Coastal Management Strategies II: Seashores and Parks
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Coastal Management Strategies II: Seashores and Parks. Ethan Estey and Brannon Quel. The National Parks Service was formed in 1916 to manage and regulate federal parks, monuments, and reserves previously managed by the Department of the Interior.

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Coastal Management Strategies II: Seashores and Parks

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Coastal Management Strategies II: Seashores and Parks

Ethan Estey and Brannon Quel

The National Parks Service was formed in 1916 to manage and regulate federal parks, monuments, and reserves previously managed by the Department of the Interior

NPS Mission: " promote and regulate the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

There are several different categories of parks managed by the NPS:

  • National Park

  • National Monument

  • National Preserve

  • National Recreational Area

  • National Historic Site

  • National Memorial

  • National Battlefield

  • National Cemetery

  • National Seashore

  • National Lakeshore

  • National River

  • National Parkway

  • National Trail

General Management Policies for the NPS

  • Endangered Species

  • Wetland Management

  • Exotic Species

  • Pest Management

  • Fisheries Management

Specific National Seashore Examples

  • Cape Cod National Seashore

  • Assateague Island National Seashore

  • Cape Hattaras National Seashore

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore

  • Cape Canaveral National Seashore

Endangered Species

  • The National Parks Service is required to follow the guidelines of the Endangered Species Act.

  • National Parks are an ideal setting for the recovery of threatened and endangered plants and animals.

  • 130 of 967 endangered plants and animals are found in the boundaries of national parks.

  • Conserve endangered and threatened plant and animal species and protect the habitat in which they live.

Wetland Management

  • The NPS entered a 50:50 cost share operation with the U.S. Fish and Wild Service to conduct wetland inventories for all the national parks.

  • Many wetlands in the parks has been afflicted with drainage, pollution, diking, filling, and related activities, while other wetlands have remained in perfect condition

  • The parks have been mandated to protect wetlands and restore areas that have been depredated by human impacts

Exotic Species

  • The NPS defines exotic species as “those occurring outside their native ranges in a given place as a result of actions by humans”

  • Parks must be maintained as naturally as possible. Their definition of exotic species allows them to take action and have them removed from the park so it can be restored to its natural state.

  • Exotic species can negatively effect the native landscape, interfere with the natural food web, and hybridize with native species.

  • There are presently 535 projects to eradicate exotic species.

Pest Management

  • Pest management includes all exotic species plus any native species that jeopardizes the safety and health national parks and the public (ie mice that carry disease)

  • The NPS formed Integrated Pest Management to deal with pests at a park-by-park basis.

  • Pest populations are monitored and no actions are taken until the population goes above the recommended threshold limit.

Fisheries Management

  • The National Park Service has recognized that fishing is part of the history and heritage of the park system.

  • Recreational and commercial fishing is allowed designated areas of the park.

  • Areas may be closed to protect spawning and nursery area.

  • Fisheries restoration of depleted stocks and endangered and threatened species is a high priority in national parks.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Annual Budget: $2,958,000.00 Annual Visitation: 1,895,592 Park Covers 39,730 Acres

Assateague Island National Seashore

  • Assateague Island National Seashore is a barrier island which is located in both Maryland and Virginia.

  • Management of the seashore is divided between three agencies.

  • The Assateague Island National Seashore is managed by the National Parks Service

  • Assateague State Park is managed by Maryland’s State Park Service

  • Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge is monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maryland District

Assateague State Park (Maryland)

Assateague State Park (Maryland)

The primary mission of Assateague State Park is to provide recreational use of its resources

Swimming, hiking, rollarblading, pets, and driving on the beach (by permit only) are allowed in the Maryland District of the Park

There are several campsites at Assateague that are open year-round.

Pony Management

The Assateague herd of ponies are managed by the National Parks Service.

The ponies are penned in a confined area and sterilization is used to maintain the herd

Virginia District

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

  • Established in 1944 as a refuge for migratory birds

  • Is not named Assateague National Wildlife Refuge since all refuges are named after a town, person, or wildlife species.

  • This refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and recreation is not its primary mission.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Groundwater Management for Migratory Birds

  • Maintains groundwater levels for 2600 acres of refuge with 14 moist soil management units

  • Can lower level of water in the spring to create a mudflat habitat for shorebirds.

  • Lower groundwater to concentrate fish is pools for water birds.

  • During the fall the soil management units are closed to trap water for migratory birds.

Sika Elk (Cervus nippon)

  • Hunting is allowed on the island during posted seasons.

  • Sika Elk are considered an exotic species and have no natural predators on the island.

  • Camping is not allowed at any part of the Refuge.

  • In-line skating and skate boarding are not allowed in the refuge.

  • Pets are not allowed inside the refuge (even if they are in a car)

Pony Management

The Ponies on Chincoteague are allowed to roam free and graze

The heard is maintained annually by the Chincoteague fire department.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Annual Budget is $5,762,000.00

Annual Visitation is 2,772,420

Park Covers 30,321 Acres

  • The Cape Hatteras National Seashore covers 70 miles of shoreline over three barrier islands: Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke.

  • The Seashore contains several state parks and the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge.

  • Prior to the addition of Highway 12, the Seashore attracted approximately 200,000 people a year. Now it attracts close to 3 million.

  • This increase in visitation has made it difficult to manage the natural resources and accommodate recreation.

Land Use and Nesting Shorebirds

During the late spring and early summer colonial shorebirds (birds that nest in colonies such as terns, skimmers, and oyster catchers) and solitary shorebirds (piping plovers) will mate and construct nests on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

  • The nests are simple depressions in the open sand.

  • The nests typically contain 3-4 eggs that are small and easily camouflaged.

  • Park Rangers will monitor the bird population during the summer.

  • If disturbed, many birds will “dive-bomb” intruders, leaving the nest vulnerable to predators and solar radiation.

  • The park will close entire sections of the beach to pedestrians, pets, and vehicles.

  • Due to the bird managment plans, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has been designated a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Annual Budget: $1,282,000.00

Annual Visitation: 558,043

Park Covers 28,243 Acres

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore is 56 miles long and is composed of South Core Banks, North Core Banks, and Shackleford Banks.

  • The Seashore is only accessible by private boat or public passenger ferry.

  • Even though there are no roads to Cape Lookout, some ferries can transport ORVs to the island.

Sea Beach Amaranth

  • Federally protected plant species that grows at Cape Lookout.

  • Considered a pioneer species since it grows on overwash fans, new dune, and other open sandy areas

  • Amaranth is managed at Cape Lookout by closing off sections of beach that it is present and allowing sand to move naturally.

Sea Turtles

  • Loggerheads nest at Cape Lookout during the summer and Park Rangers and Volunteers will mark nests as they occur.

  • Once the eggs get close to hatching, all vehicular traffic will be directed behind the nests to allow the hatchlings a smooth runway to the sea.

Wild Horses

  • Shackelford Banks is home to over 100 wild horses.

  • The herd is left wild to roam and graze, but park service does manage the population

  • Periodically, horses will be rounded up off the island for adoption.

  • Contraceptive drugs are given to minimize the birth rate.

Cumberland Island

National Seashore

Park covers 36,415 acres

1999 attendance: 44,127

Annual budget: $1,376,000

Cumberland Island

Located off the coast of Georgia near the mouth of the St. Marys River

Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island stretching 17.5 miles long

Fees: Day use $4 carload Annual $20


No bathroom facilities

$2/day Backcountry (7 day max)

$4/day Sea Camp (7 day max)

Island Background

Human occupation began about 4,000 years ago

Shifted hands between Spanish, British, and Indians

1881 Carnegie family acquired 4,000 acres built numerous mansions

1972 National Park Service procured most of the land for National Seashore

Island Lighthouse

Lighthouse exists on north end of Cumberland Island

Built in 1838, deactivated in 1915

Lighthouse is now privately owned

No longer open to the public

Natural Aspect of Park

Large draw to the island is the beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife

Salt Marshes (16,850 acres marsh, mudflats)

Important to wildlife as

1. nursery to juvenile animals

2. supports large population of shellfish, plants, birds

Maritime Forest

Littered with huge oaks and Spanish moss

Here there is numerous wildlife such as white tailed deer, raccoons, and even armadillo (1974)

Dunes and beach

Eventually the forests give way to rolling dune

Sandpipers, osprey, loggerhead turtles

Cumberland Island Museum

Began in 1985 to preserve historical and biological aspects

Run by board of directors and funded through

private donations


gift shop

Has no exhibits or displays, visitors can look through specimens, historical materials, and maps

Cape Cod National Seashore

Park encompasses 43,604 acres

1999 attendance 4,944,963

Annual budget: $4,739,000

Cape Cod National Seashore

Found in Cape Cod Massachusetts

Two districts

North district located at Race Point, Provincetown

South District located at Marconi Station, South Wellfleet

Within park

over 40 miles of beaches

numerous kettle ponds

11 self guided nature trails

Major Attractions

Salt Pond visitors center

Built in 1965, Seashores main visitor facility

500,000 visitors annually

Has a variety of attractions:

shows movies on area every 1/2 hour

a number of trails (walking and bike)


museum shows natural history

Activities Continued


Can hunt on Seashore grounds for deer, upland game, and migratory waterfowl

To minimize conflicts of interest hunting is prohibited from March, 1 through August 31

All other state regulations apply


Variety of fresh and saltwater species

Salt pond closed for flounder

Activities Continued

Beaches largest attraction to seashore


There are six swimming beaches found along the Cape’s oceanside

All have shower and bathroom facilities

All offer beach access by boardwalk

All are lifeguarded from June 26-August 29


There is no camping permitted


Joshua A. Nickerson Conservation Program

National Seashore Management Division supported by fund

Group of scientists who monitor well being of Cape’s natural resources

Current Projects

protecting nesting habitat of piping plovers

restoration of salt marsh habitat in Herring Run river area

Conservation Fund Cont.

Makes grants available for scientists and students

designed to support research, social science, and conservation at National Seashore

Students and researchers write proposals to compete for small grants to support education and research

Programs Continued

Cape Cod Water Resources Management Program

Originated in 1981, updated in 1999

Prepared by Seashore staff and Univ. of Mass.

Goals include

1.provide information on park background and water resource management issues

2.clarify NPSP legislation mandates

3.Encourage communication between state, regional, and local authorities

Cape Canaveral National Seashore

Park covers: 57,662 acres

1999 attendance 846,512

Annual budget $2,024,000

Cape Canaveral

Park located in Florida and has two districts

North district is in Volusia County (near New Symrna)

Visitors Center is open daily

South district is in Brevard County (near Titusville

Closed to public during space shuttle operation

Canaveral National Seashore covers 57,000 acres

Has longest stretch of undeveloped beach in Florida, 24 miles

Park Information

Park hours Winter: 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Summer: 6:00 a.m-8:00 p.m.

Fees: There is a daily use fee

$5 per vehicle

$1 per walk in or bike

$28 annual pass

Beach Access

Beach access at both districts by boardwalks which cross dunes

Lifeguards on duty from Memorial day to Labor day from 10:00-5:45

There is no water available, no showers, and no public telephones

Beach Safety

Cape Canaveral offers safety advice due to numerous dangers

Rip Currents: swim across rip not directly against it

Lightning: Central Florida is the lightening capital of the world (get off the beach)

Portuguese Man of War: Contact park ranger if stun. Apply mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar

Camping and Trails

Camping is Available in North District only

Backcountry from Nov.1-Apr.30

Designated islands year round

No facilities for R.V. camping


Four walking trails and 1 canoe trail located in North District

Horseback riding is available in both districts


There are 1,045 plant species

Around 310 species of birds

Fourteen endangered species make their home in the Cape Canaveral National Seashore

Sea Turtle

West Indian Manatee

Southern Bald Eagle

Florida Scrub Jay

Various Rules and Regulations

No pets are allowed on beach or in buildings

must be kept on leash in all other areas in park

Metal detectors are prohibited

Fires allowed in contained grills only

No glass containers are allowed on the beach

Kennedy Space Center

Owns land managed by NPS and Merrit Island Naional Wildlife Refuge

Joint effort by the three to

1. Protect from development

2.preserve history, wildlife, and diverse habitat


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