Why the sign?

“WTF” roadside signs catch the attention of Islanders.

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The "WTF" sign in protest to the Tradewinds fence. — Brian Dowd

Updated August 13

Dogwalkers and trail walkers alike have been voicing their concern in the wake of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank’s decision to build a fence around the Trade Winds Field Preserve, known to many as Tradewinds.

Phil Cordella, one of 377 members of the Facebook page “Tradewind,” took matters into his own hands and designed provocative signs with “WTF Why The Fence? Friends of Tradewinds” in bold white letters on a black background.

“It’s part of a campaign to raise public awareness about Tradewinds and the decision by the Land Bank to build a 2.5-mile-long fence,” Cordella said.

Cordella chose the acronym for its eye-catching qualities. When asked if he thought using the WTF acronym was a good idea, Cordella said he’s not the first one to use it, citing comedian Marc Maron’s podcast.

In addition to the signs, Cordella is offering stickers and T shirts. He’ll deliver them, too — all free of charge.

Cordella is involved with wtfmv.org, a website dedicated to documenting Land Bank meetings and the history of the fence construction.

One of the Land Bank’s reasons for putting up the fence was to protect rare flora and fauna from dogs and people, but Cordella feels that isn’t a fair reason. “You can’t welcome plants and not people,” he said.

Not everyone is in favor of the signs. Cordella said he’s been physically threatened, been told to have a “horrible life,” and that the signs are “vulgar.”

“I just think that the WTF signs are crude and immature. Very un-Island-like,” Edgartown resident Jay Woods told The Times in a Facebook message.

Despite opposition, Cordella says he’s seen a “groundswelling of support,” especially from the Tradewinds Facebook page. He gave away 100 of the WTF T shirts in five days. “We’re out of shirts, and have a list when we reorder,” he said.

Beth O’Connor, a member of the tradewinds Facebook group, told The Times in an email she supported Cordella and the signs. “My husband and I stand firmly behind the efforts of the Friends of Tradewinds to bring attention to the restrictions placed upon the M.V. community by the Land Bank in regards to the use of the Tradewinds property as a meeting place and exercise area for both two-legged and four-legged friends. The ‘Why the Fence’ signs are meant to call attention to the fact that attempts to date to appeal to the Land Bank for some sort of compromise have fallen on deaf ears,” she said.

Updated to add quote from Beth O’Connor. — Ed.