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New Cape Hatteras National Seashore kayak launch officially opens

The first designated kayak launch site in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was officially open on the Monday morning high tide, August 23, 2021. The kayak, stand up paddle board and fishing wade out launch site is at the south end of the Oregon Inlet Marina.

The Oregon Inlet Kayak Launch is the first fully-completed Outer Banks Forever project. Outer Banks Forever, the official nonprofit partner of the three Outer Banks national parks, helped fund this first kayak launch site in the seashore.

The vision for the kayak launch came from seashore staff during the 2016 Centennial celebration of the National Park Service.

The improvements at the site are numerous. A dozen long parking spaces to accommodate trucks and trailers are marked and concrete stops in place. An area of pavement is marked for a loading zone. A concrete rubble pile is replaced with granite rock. Handicapped parking spots are marked. A picnic table is in place. A bright blue accessible ramp leads to water at high tide and inlet bottom at low tide. The seashore’s interpretive manager Scott Babinowich crafted an educational exhibit about Oregon Inlet and kayak safety. The grass is cut.

There is no trash can. “On purpose,” said Dave Hallac, superintendent of National Park of Eastern North Carolina. “Pack it in. Pack it out,” said Hallac repeating the park service’s mantra about trash.

The construction of the new kayak launch was made possible by the generous support of local sponsors TowneBank and Ocean Atlantic Rentals as well as a grant from Bass Pro Shops. Hallac also saluted individual donors. Outer Banks Forever raised $10,000 of the $17,000 required to install the launch site.

Also speaking during the morning ceremony were Trip Forman, president of Outer Banks Forever and co-founder of REAL Watersports, and Jessica Green, executive director of Outer Banks Forever.

National Park Service staffers working on the project include Lynne Edwards, Bodie Island District ranger; Kyle Hudick, Bodie Island District law enforcement ranger; Joe Willis, Bodie Island District maintenance supervisor; Andy Rogers, Bodie Island District maintenance worker; and multiple maintenance workers who took care of improving the look of the kayak launch and surrounding area.

After unveiling the interpretive sign and snipping the ribbon, Westley Sacks launched a paddleboard and Owen Sacks launched a kayak.

During the morning event, an angler simply walked down the newly installed access ramp and waded out with his pole and another angler launched a well-equipped kayak to enjoy the slick calm Oregon Inlet.

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