Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National seashore - natalie locklear

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is constructed of several barrier islands of North Carolina and it’s the nations first national seashore. This area is popularly known  as the Outer Banks, and it has such an enriched history and karisma that many people call these islands their home whether they are from the area or not. These islands are constantly reforming and reshaping based on the natural processes of nature, making it a very unique place. Even though this seashore is located miles from the mainland, it has previously been home to Native Americans, farmers, enslaved people, Civil War battles, Blackbeard (pirates), U-boat attacks, and so much more. There are three historical lighthouses located in this park, and the one I am working with this summer is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse went through a historical move in 1999 due to the constant erosion of the island, and it now resides in its current location as a fully functioning lighthouse station. 

 

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore not only has a rich history, but it also has a rich diversity of plants and animals. The Diamond Shoal of Cape Hatteras has a unique water mix where the cold waters of the Labrador Sea collide with the warm water of the Gulf Stream, which results in a very diverse fish population around the islands. Many sea turtles and marine birds choose to lay their eggs on the barrier islands as well, which can be hundreds of nests, which is very important to support the marine environment. Every native plant that resides in the park is holding the island together to prevent further erosion, they are so important that they keep the area existing all together. Cape Hatteras is facing several difficult threats that could lead to severe destruction and possibly the sinking of the islands including storms, sea level rise, erosion of the shorelines, migration, and the closure of inlets. This summer I am excited to do my part of informing people about the importance of The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and what they can do to protect it so that it can be enjoyed for years to come! 

 

Below is a picture of me helping with the clean up of a recent house collapse at the park. The debris spread for miles across the seashore! This is an example of the dangers of erosion and the constant shifting of these barrier islands. The National Park Service did their part in protecting the people and wildlife by cleaning up the wreckage and I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a part of the preservation of our park!

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