One of the things that draws people to Hatteras Island is its uniquely pristine beaches. Unlike neighboring beaches up and down the coastline, our seashore isn’t overloaded with giant billboard advertisements on benches, sailboats, and airplanes. Discarded waste isn’t flying out of overly filled trashcans on populated boardwalks and there isn’t a grid of umbrellas every 8 feet because there are nearly 70 miles of beautiful beachfront for you to spread out and find a space all your own.
What we have discovered, pandemic or not, is that while this type of vacation destination is certainly a want, it is also a need. There is a need for escape, healing, quiet and wellness. During the pandemic, as folks are discovering new ways to travel, Hatteras Island has seen a whole new group of folks fall in love with its charm. Whether you have been coming here for 30/+ years or this is your first time, we need your help to keep our beaches clean. In honor of Earth Day coming up this month, we thought we would share a few ways you can do your part in preserving Hatteras Island for generations to come.
HOW TO HELP PRESERVE HATTERAS ISLAND
Reducing waste is one of the main things each of us can do to help our planet as a whole. It ends up in our landfills and, you guessed it, our oceans and beaches. Food waste is a biggie, and when you’re on vacation, it’s likely the last thing on your mind. That’s why we have a couple of things you can do prior to arrival and upon your departure. One thing you can do while planning out your stay is planning out your meals, and with that, creating a grocery list. Less wasted food also means less wasted money. Bonus! Before heading out be sure to drop-off any of your unused non-perishable items to any of our three office locations as a donation to the Hatteras Island Food Pantry. Not only will it not go to waste, but it will help someone in need.
Reusable Grocery Bags:
Three words: Reusable grocery bags. Many of us already utilize reusable grocery bags when we’re home, but don’t think about it when we are on vacation. The thing is, most people on Hatteras Island are on vacation and since you’re buying everything from condiments to meats, folks often need several bags. That being said, the large quantity of both paper and plastic bags aren’t getting reused like they might at home in the event you forgot your cloth bags when on a grocery run. Not only are your reusable bags good for your trip to the grocery store, but they can also be used as beach bags!
Even though curbside recycling is no longer available due to hurricanes and overseas politics, we do still have a recycling center in Buxton where you can easily drop-off your recyclables. Our beaches thank you!
Pack In, Pack Out:
The Outer Banks Preservation Association and the National Park Service have partnered in a pack it in, pack it out program. What does this mean? Just like with camping, all beachgoers are responsible for taking everything off of the beach that they took on the beach every day. That includes everything from beach equipment to trash to cigarette butts. Unlike in other areas, you aren’t allowed to leave your beach equipment over night to claim your space for the following day. Psst! That includes behind the dunes as well!
See It, Snag It:
If you’re walking about and happen to see a stray piece of trash like a water bottle or an old can, snag it and trash it (or recycle it if the situation allows), especially if you’re on the beach and already have a designated trash bag. While it may seem like picking up one piece of trash may not do a whole lot, it will make an impact if we all do the same.
In the vacation rental industry, we see a little bit of everything. We have chalked it up to a little term that we refer to as “vacation brain”. No judgement, we’ve all been there! But tell your vacation brain to take a hike when it comes to energy conservation. Turn off lights when you leave a room, turn the TV off when you leave for the day, maybe don’t blast the AC and open the windows...
Excuse me, what? Yup, it's a thing. Light pollution is essentially any artificial light in the night environment. What every person who has ever watched over a turtle nest wants to ask you is to please, please turn off your ocean-facing exterior lights at night when they aren’t in use or you are sleeping. The artificial lighting reduces the nesting success of sea turtles, so while that may seem silly, it’s actually a big deal for our little friends in the sea.