designated OHV routes and a regulation that requires visitors to obtain a special day-use permit to operate OHVs. The regulations went into effect on February 15, 2012. ORV permits can be obtained 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.

Updates to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan can be found at the NPS website.