Access at seashore locations
The stairs at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham are closed due to storm damage. Herring Cove North Lot in Provincetown sustained damage resulting in closure of multiple parking spaces. The Nauset Marsh Trail bridge was destroyed in a 2012 storm. More »
Heathlands and Grasslands
Sandplain is a term used to describe an area of glacial outwash. The transportation and deposition of sandy sediments by retreating glaciers are what formed the sandplains found in New England. The grassland and heathland plant community types associated with New England sandplains owe much of their prevalence to historical disturbance. Past natural events (like fire) and human activities (like agriculture) are responsible for the formation of these community types throughout much of their present day range. The suppression and disruption of historical disturbance has resulted in conversion of these early-successional community types to other later-successional community types like shrubland and forest. The long term status of the existing grasslands and heathlands is uncertain. In addition to being themselves rare, these communities serve as important habitat for a host of vulnerable wildlife, notably open land birds including the vesper sparrow and grasshopper sparrow. Prescribed fire is used to maintain heathland and other open, early successional stage plant communities that harken to the Cape Cod landscape of the past and helps maintain native wildlife diversity. For more information on how prescribed fire is used at CCNS follow this link to an article on the Young Forest Project website.
Did You Know?
Coastal waters were the original highways of the Cape. Today’s common but puzzling terms “Lower Cape” and “Upper Cape” (referring to the northern and southern areas of Cape Cod) originated with sailors. Southwesterly winds meant ships heading north were sailing "down-wind" to the Lower Cape.