February - March 2013
Visitor center in snow
Winter tranquility across
the National Seashore




It's winter tranquility at the National Seashore. Although the Blizzard of 2013 raised its anticipated havoc, you cannot beat the serenity that follows. Snowshoeing on the Nauset March Trail, cross country skiing on the fire roads or a stroll on the storm-eroded beaches.


Cape Cod National Seashore is truly a four-season National Park.



                                         Richard Spokes


Friends funds CCNS Projects

In addition to the $40,000 committed last year to three special Seashore projects — restoration of Penniman House grounds, wayside exhibits along the Province Lands Bike Trail and the Making Waves program for under-served urban youth — the board has voted funds in 2013 to cover some small, but important items to enable certain programs or provide needed equipment for the National Seashore.


 These include:

  • Purchases of supplies, equipment, and services to support park operations, especially related to safety and sustainability;

  • Purchase of films and licensing for the winter film festival;

  • Honoraria for summer interpretive presentations, science lectures and performance-based programs at visitor centers;

  • Purchase of a high-definition video camera for the development of web videos for the park's YouTube channel;

  • Three recycled Adirondack chairs and tables for CG Beach educational facility;

  • Support for the Atlantic Research Center's annual summer science symposium;

  • Refreshments for all-employee training day.
Thanks to all members who support the good work of the Friends in helping the National Seashore.

Members event:

Evening Amphibian Walk


We are excited to continue our amphibian education this spring! At 7:30 p.m. on April 11, National Park Service Wildlife Biologist Robert Cook will lead members of Friends on an evening walk of about one mile among the vernal ponds of Eastham.


Peepers 1 We will be listening and looking for such early spring amphibians as the wood frog, spring peeper, and spotted salamander. As well, we will be learning about some of the many species of wildlife that live and thrive unbeknownst to most people on the lands protected by Cape Cod National Seashore.


RSVP early, as the group will be limited to 20.  This event is for current members only.


Thursday, April 11, 7:30 p.m.

Meet at Salt Pond Visitor Center, Eastham

RSVP to info@fccns.org or 508-957-0729


Old Harbor shot


Recent acquisitions for the

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station 


Even though it is winter, the work of Friends continues. One project that is ongoing is furnishing Old Harbor Life-Saving Station at Race Point beach in Provincetown.


In October, we acquired the 1899 Annual Report of the Life-Saving Service. This book will be part of the Keepers Office display. It was included in the Furnishing Plan, as was a Watchman's Clock. Such an instrument was on our Wish List at an estimated cost of $1000!


Inahuser clock
Imhauser Clock

The Surfman on beach patrol carried a Watchman's Clock. He was obligated to carry the leather bound timepiece to a site where a key was stored. In the case of Old Harbor, it would have been at the southern end of the beach, probably abreast of what is now the Fish Pier in Chatham. Inserting the key, and turning it punched a paper dial, showing the time he punched it.>


The Keeper had the only key to open the clock, and could verify that the patrol was properly carried out. Surfmen faced disciplinary action if they were guilty of "missing a punch."


Newman clock
Newman Clock

Fortunately, we have obtained two such clocks! One was donated, the other purchased at a fair price, much lower than the estimate. Both clocks need to have leather cases made for them. These clocks, without their leather covers, weigh 1- pounds each!


The earlier clock is an Imhauser with a patent date of 1876. The later one, a Newman's, has a patent date of 1901. There is evidence that Old Harbor may have had both of these, as the inventory book shows receipt of paper dials for both Imhauser and Newman clocks.


Richard Ryder


Beach erosion


News from the National Seashore


  • Seashore staff are cleaning up after the February 8-9 blizzard.  There was significant ocean-side erosion; beach stairs at Marconi Beach and Nauset Light Beach were damaged and will be closed for some time.

  • Jason Taylor is the National Seashore's new Chief of Natural Resources Management, filling the position vacated by Shelley Hall.

  • Welcome to Kat McCracken, the superintendent's new secretary. Kat will be providing administrative support to the management wing at park headquarters.

  • Curator Hope Morrill retired at the end of November, and recruitment is underway to hire a new curator. The position is critical for the care of about one-half million objects in the park collection, as well as the park archives and photo collection.

  • This winter CCNS is preparing condition assessments and strategizing on future uses of the dune shacks that are currently under one-year agreements or that have management instruments set to expire in the next few years. The superintendent will engage the standing Dune Shack Subcommittee of the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission as decisions are being made. Some shacks will be leased to private individuals, and others will be under agreement to organizations offering residency programs and overnight stays by the public.

  • Work has begun on the wayside exhibits that Friends is funding for the Province Lands Bike Trail. The first two will focus on Province Lands history and dune formation and geomorphology. They will be completed this year.

  • An environmental assessment is underway for the Herring Cove Beach revetment.  The purpose is to develop a long-term plan for Herring Cove Beach revetment and parking in consultation with agencies and the community. The plan will be based upon sound coastal science and engineering practices and be responsive to shoreline change, projected sea level rise and visitor use.


Phenology Volunteer Needed


Additional plant phenophase volunteers are needed for salt marsh vegetation monitoring that is scheduled to take place on May 15 during low tide (mid-morning.) This work involves working for several hours and will be done in various salt marshes around the Seashore. 


An ability to walk short distances over uneven terrain is required. Please contact Megan_Tyrrell@nps.gov if you are interested in signing up for this unique monitoring exercise, where we will count stem density of salt marsh cordgrass.