Cape Becomes Laboratory for Climate Study

A preserved building stands on Portsmouth Island, which might be at threat from sea-level rise. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

CARTERET COUNTY – Researchers from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, working with the National Park Service and other partners, are using the Cape Lookout National Seashore as the site for a study to determine how climate change might affect key cultural resources over time, and what can be done.

Cape Lookout is a particularly interesting choice for the study because many folks who live nearby have deep emotional and ancestral ties to the islands that make up the park. Lead investigator Erin Seekamp, an associate professor and tourism extension specialist in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at NCSU, says she and the others involved are quickly learning a lot.

Erin Seekamp

“Many of the people we’ve talked to so far have deep connections to the islands and the places and structures on them, and they care about them a lot,” Seekamp said. “Part of what we and the park service want to know is what they think climate change endangers the most. But we also want to know what structures they view as most important, and which ones they view as most important to protect, and how best to do that.”

The Cape Lookout National Seashore preserves a 56-mile-long section of the southern Outer Banks, running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. Three undeveloped barrier islands make up the seashore: North and South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks. It includes two historic villages on Core Banks, Shackleford’s wild horses and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which is one of the most iconic in the country.

Read more at Coastal Review