PWC ban lifted at Cape Lookout

CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. — A ban on personal watercraft that had been in place for the last four years at Cape Lookout National Seashore was lifted last week, the New Bern Sun Journal reported in a story today.

A final rule on personal watercraft at Cape Lookout, which allows visitors operating PWC to access the seashore at 10 designated locations, took effect last Friday, according to the story.

The limited access marks the return of personal watercraft to the seashore for the first time in four years. A ban on PWC had been in effect since April 2002, as the National Park Service underwent a lengthy review of the impacts of PWC at the seashore.

“The Environmental Assessment and the proposed rule required many public involvement steps, and we encountered several delays, but we are glad that the process is finally complete,” Bob Vogel, Cape Lookout superintendent told the newspaper. “In the end, we have actively engaged the public in developing a good plan that allows PWC access to the seashore while assuring the park’s resources are protected.”

The intent of the rule is to provide access to the park rather than recreation. Visitors who want to use their PWC to get to the seashore, which is only accessible by water, can launch and land their PWC at the designated areas, the Journal reported.

The PWC access locations allowed by the rule provide access to about 50 percent, or about five of the 10 miles, of sound-side beach most frequented by park visitors with boats.

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