Law & Order

U.S. Congress Considers Reopening Portions of Cape Hatteras National Seashore to Off-Highway Vehicles

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff 

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have introduced SEMA-supported legislation to reopen Cape Hatteras National Seashore to off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. Spearheaded by North Carolina lawmakers, the legislation would reverse a 2012 management plan issued by the National Park Service that banned OHV access to large portions of the seashore with a goal of protecting nesting sea turtles and birds. Under that plan, about 39% of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is off-limits to OHV recreation, 40% is open year-round and 19% is open at different times during the year. 

The legislation would reinstate a management strategy that better balances wildlife protections with responsible OHV access. The 2012 decision has had a negative impact on local retail businesses, hotels, restaurants and campgrounds with reduced visits by OHV enthusiasts. A House Natural Resources Subcommittee held a hearing on the House bill (HR 819). No action has yet taken place on the Senate bill (S. 486). 

For more information, please contact Dan Sadowski at