12.12.14

Burr Applauds Senate Passage of Beach Access Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) applauds the Senate passage of H.R. 3979, a bill that includes legislation he authored known as the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act (S. 486). After successful bipartisan negotiations last year, an amended version of Senator Burr’s bill was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  With Senator Burr’s urging, the amended version of S. 486 was included as part of larger legislation that the House of Representatives passed last week.  The Hatteras legislation will help tourists and sportsmen gain access to North Carolina’s renowned Outer Banks beaches.  The legislation will set rules and parameters for the National Park Service (NPS) to abide by when they consider limiting citizen access to beaches, including off-road vehicle (ORV) access.

Senator Burr has long been an advocate of opening up North Carolina’s beaches to the public, while maintaining the wildlife and scenic beauty and began work on this legislation in 2008.  Senator Burr’s hard work has led to the ORV access legislation finally being sent to the President’s desk.

“Tonight’s Senate vote is a triumph for the Outer Banks region,” Senator Burr said.  “The constraining regulations outside interest groups and the Federal government have imposed are finally being lifted.  This is a win for North Carolinians and tourists from around the country who wish to visit North Carolina’s scenic treasures.  I trust that the Park Service will use these new guidelines responsibility and I look forward to working with them to ensure that we are protecting beaches while also enjoying them.”

New parameters would direct the NPS to minimize buffers on protected areas and keep them in place for the shortest possible duration necessary, designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas that are closed, coordinate with the State of North Carolina when establishing certain buffers, and allow for a public process when considering limiting access in special situations.  The agreement also directs the NPS to construct vehicle access points and roads as expeditiously as possible and report its progress to Congress within one year of the act becoming law.

Groups including the American Sportfishing Association and Congressional Sportsmen Foundation are supporters.