July 17, 2013
I am J.S. Fletcher II, seventy-five years of age.
When first on the Outer Banks, I remember black or dark green shades that were pulled down at dark before the curtains were drawn. At all steps entering the cottage were bottles of kerosene and rags. Rages were used to scrub the oil and tar from your feet. Believe it or not, the environment survived all the oil and tar without a massive clean up. We were fighting a war.
When the National Seashore came it was funded to a great extent by grants from the Paul Mellon Foundation. As “a park for the people” it was not a nature preserve. Wildlife should be considered, but people should come first in this area. There are wildlife preserves.
Now we are paying a fee to take a vehicle on the beach. Next we will pay to park and to walk on the beach. The money raised, I understand, is to be used to improve ramps, build walks to the shore, and increase parking. If you could drive on the beach, more parking may not be needed. Hard improvements on the beach are just something else for storms to destroy. In driving 59 years on the banks, the only place I have had trouble parking is on Hwy 12 between the Wahab Cottage and the bank. We drove on the beach before there were any ramps. The Park Service does not need more to look after. It cannot keep up with what it has. The firebreak at the northeast end of Ocracoke Village has been grown over 3 or more years. If the village were to burn as it may from a fire started on the Plains, the county of Hyde would lose 60% of its income not to mention the loss of lives. Does the park service have the time and money to send employees driving up and down the beach while the safety of the people on Ocracoke is at risk of fire? Yes!
When the park service came to Ocracoke, I have been told by many older residents who appeared to be of sound mind, that the citizens were promised before they sold their land that they could use the beach as accustomed including the removal of sand from the beach. Who forgot?
The closing of the beach at night and early mornings has caused surf fishermen to abandon Ocracoke in favor of places where there are private beaches that are open 24 hours a day. Hyde County is the only county in the nation, that I know of, where 100% of the county’s oceanfront is owned by the Federal Government. Are we blessed? Should not Hyde County have some beach open 24 hours?
Thank you for your time,
J.S. Fletcher, II
County Commissioner for Ocracoke Township
(I do not speak for the Board of Commissioners)
PO Box 1479
Ocracoke NC 27960
CC: Copies various Federal
and State Officials and