Resource Protection, Public Use, and Recreation (36 CFR, Part 2)



(a)(4) Driftwood, flotsam, and jetsam may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park on beaches below the spring (season) high tide drift line.

The collection of driftwood, flotsam and jetsam is determined not to be detrimental to the protection of the beach environment. Driftwood, flotsam and jetsam are considered hazards to navigation and may be collected from beaches below the spring (season) high tide drift line. All archeological resources, cultural resources, and lobster traps are protected by law, and may not be removed except by the authority of the Superintendent.

(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to the trail or walkway as listed in Section §1.5 of this document.

Hiking and pedestrian use in the following dune or swamp areas is restricted to designated paths and walkways. Beach areas are open to foot travel except as restricted by the posting of signs or fencing.
Coast Guard Beach
Head of the Meadow Beach
Nauset Light Beach
Race Point Beach
Marconi Beach
Marconi Site
Atlantic White Cedar Swamp
Herring Cove Beach
Red Maple Swamp
Small’s Swamp
Pamet Area Trails
Trails in posted erosion control and plant restoration areas

Visitor use areas which exist within dune or swamp areas require the limitation of foot travel to designated walkways in order to protect fragile dune and swamp flora and fauna from damaging foot traffic.

(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:

The following fruits and berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption in amounts not to exceed one gallon, per person, per day. Collection is permitted in all park areas except those designated as closed in Section 1.5.

1. All designated fruits and berries
Limit one (1) gallon per person per day
Bayberry (Myrica pensylvania)
Beachplum (Prunus maritima)
Blackberry (Rubus spp.)
Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Dewberry (Rubus spp.)
Grapes (Vitus spp.)
Huckleberry Gaylussacia spp.)
Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.)
Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
Salt Spray Rose Hips (Rosa rugosa)
Teaberry (Gaultheria procombens)
Bayberry (Myrica carolinensis)

2. All Edible mushrooms
Limit five (5) gallons per person per day. Collection is permitted in all park areas except those designated as closed in Section §1.5. Digging or other soil disturbance during the course of collecting mushrooms is prohibited.

3. All unoccupied seashells
Limit one (1) gallon container per person per day

Based on information from individuals knowledgeable in the field of park resources, and the habitat of Cape Cod National Seashore, the Superintendent has determined that the gathering, use, or consumption of the previously stated natural products at the indicated quantity will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproduction potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.


(b) Hunting

Hunting is authorized in Cape Cod National Seashore under Section §7.67(f) on federally owned land.

Hunting is permitted regardless of landownership (36 CFR 2.2(b)(2) in accordance with applicable state and federal hunting laws and regulations, except as further specified in this section or other federal laws or regulations.

Hunting is prohibited from March 1st through August 31st, except for the spring Eastern Wild Turkey hunt. Dates for the spring turkey hunt will follow the Massachusetts spring Eastern Wild Turkey season, unless the Superintendent determines an earlier closing date. The spring turkey hunt is currently authorized in Cape Cod National Seashore the first three weeks of the Massachusetts spring turkey hunting season.

Hunting hours will begin no earlier than ½ hour before sunrise and end no later than ½ hour after sunset, unless further restricted by federal or state regulations for specific open seasons. All hunting is prohibited from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.

Hunting, or possession of a loaded weapon while hunting, is prohibited within 500 feet of established bicycle or nature trails, regardless of land ownership. These restrictions do not apply to individuals in possession of concealed, loaded weapon while not hunting pursuant to applicable federal and state law. Discharge of a weapon across any established bicycle or nature trail is prohibited. These restrictions apply to the following bicycle and self-guided nature trails:

  • Nauset Bike Trail
  • Province Lands Bike Trail
  • Head of the Meadow Bike Trail
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail
  • Fort Hill Self-Guided Trail
  • Red Maple Swamp Self-Guided Trail
  • Nauset Marsh Self-Guided Trail
  • Doane Self-Guided Trail
  • Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Self-Guided Trail
  • Great Island Self-Guided Trail
  • Pamet area including Bog house trails
  • Small’s Swamp Self-Guided Trail
  • Pilgrim Spring Self-Guided Trail
  • Beech Forest Self-Guided Trail
  • Button Bush Self-Guided Trail

Hunting is prohibited within 500 feet of any building, regardless of occupancy, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof.

Setting up or utilizing a hunting stand in areas closed to hunting is prohibited.

Hunting is prohibited, regardless of land ownership, in certain areas within the boundaries of Cape Cod National Seashore pursuant to 36 CFR §1.5, 36 CFR 2.2(b)(2) and 36 CFR 7.67(f). These areas include the following:

  • Fort Hill Area (Eastham)
  • Marconi Station/Cedar Swamp Area (Wellfleet)
  • Cedar Banks Area (Eastham)
  • Former Ball Trust Land (Truro)
  • Pilgrim Heights Area (Truro)
  • Beech Forest Area (Provincetown)

The specific areas in which hunting is allowed are designated on the Seashore’s Hunting Brochure and individual area maps, which are available for review at Park Headquarters, the visitor centers, and ranger stations.

Upland game, as used in 36 CFR §7.67, includes the following species:

  • Crow, Ruffed Grouse, Quail, English Sparrow, Starling, Pheasant, Eastern Wild Turkey.
  • Cottontail Rabbit, Snowshoe Hare, Opossum, Raccoon, Fox, Coyote, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Chipmunk, Weasel, Skunk, Woodchuck

The disposal/dumping of an animal carcass is prohibited.

Hunting is a permitted activity as written in PL 86-127 the enabling legislation of Cape Cod National Seashore and the 2007 Hunting Environment Impact Statement. Hunting regulations are established to protect private property, park structures, and public use areas where high concentrations of public activity could result in safety and user conflicts.

(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:
  • The use of artificial lights at night to view wildlife is prohibited in Cape Cod National Seashore.

This is to protect wildlife from disturbances and to prevent illegal hunting activities within the boundaries of the park.

36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING

(d)(8) Fishing is allowed in or from the following otherwise prohibited areas:

Swimming Beaches:
  • Fishing is authorized from designated swimming beaches throughout the year except from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM from June 15 – Labor Day.
  • Fishing from designated swimming beaches from 6:00 PM – 8:00 AM is allowed due to an absence of safety and visitor conflict concerns.

This is to prevent illegal fishing activities within the boundaries of the park.


(a)(2)(i) Weapons, traps, or nets may only be carried, possessed or used at the following designated times and locations:
  • Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit provided they comply with federal, state, and local laws. The role of the responsible gun owner is to obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting.
  • Federal law prohibits firearms in certain park facilities and buildings. These places are marked with signs at public entrances.
  • Possession of traps and nets pursuant to hunting activities is prohibited.
  • Possession of fish traps, and nets is permitted in salt water only in accordance with requirements enumerated in 36 CFR 7.67 and assimilated State regulations, when engaged in fishing activities in the Seashore.


(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:
  • Camping in self-contained vehicles is permitted in the designated Race Point North and Race Point South Self-Contained Areas in accordance with requirements enumerated in 7.67(a)(5).

Designated camping areas along the oversand route are established with time, place, vehicle, and number conditions which protect environment and limit public use conflicts.

36 CFR §2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

Small fires are allowed by permit on designated salt-water beaches (except for protected or posted beach areas). The Superintendent may restrict the number of permits issued according to the visitor use and resource conditions in the area. Designated beaches are:
  • Coast Guard 4
  • Nauset Light 4
  • Marconi 4
  • Head of the Meadow 3
  • Herring Cove 3 North, 2 South
  • Race Point 4
  • Race Point North oversand corridor 3
  • Race Point South oversand corridor 3
  • Coast Guard oversand corridor 3
Fires are allowed in the two oversand route self-contained vehicle areas without a permit.

Established Conditions for Fires:
  • Fire location and date are only valid as written on the fire permit.
  • From June – September beach fires must be located between 100 and 500 feet beyond the lifeguard protected beach (diagram on fire permit illustrates this designated area). The protected beach area is designated by “End of Lifeguard Protected Beach” signs.
  • Fuel for beach fires must consist of clean natural wood free from any chemical treatment or coating (including pressure treated woods, painted wood, etc). Wood must be free from any nails, screws or other foreign objects.
  • Fires are not allowed in areas of vegetation or at the base of the dune.
  • Fires must be small, with flames not more than three feet high.
  • Fires must be completely extinguished with water by the time indicated on the permit. Fires must not be buried.
  • Fires may not be ignited before 5 PM (5:30 PM for Coast Guard Beach).

An adult, at least 18 years old, must sign for the fire permit and be present on the beach when the fire is active.

(a)(2) The following restrictions are in effect for the use of stoves or lanterns:

Contained charcoal grill or gas grill fires are allowed (without permit) at all beaches and the following designated picnic areas:
  • Doane Rock
  • Pilgrim Heights
  • Beech Forest
  • Self Contained Vehicle Areas
  • Marconi Site
  • Marconi Beach (Picnic Site)
  • Great Island
  • Outer Beach (except for protected or posted beach areas)

(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:

Fires will be extinguished by 11:30 PM, except for person(s) night fishing with fire permits on the Coast Guard ORV corridor.

Designated locations for fires and charcoal and gas grills in established areas, which provide for adequate supervision, and in concert with a permit system, protect beach and upland environments and limit public use conflicts.

36 CFR §2.15 – Sanitation and Refuse

(a)(7) The following restrictions are in effect regarding fish carcass disposal

Disposal of fish remains on park beaches is prohibited.

Fish carcasses or parts thereof can attract predators.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

Pets are prohibited on the following 11 self-guiding nature trails:
  • Fort Hill
  • Red Maple Swamp
  • Nauset Marsh
  • Doane Trail System (excluding handicapped spur)
  • Atlantic White Cedar Swamp
  • Great Island (Exception: leashed pets are allowed between the upper/lower parking areas along the trail to the first cut and out onto the beach)
  • Pamet area including Bog House trails
  • Small’s Swamp
  • Pilgrim Spring
  • Beech Forest
  • Button Bush

Pets are prohibited from the following areas
  • Freshwater pond beaches and water: May 15 – October 15
  • Province Lands Bike Trail: May 1 – October 31
  • Lifeguarded protected beaches (leashed pets may only pass through)
  • Nauset Bike Trail: May 1 – October 31
  • Shorebird and tern use area as signed

The presence of dogs and other pets along designated self-guided nature trails and ponds is determined to result in user conflicts and health and safety concerns. Pets that are not on leash result in safety concerns for visitors and animals. Pets that leave their scent on nature trails and ponds may disrupt the natural activities of the wildlife.

Fresh water ponds are a unique and sensitive resource with significant ecological, aesthetic, and recreational value. Many of the kettle ponds are very susceptible to changes in water quality due to increased sedimentation and nutrient loading. Dogs can add phosphorous, nitrogenous compounds and bacterial and possibly viral organisms to the water column by urination and defecation along the pond shorelines.

Because of ecological considerations, aesthetics, and visitor conflicts, this action restricts dogs at ponds within the Seashore.

Pets must be on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length.

Leashed pets are permitted to pass through lifeguard protected areas in order to reach areas where they may otherwise be allowed.

(a)(3) Pets may be left unattended and tied to an object in the following areas, under the conditions noted:

Pets may be left unattended and tied to an object only in employee housing areas.

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:

No individual will allow a pet under their control to defecate upon sidewalks, streets, beaches, or land owned by the NPS without immediately and permanently removing the excrement.

(b) The use of dogs in support of hunting must be in accordance with Federal and State laws and the following conditions:

Dogs may be used while hunting in accordance with state laws, with the exception that only six (6) dogs per group are allowed when hunting on Seashore lands. The training of dogs is prohibited except during the established hunting season for rabbit, pheasant, and prescribed waterfowl seasons.

The use of hunting dogs in park areas open to hunting activity and in accordance with established state law and hunting seasons is determined to be appropriate. The limit of six (6) dogs per hunting group is established to provide greater control of the animals. The training of dogs is limited to established hunting seasons to reduce user conflicts, protect park resources, and be in compliance with 36CFR.

(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:

Persons residing in government quarters may keep pets in accordance with the Cape Cod National Seashore Housing Management Plan.


(b) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed on the following trails, routes or areas:

Trail riding and horse use is permitted only in the following locations:
  • Sunset Trail
  • West Trail
  • Herring Cove Trail (Beach route north to Hatches Harbor (Oct. 15 – May 15)
  • Park fire and dirt roads (except ORV routes and those designated as interpretive trails.)
  • On all saltwater beaches (Oct. 15 – May 15)
  • Beside Cape Cod Rail Trail

The designated times and location for riding horses within the Seashore are established to limit user conflicts and to protect fragile park environments.


(a)(1) Areas designated for operating or using aircraft are provided for in Part 7.

Land based aircraft may be landed at Provincetown Airport as authorized in §7.67(b).


The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:

Most Park roadways and all Park parking lots and bike trails are designated as open to roller skating, skateboards, roller skis, roller blades, coasting vehicles, mobility scooters or similar devices in accordance with state law and local ordinances. (State law ch. 720 §9.09, allows pedestrians [skates] to proceed “when practicable” on the left side of the roadway on its unfinished shoulder facing traffic).

Only roller skates and in-line skates are allowed on Race Point Road and Province Lands Road. Individuals are prohibited from using skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, and any other similar devices on these two roads, and all other areas posted as closed to this activity.

36 CFR 2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking and the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as noted:

Smoking and the use of ENDS is prohibited and will not be permitted within any Government-owned or -leased vehicle, including heavy equipment, watercraft or aircraft.

Smoking and the use of ENDS is prohibited on protected swimming beaches when lifeguards are on duty.

These restrictions are intended to reduce any possible conflict between users and the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and to protect park structures from fire danger or smoke. This prohibition is consistent with federal law.


(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR Part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Entrance Fee Areas:
  • Coast Guard Beach (Little Creek)
  • Head of the Meadow Beach
  • Nauset Light Beach
  • Herring Cove Beach
  • Marconi Beach
  • Race Point Beach


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

All ranger stations, visitor centers, amphitheaters and government buildings except government owned housing, unless specifically allowed as part of official duty, a licensed concessions operation and/or as part of a special event authorized by the Superintendent.

These locations are closed to the consumption of alcohol as it is deemed an inappropriate activity considering the other uses of these areas for educational, administrative, and interpretative activities.


(b) Demonstrations of 25 people or less are allowed within the park areas designated as available under paragraph (c)(2). Demonstrations of more than 25 people are allowed within designated park areas when the Superintendent has issued a permit for the activity.

(c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations:


(b) The sale or distribution of printed matter by 25 people or less is allowed within the park areas designated as available under 2.51(c)(2) (see above). The sale or distribution of printed matter by more than 25 persons is allowed within designated park areas when the Superintendent has issued a permit.

Per Policy Memorandum 14-01 dated January 28, 2014, other message-bearing items may also be distributed in designated areas under 36 CFR §2.52 if it is done free of charge and without asking for payment or a donation. This will allow the free distribution of message-bearing items to the public other than printed matter, so long as the activity occurs within an area designated as available for First Amendment activities.

Examples of message-bearing items that may be distributed for free include CDs, DVDs, and other readable electronic media.


(b) A permit is required for the scattering of ashes from cremated human remains, or in the following designated areas without a permit, in accordance with the following terms and conditions:

The scattering of human ashes from cremation, without a permit, is allowed under the following terms and conditions:
  • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
  • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water.
  • The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground.
  • No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.

Last updated: May 27, 2021

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99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet , MA 02667


To speak to a park ranger, call 508-255-3421 for visitor information.

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