National Park Service (NPS)

Ocracoke beach is open during the federal government shut down; other services affected

A whole whelk in the surf on the Ocracoke beach. Photo: C. Leinbach

With both sides regarding funding of the border wall dug in, the partial federal government shut down that began last Saturday will continue and it’s anyone’s guess as to when it will reopen.

The shutdown has had a mixed impact on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The good news is the beaches including on Ocracoke beach are open. There are no visitor services which include  the visitor center, restrooms and ORV permit purchases.

The Island Free Press provided an update of the current status.

All rules and regulations apply for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore during the shutdown, and a list of what is operational during this time is below.

What’s open and/or available

  • All oceanside and soundside parking areas in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) are open and accessible.
  • All ORV ramps in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are open and accessible.
  • The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is open.
  • Printable permits for Beach Fires were available on the CHNS website as of Monday morning.
  • A small number of staff – law enforcement personnel – have NOT been furloughed during the shutdown and are patrolling the beaches and other park service sites.

What’s not open and/or available 

  • New ORV permit purchases are not available at this time, either in-person or online, as the recreation.gov website has been temporarily disabled.
  • Reservations for National Park Service campgrounds, (including Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet), are not available at this time.
  • All visitors’ centers have been closed, which generally includes accompanying visitors’ amenities such as restrooms.
  • The Wright Brothers National Memorial is closed.
  • The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is closed.
  • Social media accounts and websites for the National Park Service will not be updated.