Beach driving is sharply restricted this year at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (see 7/15/12 story with reader comments), and park rangers continue to count the apparent benefits for sea turtles that build their nests in the Outer Banks sand.
Loggerheads, a few greens and a Kemp's ridley have buried their eggs in 186 nests so far this year along the 65-mile shoreline, according to this running count at seaturtle.org. That's 32 more than the National Park Service reported on July 11, when they broke their record of 153 sea turtle nests in a single year. (Records go back to 1970, when the annual counts began.)
Beach drivers have a nightly curfew of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the beaches where they are still allowed -- instead of the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. limit that was in place before this year. That means two more hours each night without engine noise and headlights to distract female turtles that drag themselves out of the surf in the dark. ... [MORE]