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Cape Lookout Invites Visitors to Explore

Cape Lookout at night. Photo: Crystal Coast Stargazers Club

HARKERS ISLAND — Visitors to Cape Lookout National Seashore this summer is offering programs that include seeing the lighthouse at night or learning about the wild horses that call the seashore home.

Evening programs at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse will kick off June 21 and continue June 22 and June 23. Bring a flashlight and experience South Core Banks and the lighthouse as the lightkeepers did, in the dark of night. Hear their stories and watch the sunset at the national seashore.

“This is a great opportunity to witness your favorite beach under the calm of the starry sky,” said Superintendent Jeff West in a statement.

Reservations are required for the Evening at the Cape programs, which can be made at  www.recreation.gov. Each of the three tour nights will be able to accommodate a maximum of 40 total participants. This program will also be offered the nights of July 19-21, Aug. 16-18, Sept. 14-15 and Oct. 19-20. Visit the website to learn when tickets for the different dates will be on sale.

The cost of the program is $28, including the ferry fee, and is non-refundable, weather dependent. The Evening at the Cape program begins on Harkers Island promptly at 7:15 p.m. under the ferry dock canopy. Arrive early to check in with the ranger. All participants will travel together on a single ferry that departs shortly after the program begins. The ferry will return to Harkers Island around 10 p.m.

Children joining the climb must be at least 44 inches tall and able to climb the steps on their own. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by someone 16 or older. Appropriate footwear is required.

Wildlife Resources Ranger Sue Stuska leads a Horse Sense and Survival tour. Photo: NPS

Horse Sense and Survival tours with Wildlife Resources Ranger Sue Stuska will begin for the summer June 23, leaving from the Beaufort Visitor Information Center at 8:15 a.m. and will return at noon. Stuska will share information about the relationships, behavior and survival of the wild horses. Participants will also learn how to determine an appropriate position and distance for watching that doesn’t affect the horses’ natural behavior.

“This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to see and learn about the wild horses,” said West. “The Shackleford horses are a unique aspect of what makes Cape Lookout National Seashore a special place.”

Participants will ride the ferry from Beaufort and walk a moderate-level trek off the beaten path to find horses and settle down to watch them.

Bring water, lunch and snacks, bug repellent, sunscreen, sun hat, binoculars and camera with a telephoto lens in a daypack or shoulder bag. Trips are offered from the Harkers Island Visitor Center, which will likely include slogging through ankle-deep mud and deeper saltwater.

Space on the tours is limited and reservations are required. The program is free and the ferry is $17 for adults & $10 for ages 11 and under.

Additional Horse Sense and Survival Tours:

  • July 21, departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8 a.m. Returns by 12:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 22, departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8 a.m. Returns by 12:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 22, departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8 a.m. Returns by 12:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 6, departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 9 a.m. Returns by 1 p.m.
  • Nov. 17, departing Beaufort Information Center for the west end of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8:45 a.m. Returns by 1 p.m.

For reservations and to ask individual questions, call the park at 252-728-2250, ext. 0.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.