The National Park Service Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, an icon of the Outer Banks and part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The National Park Service Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, an icon of the Outer Banks and part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The National Park Service must be doing something right on the Outer Banks. In spite of a government shut down last January and Hurricane named Dorian, visitation at the parks of the Outer Banks Group held steady and was actually slightly up.

The Outer Banks Group is Fort Raleigh Historic Site, the Wright Brothers Memorial and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The increases weren’t that much, but visitation at Cape Hatteras National Seashore topped 2.6 million. There haven’t been that may visitors at CHNS since 2003 when the Centennial of Flight brought so many people to the Outer Banks.

It is important to note that National Park visitation and the number of visitors coming to the Outer Banks are not the same. Getting a specific number of visitors is difficult to find.

However, for Dare County the Outer Banks Tourist Bureau is really good at getting the occupancy tax numbers posted. Visitation and tax collections do vary a bit, but the continuing upward trend that is occurring is certainly good news for the local economy.

What Dorian Did

Dorian did have a devastating effect, though.

The southern end of Hatteras Island has completely recovered, although there are still some issues with housing.

On Ocracoke Island, though, it’s a very different story.

Businesses are beginning to reopen, so a visit may be in store. Housing, or perhaps better said, the lack of undamaged homes, has somewhere around 40% of the population in need. Emergency trailers from FEMA are on the way, but by any standards 40% of a population forced from their homes is devastating.

Perhaps this will illustrate how widespread the damage is.

On the grounds of the Ocracoke Lighthouse the double keepers’ quarters has been considered a place of refuge during hurricanes for almost 125 years. Hurricane Dorian pushed water 4’ into the building and it may not be repairable.

According to the Outer Banks Voice, Superintendent for the Outer Banks Group, Dave Hallec told a group of reporters when discussing repairing the damage, “We’re going to have to make some decisions about what’s sustainable. This is a place that it’s going to be hard to access it in the future. The landscape around it is very close to sea level.”

There is so much to see and do on the Outer Banks. Plan your vacation with Brindley Beach Vacations to experience what life on a sandbar is really like.