A message from our president
Spring is here!
Thankfully, the partial government shutdown has ended and Cape Cod National Seashore is back to gearing up for summer.
The Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore were able to reschedule our winter Sunday afternoon film series. Thank you all for supporting this welcome winter activity.
In February a group of town officials from the six towns in the Seashore, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and staff from State Rep. Sarah Peake's office met with the Woods Hole Group to discuss a proposed shark and human mitigation alternatives analysis project.
This proposal includes a review of available technologies, alternatives analysis, technical report and mitigation strategy fact sheets.
The project team is to be made up of an interdisciplinary group of experienced coastal scientists, coastal and oceanographic engineers, oceanographers, and environmental scientists.
All stakeholders will contribute financially to this project. The Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore are funding the Seashore's assessment of $6,244. The study of possible options in dealing with the shark activity is of utmost importance.
Read more below.
Thank you, Friends, for your contribution to this worthwhile endeavor.
Cape Cod National Seashore Chief Ranger
Cape Cod's waters are part of a natural and wild marine ecosystem with a rich diversity of sea life, including sharks. Sharks have been swimming the ocean waters for more than 400 million years.
As top predators, sharks are critical for maintaining a healthy and balanced marine ecosystem. Seals are the major prey species for the great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharis), and as the seal population increases on the Outer Cape, the great white shark has become more numerous.
There have been many confirmed reports of great white sharks feeding on seals close to shore near or at swimming beaches within the National Seashore. People have been seriously injured and killed by white sharks along the seashore coastline.
To minimize your risk and to protect wildlife:
- Follow instructions of lifeguards.
- Adhere to all signage and flag warnings at beaches.
- Stay close to shore where rescuers can reach you.
- Avoid areas where seals are present.
- Avoid areas where schools of fish are visible.
- Avoid murky or low visibility water.
- Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups - don't isolate yourself.
- Limit splashing
Since 2012, Cape Cod National Seashore has been part of the regional shark working group, whose member include staff and public safety officials from Cape Cod, the Islands, and the South Shore of Massachusetts, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, and the MA Division of Marine Fisheries.
The working group collaborates on shark research, knowledge, and safety efforts. Products developed by the group to increase public awareness and safety include beach signage, brochures, purple shark flags, the Sharktivity app, a shark smart video, and coordination of Stop the Bleed training.
The following actionable items will be implemented in 2019:
- Improved communications at beaches by installing emergency call boxes,
- Continued public education and outreach,
- Stop the Bleed training for seashore staff,
- Staging of Stop the Bleed in selected areas such as the over-sand corridor and on the beach once the lifeguards are off duty.
On Wednesday, February 13, 2019 a meeting brought together Town Managers and public safety officials from the Towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Truro, and Provincetown, along with representatives from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and Representative Sarah Peake's Chief of Staff.
The focus of the group discussion was on a proposed shark and human mitigation alternatives analysis project. The Woods Hole Group will be undertaking an independent review of emerging technologies and strategies by analyzing all proposed alternatives.
The analysis is funded by The Friends of Cape Cod National Seashore, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, Towns of the outer cape, and a state grant of $15,000 for a combined total of $49,950. The results of the analysis are expected in September, 2019.
The 2019 shorebird season at Cape Cod National Seashore has begun.
Preparations are underway to deploy the posts, signs, and string that set aside areas on the beach preferred by threatened piping plovers, least terns, and American oystercatchers.
Similar to previous years, this work will begin in late March and early April. You may notice some differences this year.
Under a new conservation plan and Environmental Assessment, seashore staff will increase visitor restrictions at some places and times and may reduce the size of fenced-off areas on some popular beaches.
Seashore staff will also use non-lethal methods to manage nest predators like coyotes and crows. The aim is to increase shorebird populations while meeting the needs for visitor access to beaches.
Photo by Keegan Burke
Scenes of the Changing Seasons
For those who can't walk the Great Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore, we share some scenes that reveal the end of winter and onset of spring. Enjoy!
Do You Know Waysides?
Waysides can be viewed throughout the national seashore in places like Salt Pond in Eastham and the Highland House in Truro.
Did you know some national seashore educators are on duty 24/7?
No, these are not tired staff, but
rather outdoor exhibits, called waysides. Waysides use compelling graphics and strategic placement in
the landscape to share key national seashore resources and themes.
What sets waysides apart from
other interpretive media is their brevity. Word count is typically 200 words-not an easy task for some
of these stories!
Park interpreters research and write the text, keeping in mind not only the word count,
but accuracy, comprehension level, and visitor interest. The interpreters then pore over archival and
modern images to find the perfect graphics, or they may work with a designer to create a visual or to
commission the perfect photograph.
If you ask park interpreters, they will tell you waysides are more
challenging to develop than a 1,000-word brochure. On a wayside, every word counts, and the
interpreters' writing skills are definitely put to the test!
You'll see waysides throughout the seashore, whetting people's appetites' to explore many diverse
topics, ranging from lighthouses, kettle ponds, and whaling history, to sharks, climate change, and
Over the past several years, Friends has funded many of these exhibits through
membership fees and through a generous donation from the Margolis family.