West Tisbury should end exclusive beach policies

To the Editor:

As an elected member of the Oak Bluffs planning board, I take issue with Mike Bellissimo’s long-winded letter regarding an Oak Bluffs planning board member and the issue of affordable housing on the Island. My main gripe is the way he characterizes West Tisbury. He champions the ideas of democracy, community, and “the good people of West Tisbury, who have good sense.” 

As I pointed out in this forum on his last letter, the exclusive beach policies of his town at Lambert’s Cove Beach, a town park, are the antithesis of these things. It’s not that the general public isn’t allowed to walk, bus, or cycle to the beach, it’s that the good people of West Tisbury want to stand on the moral high ground of community only when it benefits them. We can’t have an honest conversation about the regional needs on the Island without addressing the issue of beach access. Silence is my validation, end beach apartheid.

Erik Albert
Oak Bluffs



  1. Eric is correct, and I live in one of these private beach towns. At the very minimum, a certain quota of non town but confirmed year round Island residents should be allowed into every private beach each day. Having no access for Island residents is snobbery at it’s worse. This type of exclusivity only breeds separation, just like Trump promotes. Let’s not be hypocrites.

    • This exclusivity has nothing to do with Trump. Your often good judgement is compromised when you chime in with Trump. Trump promotes legal immigration. Most citizens want safe secure borders and not a constant crisis and we want someone who will try to do something about it. No one on both sides of the aisle has done so. The Lamberts Cove exclusivity is highly disappointing from an island that prides itself as ”community”. By all means give WT residence parking stickers but allow walk ons.

      • Andrew-my reference to Trump was in reference to how he tries to constantly create “Us and them” relatesionships, by bashing all those that oppose him. His attacks on Hillary, the free Press, are all self serving solely to unite his mindless base. Private beaches, promoted by liberals, are also a form of separation and segregation. Beaches are public parks, not an instrument for separation and segregation.

  2. Oh, it’s not just the beaches they want to exclude us from, it’s the ocean too! I have the good fortune of having a boat in the OB harbor and for years I have been anchoring in Lamberts Cove to enjoy a pleasant afternoon. The other day, I anchored well outside the swim buoys only to have a lifeguard paddle out and tell me to move my boat several hundred feet beyond the swim markers. The rationale offered was that the swimmers like to swim outside of the swim area (huh?). Being an attorney with experience in maritime law, I knew that the request exceeded the lifeguard’s authority, but I compiled nonetheless. After all, we all have to chill a little to combat the additional stress that the summer chaos brings.

    A few days later, I was in the process of anchoring a hundred feet outside the swim area when the lifeguard on the beach started waving frantically and directing me to the far end of the private side of the beach. I once again complied and joined the other boats lumped in the corner of the cove. All of them had also been told not to anchor in front of the “public” beach, regardless of how far out they were. This clearly has nothing to do with swimmer safety and everything to do with keeping out the riff raff. This new town policy is unacceptable.

  3. Somewhat misleading-
    It’s not an “exclusive policy”. Lambert’s cove beach was entirely private, until gifted to residents of the town of West Tisbury.
    I believe MA requires 150 feet from a swimming area for boat operation, including anchoring.

  4. You miss the point whale oil driller. Lambert’s cove should not be private. No beaches should be private. An easement or walk on in the overwhelming majority of US beaches. No one should have the right to a private beach unless they own the entire island.

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