Saving the Outer Banks – Lessons from the Life of Frank Stick

Thumbnail Image




Rittschof, Daniel

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



The joy of finding unspoiled beaches on the island of Ocracoke led to inquiring how these areas escaped the rampant development prevalent in coastal North Carolina. This project’s primary purpose was to investigate a mostly unknown person, named Frank Stick, and to determine his role, if any, in helping to establish the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and second, to investigate present-day threats to the seashore. The primary inquiry led to Roanoke Island, NC, and the Outer Banks History Center to research from primary sources the life of Frank Stick and the formation of the national seashore. I also interviewed residents of the Outer Banks and descendants of landowners that had contributed to the national seashore. To research current threats, I attended forums of the NC Coastal Federation, Duke’s Ocean Policy Working Group, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and toured the entire seashore. My inquiry reveals that the formation of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has a very long and complicated history in which Frank Stick played a major role, and which this paper examines through his life and times. I found that oil exploration and global warming are major threats to the seashore, and that coastal residents prefer tourism to an energy economy. This paper reveals who Frank Stick was and what we can learn from his activism, conservationism and methods in order to counteract current environmental threats to America’s first national seashore.





Triulzi, Paul Eugene (2017). Saving the Outer Banks – Lessons from the Life of Frank Stick. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.