The Trustees of Reservations is seeking public feedback on a set of draft rules it put together for over-sand vehicles (OSV). The OSV draft rules come as part of a draft “Beach Management Plan.”
OSV permits aren’t cheap. A combination pass that allows access to all the Trustees’ Vineyard OSV areas costs $500 per year. The pass lets vehicles weighing no more than 6,800 pounds (gross) traverse designated beach areas. Vehicles like dune buggies, motorcycles, and snowmobiles are prohibited.
According to a press release, the plan “outlines established historic practices and new proposed management protocols to protect dune and beach resilience, rare species habitat, and public enjoyment of beaches now and in the future. The plan also ensures we are in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, and guidelines that direct beach management and access.”
In August the Trustees intend to hold three meetings on the plan, two in person and one virtual. The Trustees also plan to reach out to community leaders and “affinity groups” regarding the plan.
The OSV proposed rules, as broken down by Vineyard beach, are as follows:
- The draft plan restricts OSV access along Pocha Pond due to its location in the intertidal zone and marsh migration area, in order to comply with local and state guidelines and regulations.
- As a result, the plan proposes converting the interior trail (running through the dune) to two-way access, with turnouts. The travel corridor on the beach itself will remain.
- A small parking pullout area (to accommodate three to four vehicles) is being planned, to be maintained where the pondside road closure will occur.
- Management will remain the same, with typical restrictions during shorebird season, and during flooding and erosion events.
- Wasque Point OSV corridors will be re-established when conditions allow for safe passage, including beach widening and accretion and slope stabilization. Current conditions do not allow for OSV access.
- OSV travel will continue on the front beach corridor when conditions allow for safe travel and when rare shorebirds are not present.
- The draft plan restricts OSV access along Katama Bay due to its location in the intertidal zone and marsh migration area, in order to comply with local and state guidelines and regulations.
- The draft plan proposes a few access areas along Katama Bay. These access areas will support three to four OSVs at each location.
- If the beach corridor is closed due to shorebirds (summer only), or because there are unsafe conditions, OSVs will have access to the first mile of Norton Point Beach through a dune trail from the Katama Avenue entrance.
- Parking will be limited to the beach corridor not affected by nesting shorebirds and/or safety concerns.
Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge:
- OSV travel will continue to be allowed on most of the beach corridor when conditions allow, and through the existing system of interior dune trails.
- The plan proposes additional small parking areas along the bayside for access to Cape Poge Bay, and at the Cape Poge Lighthouse. New trails are proposed for greater pedestrian access to the bayside and oceanside beaches.
- The draft plan restricts OSV access along Cape Poge Bay due to its location in the intertidal zone and marsh migration area, in order to comply with local and state guidelines and regulations.