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Outer Banks Forever Year Two Update

man watching two people launch kayaks into water

Oregon Inlet Kayak Launch. Photo: Cody Hammer/REAL Watersports

Outer Banks Forever Year Two Update

It is hard to believe that two years have passed since Eastern National launched Outer Banks Forever in April 2019. From the beginning, our vision has been to build a strong foundation of support for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial, three amazing national parks that not only preserve local Outer Banks history, but also world history.

In 2020, we announced and raised funds for our first round of projects to protect and enhance our parks. With the success of our fundraising efforts, we are now implementing three new projects this year:

Views from Your Parks Webcam Project

We premiered the first of three Outer Banks national park webcams at Cape Hatteras National Seashore during National Park Week in April. Through a partnership with The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and Surfline, we installed a live-feed webcam on the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which offers locals and visitors a glimpse of the incredible view from the top while the Lighthouse is closed to climbing as it undergoes extensive renovations. When the Lighthouse reopens to the public, this webcam will continue to allow those who may not be able to physically climb the Lighthouse a real-time way to stay connected to their park. In the coming months, webcams will also be installed at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and at Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Oregon Inlet Kayak Launch

This month we helped the park unveil the first designated kayak launch at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The new mobility-friendly kayak launch at the popular Oregon Inlet Fishing Center will encourage locals and visitors to explore the coastal environment and provide a safe way for non-motorized water sport enthusiasts to experience the beautiful Pamlico Sound. We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors Bass Pro Shops, Ocean Atlantic Rentals, and TowneBank to make this project a reality.

Artist In Community

We are working closely with Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Dare County Arts Council to develop the first Artist in Community residency program in the Outer Banks. Local artists and artists from across the nation will be able to apply for two four-week artistic residencies each year where they will create art inspired by the park. Artists will also put on public programs to engage park visitors through their chosen medium. When our Artist in Community program launches this fall, the Outer Banks Group of national parks will join more than 50 national parks around the country that offer this unique engagement opportunity.

In addition to funding and implementing these projects, we have established exciting new partnerships with other organizations who align with our mission to protect and enhance our parks. Recently these new partnerships have helped us expand our parks reach through initiatives like:

Virtual Sea Turtle Nest Excavations

In partnership with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and park staff at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, we are expanding the reach of our virtual opportunities by hosting a virtual sea turtle nest excavation. This unique experience allows the public to see firsthand the conservation work our park undertakes each day to better understand and protect the wildlife that visit the Outer Banks.

Wright Route

Myths of an aviation rivalry between Ohio — the “Birthplace of Aviation” — and North Carolina — “First in Flight” — have circulated for years. To put that rivalry to rest, we have partnered with National Aviation Heritage Area in Dayton, Ohio, First Flight Society in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and the National Park Service at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and Wright Brothers National Memorial to develop the “Wright Route,” a virtual and in-person learning experience that provides the public with a fuller picture of the Wright brothers’ lives and work. The partnership also promotes collaboration between the two national parks and encourages tourism in Ohio and North Carolina. Our new website, www.WrightRoute.org, is currently under construction and will launch in September.

Your continued support is what makes our work possible, and we look forward to seeing the results of these projects and partnerships in the years to come. Thank you for your commitment to protecting and enhancing your Outer Banks national parks, now and forever.