Going barefoot to Outer Banks beaches is being discouraged on a 4.5-mile stretch of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.
In a move that might seem absurd, the National Park Service is advising visitors to wear hard-soled shoes to the beach.
The warning — which comes just before the Memorial Day weekend — is in response to a debris field created when two Rodanthe homes collapsed into the Atlantic May 10.
“Due to the potential for injury from both sand-covered and fully exposed home debris ... Cape Hatteras National Seashore encourages visitors to wear hard soled footwear on the beach between Rodanthe and Salvo,” the park said in a May 25 news release.
“While much of the large debris has been removed by a variety of beach cleanup efforts, miles of small pieces of debris remains on and under the surface of the beach. The Seashore is aware of the presence of wood with exposed nails, splintered wooden fragments and other debris that could be harmful to beachgoers without hard soled footwear.”
The situation was worsened by a recent storm that greatly eroded Buxton Beach Access, exposing “PVC pipes and other previously underground items associated with decommissioned military facilities,” the park said.
“The seashore is in the process of cutting the pipes and removing as much of the exposed debris as possible,” officials said.
Debris from the two collapsed homes has drifted as far as 15 miles from the neighborhood in Rodanthe, the park reports.
Cleanup crews organized by the park have found “wires, broken and exposed septic systems and other hazardous materials” on beaches and in the water near shore, the park reports.