• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Nauset Marsh Trail Footbridge Temporary Closure After Labor Day

    A small footbridge on the Nauset Marsh trail will be closed for repair for two weeks following Labor Day. Ask at the visitor center for detour information.

  • Sections of Boardwalk Closed at Red Maple Swamp Trail

    Sections of the boardwalk at the Red Maple Swamp Trail have been closed due to structural deterioration and safety concerns. Check at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the current status of this trail, and for your safety, remain out of closed areas.

Pets and Kites Temporarily Prohibited on Beaches Where Protected Piping Plovers and Other Shorebirds Nest

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Date: March 24, 2009
Contact: Carrie Phillips, Chief, Natural Resources Management, 508-771-2144

With the return of spring, piping plovers have also returned to their breeding grounds on outer Cape Cod. They are now courting and establishing territories in preparation for nesting. Piping plovers continue to be listed as a threatened species under the Federal and Massachusetts Endangered Species Acts. The National Park Service, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, carries out management of the plover at Cape Cod National Seashore.

Piping plovers are ground nesting birds and raise their flightless chicks on beaches where they are vulnerable to predators, storm tides, and human disturbance. They are particularly sensitive to the presence of dogs. They perceive dogs as predators and are more readily disturbed when a dog is approaching than when only people are approaching. An even greater threat occurs when dogs are off-leash.  Most loose dogs naturally chase any movement on the beach including adult plovers and the flightless chicks, which can be killed in the process.

Kites also disturb the nesting and feeding behaviors of endangered shorebirds. Kites are perceived as large predators flying over the birds. This may scare the incubating parent off the nest, exposing the eggs to predators, hot or cold temperatures, cause nest abandonment, or disrupt feeding of the adult birds and their chicks.

To protect plovers and other ground nesting shorebirds including least terns and American oystercatcher, effective April 1, and until further notice, no pets or kite flying will be permitted on Coast Guard Beach south of the former Coast Guard Station in Eastham, and  at Jeremy Point in Wellfleet.  Also effective April 1, kite-surfing/boarding is prohibited on Cape Cod Bay-side beaches and Cape Cod Bay waters within the national seashore until the last chicks in the area have fledged.  Additional sections of the seashore’s ocean and bayside beaches that support nesting shorebirds may also be temporally closed to pets and kites.

In areas where dogs are permitted within the national seashore, they must be leashed. Cape Cod National Seashore Chief Ranger Bob Grant would like to remind everyone that federal law requires that dogs be on a leash (no longer than 6 feet) at all times while in the seashore regardless of town regulations. Pets must be on leash to prevent them from disturbing people and other pets, from harassing wildlife, and for their own safety.  Ranger Grant explains that seashore rangers have documented many dogs off leash each year, and the number of citations written for this violation is on the rise.

The Cape Cod National Seashore staff appreciates your cooperation and assistance.

 

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Did You Know?

Cape Cod

In the mid-19th century, Henry David Thoreau walked the Atlantic coastline of Cape Cod, recording his adventures in his narrative "Cape Cod". To literally follow in Thoreau’s footsteps today would require scuba gear. Cape Cod’s Outer Beach sees an average erosion rate of close to 4 feet per year.