Unattended beach equipment and holes dug in the sand impact the Outer Banks population of sea turtles, which are nesting this time of year.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers some suggestions for how you can help:
- During sea turtle nesting season (May-October), items left on the beach can cause disturbance that may deter a nesting female from laying her eggs or may cause entanglement which compromises the health of the turtle.
- Specific items of concern include chairs (any), canopies, volleyball nets, and fishing equipment.
- Any obstacles that sea turtles face on the beach have the potential to alter their perception of the nesting habitat and they may decide to nest elsewhere or the nest may be laid too close to the water’s edge.
- Be sure to put-out any beach fires with sufficient water; fires left burning and unattended may cause harm to the nesting females.
- Items left overnight on the beach are considered abandoned and are subject to removal if determined to directly alter the behavior of wildlife (i.e. sea turtles) and/or the safety of visitors.
In addition to the impacts listed above, large holes left in the beach pose a danger to nesting sea turtles and humans walking on the beach at night.
Be considerate of other visitors and respect wildlife are part of the seven principles of the Leave No Trace program. The principles provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts.