Government Closed; Beaches Open

Sundae Horn
Ramp 72 on the morning of Saturday, December 22
Ramp 72 on the morning of Saturday, December 22

Unlike other shutdowns, this one leaves the ORV ramps open.

The Federal government entered partial shutdown mode at 12:00am today. The National Park Service Visitor Center on Ocracoke is closed, including the ORV permit office, until Congress and POTUS reach a budget agreement. 

During previous shutdowns, the Park Service has chained off the ORV ramps, effectively closing the beaches to ORV traffic. This time, the ramps remain open. 

Ocracoke's head law enforcement ranger Ed Fuller told me "that was the guidance we received." 

Another difference in this shutdown is that the Seashore didn't send out a press release (I got one from Cape Lookout, though.) I had to look to social media for the information just like everybody else. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore's Facebook page posted this at about 8am: "During the federal government shutdown, we will not monitor or update social media. Some Cape Hatteras NS areas are accessible; however, access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services. For more information, see

My inquiries to Cape Hatteras National Seashore higher-ups have gone unanswered, but it is Saturday, and almost Christmas. Perhaps I will reach someone on Monday.

Meanwhile it was a sunny, bright, chilly first day of winter on Ocracoke. I hope you found some time to go to the beach. 


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