Land Bank planning boardwalk at James Pond

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A map of the James Pond Preserver and the Land Bank's plan for more walking trails, boardwalk, and walkway over a coastal dune. —Courtesy West Tisbury Conservati

The West Tisbury Conservation Commission gave the go-ahead for expanded walking access in the James Pond Preserve near Lambert’s Cove.

While the commission held off on approving a kayak launch area for the time being, commissioners endorsed the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank’s plan to build a viewing deck, 50 feet of boardwalk, as well as a walkway over a dune onto the beach overlooking Vineyard Sound.

The project is part of the Land Bank’s James Pond Preserve Management Plan that will include new walking trails.

Julie Russell, an ecologist with the Land Bank, presented plans to the commission on Tuesday. 

Russell said the idea is to restore a dune in the area with the use of snow fencing. They also plan to install a seasonal beach mat over an existing dune trail, along with a set of aluminum adjustable stairs over the coastal bank. 

Russell said they also plan to remove non-native vegetation and to protect sea beach knotweed and piping plovers in the area. She says part of the plan includes removing black locust trees to open up the understory, and they’ll bring in goats to clear out honeysuckle and bittersweet and other invasive species. The Land Bank also plan to install snow fencing along the dune to protect it from erosion.

Russell told commissioners that the dune stairway will have 28 steps and two separate landings.

Commissioners were open to the idea but had reservations about the kayak launching, questioning if it was needed considering the length visitors would need to carry their kayaks.

Russell said the idea was to give kayakers a central location to launch their boats, which could cut down on erosion. She said it is a rocky area and a launch would be helpful. Still, she said that the Land Bank could wait two years to see if there is a demand for the kayak ramp, before building one.

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