Urban planners creating storm recovery plan for
North Carolinaís Cape Lookout National Seashore


Texas A&M researchers are taking a natural and cultural resource-focused approach in the development of a storm recovery plan for the Cape Lookout National Seashore, a 56-mile system of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina.

The plan, created by Eric Bardenhagen, an urban and regional sciences doctoral student, and George Rogers, professor of urban planning, will provide short-, medium- and long-term guidance for recovery efforts to be used at Cape Lookout in the critical period immediately following a damaging storm.

The plan is needed, Bardenhagen said, because hurricanes and other damaging storms pose a constant threat to coastal parks. However, many of the natural and coastal resources that make up these parks, he said, have differing recovery needs.

“The resources are difficult to value in monetary terms,” said Bardenhagen, “but are important because they provide multiple forms of value to visitors and members of the surrounding community.”

The plan will establish priority resource lists to guide post-storm recovery efforts. A web-based valuation survey is being used to inform guidance, enabling recovery efforts to focus on resources that hold significant importance to five dimensions affecting the visitor experience at Cape Lookout.

This plan is the first of its kind within the National Park Service and it is intended that the lessons learned from this process will lead to a successful methodology for use in other coastal parks and facilities.

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