Cape Cod National Seashore Releases Written Determination of Change of Park Compendium Rules related to Kite Surfing

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Date: March 6, 2017
Contact: GEORGE E. PRICE, JR., SUPERINTENDENT, 508-957-0739

Seashore management staff held a public comment period on the Service's withdrawal of its 2016 rules along with a proposal to reissue rules on kite surfing within the boundaries of Cape Cod National Seashore for 2017. Kite surfing has become a popular activity in recent years. Concern with resource protection and public safety impacts led the National Park Service to institute partial year and location restrictions, starting in 2008. Members of the kite surfing community have objected, stating restrictions are unnecessary. The NPS invited interested parties to submit comments and concerns about kite surfing at the Seashore, and the appropriateness of reinstating the rules, or some alternative set of rules. The 30-day public comment period extended from October 14th - November 14th, 2016.

Superintendent Price stated, “Effective March 15, the Superintendent’s Compendium will be revised to authorize a change in park rules to allow kite surfing along approximately 1 3/4 miles of beach between the north end of the lifeguarded section of Coast Guard Beach, and a point north of the lifeguarded section of Nauset Light Beach.”

The Superintendent and professional staff reviewed the comments, research, policy and experiences of sites with similar issues, reviewed resource management responsibilities, and reviewed public safety interests and management capacity. Specifically, staff focused on an area between Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Light Beach, Eastham, which is too narrow for shorebird nesting and historically has not been observed to have documented nesting sites over the past 15 years and determined that this area could be considered to allow kite surfing. As a result of this review, the Superintendent’s Compendium will contain the following restrictions/conditions pertaining to kite surfing:
Kite Surfing is prohibited at the following locations and during the following times:
Kite surfing is prohibited March 15 through October 15 on all open waters on ocean and bayside within the Seashore other than at the following specific locations.

Eastham: A total of approximately 1 3/4 miles of beach between the north end of the lifeguarded section of Coast Guard Beach, and a point north of the lifeguarded section of Nauset Light Beach will be open to kite surfing. The designated kite surfing boundary area will be marked on land by a post on either end. The ocean boundary around Nauset Light Beach lifeguarded section will be marked by a bright orange swim buoy. 

Land and water access for takeoff and landings is allowed north of the lifeguarded area on Coast Guard Beach and at the north and south ends of Nauset Light Beach. Kite surfers must stay outside of, and may not launch from, the Nauset Light Beach lifeguarded area when lifeguards are on duty. The land boundary will be either end of the lifeguarded beach which is designated by large brown posts signed as “end of lifeguarded beach”. 

Wellfleet: The town of Wellfleet’s Duck Harbor Beach on Cape Cod Bay is open to kite surfing all year long. This specifically applies to the corridor the width of the town owned property and extends off shore through the extent of the ¼ mile jurisdiction of Cape Cod National Seashore.

The following conditions also apply:
Kite surfers must stay clear of other recreational users and at least 150 feet from seals, which are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. 
Kites for kite surfing are subject to the general prohibition of any airborne device above or within 200 meters of any section of beach designated by signs as a “Closed – Bird Use” area. This prohibition extends offshore as well as onshore.
For more information see

Last updated: March 6, 2017

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