Squibnocket Beach dramatically transformed

Huge amounts of sand are being placed on Squibnocket Beach as part of the town beach project. The next phase in the project is plant installation. The beach project as a whole was made possible due to a bridge-beach deal between Chilmark and Squibnocket Farm residents. - Rich Saltzberg

The ankle-twisting rubble long characteristic of Squibnocket Beach has vanished under sand. Gone are the beach stairs, the drop-off along the parking lot, the lot itself, and the revetment. Sandy terrain now slopes to the shore — remarkably like a beach.

Despite nor’easters plaguing the project’s timetable, contractor John Keene Excavation has kept pace, and is on target to have the area ready for thousands of plants in the next few days, according to owner John Keene.

The work is part of the town of Chilmark’s beach restoration project, an endeavor that was made possible through a formal agreement with the owners of Squibnocket Farm, whereby the beach, formerly leased by the town, was essentially given to it in exchange for a new right of way to Squibnocket Point — a bridge. The bridge opened for use during the second week of March. Keene began work on March 19.

Keene said his crews made 90 trips to Squibnocket and delivered 1,700 yards of sand as of Tuesday morning, with more sand to come.

Onsite at Squibnocket Beach, Chilmark conservation committee administrator Chuck Hodgkinson appeared pleased, but said there is still plenty more work to do.