Plovers may close all of Norton Point Beach

As of Monday, most of Chappy was closed to vehicle traffic. More closures are likely.

As a result of roving and reproducing shorebirds that are protected by the federal and state government, more of Chappaquiddick was closed to oversand vehicle access on Monday. Chris Kennedy, The Trustees of Reservations Martha’s Vineyard superintendent, ordered the closing of a larger section of Norton Point Beach to oversand vehicles (OSV).

On Wednesday, Mr. Kennedy told The Times that he anticipates the full closure of all Norton Point OSV trails beginning on or before July 1. “This will certainly create frustration for many, but the beaches are still open for walking, and we will all be contributing to the protection of this wildlife resource on our Island,” he said in an email.

Beaches north of the Dike Bridge remain closed to OSV traffic until the birds fledge, which could be another month or more.

“We have about the same number of birds as last year, but this year they’ve spread out more,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We ask the public to be patient. We have to enforce the law.”
According to Massachusetts state law, there can be no vehicle activity within 100 yards of the closest piping plover nest or chick. Plovers don’t like to nest close to one another, so they can take up a lot of beach.

“The law doesn’t say ‘100 yards from the nest,’ it’s ‘100 yards from the closest chick,’ so as fledglings wander further from the nest, we may need to close more beach,” Mr. Kennedy said.

South of the Dike Bridge, a short stretch of Leland Beach is closed, but drivers can bypass it on the bayside road. Mr. Kennedy said he was optimistic that the bayside road south of the Dike Bridge would stay open all summer.

All of Chappy, except the bomb abatement site at Little Neck, remains open to pedestrians. Dogs must be leashed at all times. OSV owners can check the TTOR Facebook page for updates.