West Tisbury should open its beaches


To the Editor:

I’m writing to respond to Julia Mitchell Christensen of West Tisbury letter, regarding how her off-Island friends are being treated and how we should treat one another in this troubled time

Here are a few quotes from it.

“My friends own a home here, pay taxes, and contribute to our local community. But, even all that aside, they are human beings.”   

“There is never an appropriate time for people to disrespect one another. We are all in this together.” As I’ve mentioned before, so many times in this forum, to people of West Tisbury, please spare your self righteous indignation. As I’ve mentioned so many times before in this forum, West Tisbury’s exclusive policies at Lambert’s Cove beach, a town park, are the antithesis of what this letter is trying to support. If we are truly “all in this together,” let’s open the beach to whoever walks, cycles, or takes the bus. If not, silence is my validation, end beach apartheid.

Erik Albert
Oak Bluffs


  1. My all-time favorite title for one of these letters is still ‘Apparently, silence isn’t really his validation’.

  2. Can’t this clown ever take a break from this same tired subject. Find a different hill to die on or move to Nantucket which has beautiful beaches and which are all public.

  3. No situation will bring a sense of perspective for this guy. Not even a global pandemic will make him rethink the appropriateness of his letters. I guess proper perspective is a lot to ask for a rich kid who can’t even see how wildly inappropriate the co-opting of a word used to describe the long term, systematic, racist, subjugation of a people to not getting on a beach.

    • Yep. I don’t know which is worse. The catchphrase? Or realizing that he intentionally waits until something very serious is happening on the Island to hijack the discussion.

      I may pull an Andy Dufresne from Shawshank. Start writing two letters per week to counter Erik’s. They, too, will need an annoying slogan. I’m thinking:

      First World Problems Are His Validation. End Beach Apartheid Misappropriation.

      Lambert’s Cove Beach Is Not Yo’ Peach. Stop Trying To Leech By Claiming West Tis Is In Breach.

  4. Erik– since so many people have for years been speaking out against your opinion, why do you persist with the “silence is my validation ” comment ?
    we are all screaming at you and telling you that you are wrong. There is no silence here– LET ME SHOUT AT YOU — YOU HAVE NO VALIDATION, no one is being silent– Get it ?????
    There is no beach apartheid– Lamberts Cove beach was deeded to the town for use by town residents.
    West tisbury has approximately 5 miles of shoreline on the north shore of m.V. Lambert’s cove beach is approximately 1 quarter of a mile of that shoreline. The rest is privately owned by “apartheid” owners.
    Since you like to use the word “apartheid”, let me point out that the great majority of the beaches in west tisbury are owned by Caucasians–
    And may I mention that Lambert’s cove beach , on a year round basis ,is open to anyone about 90 % of the time ? I don’t know what your issue is, but I politely ask that you get over it, and spare the rest of us from your obsession.

  5. Has the time arrived yet to make the entire coastline of Martha’s Vineyard public? Most of all the United States has public coastline… and as we all know even the richer, more exclusive and much ‘redder’ Nantucket has free coastline. Maybe it’s time.

  6. I’m surprised Erik just focuses on West Tisbury? Chilmark, Aquinnah, and Edgartown have private beaches? All beaches should have at the minimum, some public access, but Erik should question all the other towns. This is an Island problem, not just on West Tisbury. In New Jersey, in about 1979, the Legislature busted all private beaches and made all beaches public. Use their model.

    • Here in the People’s Republic of Martha’s Vineyard your idea would gain a super majority. The problem is that elitists also have a say. Why do you suppose Martha’s Vineyard is the favored retreat of the limousine liberals?

      • How many limousines do you see on the island? A silly comment, and another variation of “vacation home people are bad”. Those liberals, with or without their limousines, will stay away this summer and keep their money in their wallets. Islanders can keep mocking them (and their thousands of limos).

        • Most “vacation home people” do not have private beaches (or limousines). BTW, many of those folks are already here and IMO are welcome to hunker down with us.

    • Massachusetts law says property rights extend to mean low water. It applies to all privately held land in the Commonwealth and was established by a Colonial ordinance in the 1640s.
      If the state decided to take all of the land between the high and low water marks by eminent domain there would be a requirement of compensation to all those who currently have deeded rights to that land. Who is going to pay for that? Do you think the voters in Springfield or the Berkshires want to pick up the tab?

  7. MA Law for Property Rights sounds something like this: Private beaches are owned to the median low tide line below this line is state land. By walking on the state land the adventurous island youth make their annual pilgrimage around the island, a Vineyard tradition.

  8. It’s not just Lamberts. The end of the sea wall in OB where I as a youth- adult would swim and snorkel and sunbathe….a few years ago, the owner came over to where I (by myself) was quietly laying on the beach and told me it was private and I had to leave, a couple of days later, there was a fence and sign….so for decades it wasn’t an issue but it all of sudden became an issue.
    As far as being able to walk the beaches at the low tide mark, I’ve always understood that is was not something the Vineyard upheld (The Cape does uphold this)
    It’s not funny, really, how the wealthy, who don’t live here year round (most of them don’t) have the biggest say in the beaches.

  9. Full time resident, owner of partial interest in a private beach. Its private property and the property taxes exceed the purchase price. Everyone would agree that houses and food are more important than going to the beach. So, I propose that I get to use all your houses, cars and food for free! After we do that, we should talk about the beaches.

  10. Your taxes exceed your purchase price?
    What does that have to do with opening beaches?
    I assume that the current fair market value of you beach lot is an order of magnitude more than your taxes if not twice that.
    It sounds like you are complaining that MV real estate tends goes up in value.

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