Cape Point closes to ORVs, pedestrian corridor now open after shorebird nest hatches

A photo taken Aug. 7, 2020 shows a spit forming in the hook at Cape Point. [Photo courtesy National Park Service.]

Access to one of the most popular surf fishing spots in the world is now limited to just foot traffic, following the hatching of a shorebird nest nearby.

Off-road vehicles can no longer drive to Cape Point. Instead they have to stop just 0.2 miles south of ramp 44, which leaves a roughly one-quarter mile walk using the Bypass Road to reach the very tip of Cape Hatteras.

According to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach access webpage, a protection buffer that was installed in April to protect three American oystercatcher eggs was expanded on Saturday to protect an American oystercatcher chick. Other eggs haven’t hatched yet.

The National Park Service said staff will continue to monitor the movement of the chick and make adjustments to the protection buffer accordingly.

This is normally the time of year when buffers have to be expanded as shorebird nests begin hatching, as required by the Seashore’s management plan, and both ORV and pedestrian closures of some stretches of beach can last into the summer.

Cape Point is one of the best spots to catch red drum and other surf fish, especially in the spring and fall. It is also where Shelly Island formed, a sandbar that became a worldwide sensation in 2017.

A National Park Service permit, available at Recreation.gov, is required to drive along the ocean and sound side beaches that are open to ORVs between Coquina Beach and Ocracoke Inlet.