Sundae Horn
Scotch Bonnet
Scotch Bonnet
Crystal Canterbury

Scarcity of seashells prompts the National Park Service to issue new resource management rule. 

(Please note the date this story was published. LOL. We love April Fool's Day!)

"One a day -- just like taking a vitamin," said Park Superintendent Dave Hallac. "You can remove one -- exactly one -- seashell from Ocracoke's beach each day."

Ocracoke's 16 miles of pristine, wild, ocean beach is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which is charged with the duty to "preserve and protect" the natural resources. 

The one-shell rule is a drastic change from the 5-gallon bucket limit that has been in place but largely unenforced, admits Ocracoke Chief Ranger, "but it's long overdue. Some people just can't control themselves when they see shells. We've got to protect the beach from the shell collectors."

"We've noticed over the last few years that as shell collecting has gotten even more popular, at the same time climate change has caused the mollusk population to plummet," said Ocracoke's NPS Biotech Ranger. "The beautiful shells we used to see out here -- helmet conchs, whelks, Scotch bonnets, olives -- they have severely diminished in numbers. We've got to set limits so the shells don't disappear altogether."

Citing the obnoxious behavior of "smug early risers" who scour the beaches at dawn by foot or cover more ground with drive-by shelling, the Park biotechs note that "it's not really fair that the early bird gets the shell when the beach is supposed to be here for everyone. This will give the afternoon beach-goers a fighting chance to find a nice shell to take home." 

"Some visitors have never found a whole Scotch bonnet," explained the Chief Ranger. "And other people take home hundreds. We're not only going to protect the resource from over-shelling, but we're going to ensure more equitable distribution about beachgoers. Once you find your one, perfect shell each day, the rest will be left behind for others or to be crushed and turned into more sand to nourish our beaches. Our new motto is: Take only one shell; leave only footprints!"

The Park Service hopes to remain "chill" about the new rule; they don't expect to be raiding ORVs or rental cottages looking for conchologists with contraband. "We hope that everyone will play by the rules so things don't get ugly," Superintendent Hallac said. "We don't usually get much pushback from the community or visitors over changes to Park rules, so we expect this transition will be just as smooth as the when we starting the ORV permits."