By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee has approved a SEMA-supported bill (HR 819) to reopen Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina to off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. It has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee for further action. A similar bill (S. 486) is scheduled to be considered by the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June.
The bills would reverse a 2012 management plan issued by the National Park Service that banned OHV access to large portions of the seashore. Under current restrictions, about 39% of the seashore is closed to OHV recreation while 42% of the seashore is open year-round and 19% is open at different times during the year. The legislation would reinstate a previous management strategy that provides a better balance between wildlife protections and responsible OHV access. It also protects local retail businesses, hotels, restaurants and campgrounds that have seen a negative economic impact because of reduced visits by OHV enthusiasts.
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