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National Park Service Requests Determination of Eligibility from Keeper of the National Register for Six North Beach Island Cottages

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Date: November 3, 2011
Contact: George Price, Superintendent, 508-771-2144

On November 2, 2011 the National Park Service (NPS) sent the Keeper of the National Register a Request for Determination of Eligibility for six North Beach Island cottages in Chatham.The properties are owned by the NPS. At issue is whether the buildings, constructed in 1992, are historic and eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Officer (MASHPO) and the NPS do not agree. The NPS finding that the cottages are not eligible for listing in the National Register is supported by the NPS Northeast Regional cultural resource staff and the Superintendent of Cape Cod National Seashore.

North Beach Island is a rapidly eroding sand island that became separated from the mainland at Nauset Beach in 2007. The island is currently eroding at approximately 80 feet per year on the ocean side, and is fully exposed to the forces of winter storms. Because of the accelerated rate of erosion, the NPS proposed in August 2011 to remove all six NPS-owned structures on the island to avoid having them wash into Pleasant Bay. On September 9, 2011 the NPS requested concurrence from the MASHPO that demolition of the six structures would not affect historic properties. In correspondence dated October 7, 2011, MASHPO was unable to concur with the NPS determination, even though the MASHPO had previously concurred in 1998 that four of the six properties were ineligible. This disagreement is prompting the Request for Determination of Eligibility from the Keeper. In the meantime, one of the structures, the Crowell Shed, was destroyed during the storm on October 29-30, 2011.

The letter to the Keeper can be viewed on the Cape Cod National Seashore website, www.nps.gov/caco, under the "Management" section, and on the NPS planning website, Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) at http://tinyurl.com/6zb9vvl.


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cranberry bog at harvest time

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