West Tisbury residents seek improved access to  Lambert’s Cove Beach

Martha Hubbell of Lambert's Cove climbs the sand dune at Lambert's Cove Beach to leave. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Some 30 West Tisbury residents submitted a petition to the West Tisbury Conservation Commission Tuesday to ask that a high dune at the entrance to Lambert’s Cove beach be lowered to allow easier access for elderly residents and emergency personnel.

The petition asked the commission and the parks and recreation department to either lower the dune as in past years or create an alternate, safer route before next spring.

The dune, created by wind and erosion, is an obstacle along the quarter-mile hike required to reach the beach from the town parking lot off Lambert’s Cove Road.

Conservation commission board administrator Maria McFarland said a Bobcat excavator has been used in previous years to keep the dune passable. She said that required state approval for the necessary permit to alter the dune might be difficult to obtain due to the focus of state- backed conservation efforts to maintain dunes. She said that the town neglected to file the permit in past years and that the commission intends to end that practice.

She said the commission will request input from the park and rec department, the fire department, EMTs, the police and selectmen during the process of finding a solution.

“People have talked about putting in a boardwalk since the early 1980s,” Ms. McFarland said. ”That is a possible solution.”

The commission and the parks and recreation department collaborated on a Lambert’s Cove Beach dune restoration project during the winter of 2012. Snow fencing was installed on the water-side of the dune to help capture wind-blown sand in order to build the dune up. Beach Grass was planted this spring to help stabilize the dune.

Both Ms. McFarland and Peter Rodegast, chairman of the commission, told The Times that the fencing was placed far enough in front of the path to build up the width of the dune without adding to its height. “That could make it more difficult for people to climb the dune. We really don’t have a benchmark to determine if the dune is any higher now than last year,” she said. “It is one of the things we will try to establish.”