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Hatteras Seashore Sees Increase in Visitors

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Photo: National Park Service

Cape Hatteras National Seashore this June saw the second-highest number of visitors since the establishment of the seashore in 1953.

Last month’s total visitation reached 399,364, an increase of almost 4% over last June, park officials announced Wednesday.

“The ease at which it is possible to remain socially distanced on area beaches may have helped contribute to the increased visitation last month,” National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac said. “The Seashore offers 70 miles of undeveloped beaches for visitors to enjoy.”

Visitation estimates are collected by counting southbound vehicles just north of the Marc Basnight Bridge and using a multiplier to estimate the total number of passengers heading south. The estimates are added to the number of passengers going to Ocracoke Island from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter.

The top five highest June recreational visits, including June 2020, include 2002 at 410,366 visits, 1999 at 393,401, 2018 at 389,722 and 1998 at 388,012.

Officials recommend the following ways visitors can stay safe while visiting the national park:

  • Check the rip current forecast before heading to the beach at www.weather.gov/beach/mhx. Visitors can also sign up for ocean safety text messages by texting ‘Join OBXBeachConditions’ to 30890.
  • Practice the Three W’s – Wear a cloth face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained, wait 6 feet apart in line and wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Dogs off leash is a growing problem on seashore beaches. The seashore asks visitors to keep dogs on a minimum 6-foot leash.
  • Before driving on designated off-road vehicle, or ORV, routes in your permitted vehicle, it is strongly recommended that tire pressure be lowered to at least 20 psi.
  • Beach equipment must not be left on beaches overnight. Items left overnight on the beach are considered abandoned and are subject to removal.
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Staff Report

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