Environmental issues may arise over Bonner Bridge impact on Pea Island

Oregon Inlet's Bonner Bridge

Don't Pea on the Parade

After far too many years of what most will deem political grand standing, the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet in the Outer Banks has been approved for replacement. The impressive span connects Hatteras Island and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and serves as the primary gateway to the heart of the barrier island chain that outlines North Carolina.

Environmental groups have started to speak up in opposition to the proposed replacement plan because of its potential impact to the refuge during construction, which calls for a parallel bridge to be built while the original remains in use. The second bridge would best serve the region as a bypass around the refuge, opponents say. Well, sure. It just costs $1 billion instead of $300 million. So there’s that.

I can understand the doubt some groups have that the mirroring bridge will remain within the current right of way but Pea Island already benefits from very little tourist visitation outside those cruising by on Highway 12, as it’s access points are already naturally limited. Most tourists blow right by the sign in a beeline for their rental home down 12 into Rodanthe. Same with the surfers. In other words, it’s not like the new bridge is going to turn Pea Island into Disney Land. Additionally, to what extent would the alternative solution allow access to Pea Island for those who do choose to visit it?

I remain mixed on that portion of the debate. I think more needs to come to light before any real stand can be taken. Let’s get some plans in the books first.

Slater, ten titles in pictures

Kelly Slater in Huntington Beach, CA

Dude, your hair

ESPN (yes, ESPN) has a pretty slick celebration in photography of Kelly Slater’s career, even going back to the 80s in Huntington with his older brother Sean, both sporting an outstanding representation of the “in” haircut and of course, board style.

It’s been said that Pele was better at soccer than Jordan was at basketball or Jim Brown was at football. So where in the hierarchy of sports does that leave the winner of ten ASP world titles?

More on the influence of tech and digital entertainment on the outdoors

Not long after I published this post did I pick up the latest National Geographic Traveler to find an editorial by Christopher Elliot entitled “Savor the Trip, Don’t Tweet It.” It’s about, well, just what the title says. It does go a little deeper to explain how the rise of video documentation and digital recording tech of all kinds alters our true impression of the outdoors and travel in general. It’s a solid counter-argument to the concept of real-time adventure sharing propagated by today’s increasingly influential digital movement.

Then, OutdoorEd.com sends me the video posted above, which offers us Ms. Patty Zaradic’s academic study of the reasons behind a decline in not only national park visits but outdoor experiences all together. Her thesis makes an empirical case for the rise of consumer video and gaming technologies contributing directly to our nation’s collective indifference toward outdoor pursuits.