September - October 2013

A message from our new president




What a season this has been, and it is continuing throughout the fall!

Having experienced traveling to Old Harbor Station at Race Point twice a week for the past 10 years, I must say that this has been the busiest summer, at least for the Race Point parking lot!
The Park Service electronic sign board showed Marconi, Coast Guard, and Nauset Light beaches full most beach days as well. My theory is that because the New Jersey beaches were so hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, folks have decided to come to Cape Cod instead.


Distribution of of our Friends magazine has been going along nicely, thanks to Glenn Ritt, Dick Spokes, and other volunteers. Vacationers and locals eagerly scoop the copies up as soon as they are put out. We are gaining new members weekly!


Attendance at Friends sponsored events has been gratifying, as have been the kind words expressed to us by many folks who appreciate our help in keeping the Province Lands Visitor Center open.


Hope you can get out and enjoy the best season yet to come on the Cape - Fall!


Richard Ryder


Seal crowds
Seal education volunteers engage visitors near Head of the Meadow in Truro.


The 2013 Seal Scene


This year has been a banner seal-viewing year for park visitors and our Outer Cape neighbors. Similar to past years, as many as 500 gray seals have been hauling out at low tide to rest on sandbars. This year there is a very long bar that begins onshore at Head of the Meadow Beach and extends northward, creating stellar views from both the bar and from shore.


The 18 intrepid members of the National Seashore's Seal Education Team (among them four current and two former FCCNS board members) have been put through their paces this season, for sure!


After crossing a shallow channel at low tide to reach the bar (of course, being careful not to drench the park radio that is their lifeline for help), the volunteers walk to the end, where they create an effective friendly barrier between interested visitors and the seals, ensuring compliance with viewing guidelines of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.


The volunteers are armed with binoculars, seal and shark jaw models, photographs, and lots of great natural history information, which they share with very appreciative visitors.


In addition, two volunteers led guided walks twice a week in July and August from High Head to the haul out. Another important function of the team is to report injured or dead seals to authorities.


While there have been a few disturbance incidents involving motorized and non-motorized boats, paddle boards, low-flying planes, and dogs off-leash, overall the experience has been rewarding for all. As long as we don't have any early fall hurricanes or tropical storms that cause sandbar shifts, seals should continue to haul out in September and into October.


Sue Moynihan, NPS




Cranberry bog

Fall Member Appreciation Event on October 17

Experience the autumn beauty of wild cranberry bogs and learn about the history of the Province Lands with North District Interpreter Jody Anastasio. This event is open to members at the Navigator level and above.


Participants will meet at Province Lands Visitor Center on Thursday, October 17 at 1:00 p.m. for an easy hike of approximately 90 minutes. Bring a bag, as the berries will be ripe and ready to pick! After the walk, join Cape Cod lifesaving historian and Friends board president Dick Ryder at the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station for a close up look at another fascinating piece of Cape Cod history.


To register for this event, email us at or call (508) 957-0729.


October 17, 1:00 p.m.

Meet at Province Lands Visitor Center






National Public Lands Day 2013


Join other Friends membersin participating in this year's National Public Lands Day project. We will work at the Doane Rock picnic area in Eastham, where the Seashore has recently installed two covered picnic areas. Work projects include installing water bars and doing some trail trimming in the area. Materials have been ordered by the Park; just bring your own work gloves.


Please email if you are interested in joining in on the fun!


Monday, September 30, 9:00 a.m. to Noon






Cape Cod National Seashore provides important habitats for migratory birds


Most Cape residents and visitors realize the importance of Cape Cod National Seashore beaches to nesting shorebirds like piping plovers and least terns. Seashore ecosystems, with their relatively high levels of intactness, also provide critical habitats for many species of birds before and during migration. Migratory birds visiting Cape Cod commonly travel along the Atlantic Flyway between breeding and wintering grounds -- for some species this is as far north as the Arctic and as far south as the Antarctic!


Cape Cod's array of habitats and geographic position (being at mid-latitudes and jutting into the Atlantic) make the national seashore a prime "staging" (resting and feeding) area for many migratory birds. Further, its diversity of ecosystems makes Cape Cod National Seashore a great place to watch many species of birds during migration. Prime viewing locations include Fort Hill, Nauset Marsh, Pilgrim Heights, and Hatches Harbor.


An example of an extraordinary annual migration event can be viewed in mid- to late-summer, when flocks of thousands of terns congregate on national seashore beaches and tidal flats prior to making their 4,500 mile migration to South America. Most are common terns, a species of special concern in Massachusetts, but many are roseate terns, a federally endangered species. Researchers estimate that 75% or more of the entire North American breeding population of roseate terns rest and feed on seashore beaches and mudflats during migration. These flocks of terns spend several weeks building the body mass and fat reserves needed to fuel their long migration.


Walking national seashore beaches in late summer and fall provides an opportunity to witness this amazing event. Watch from a distance and follow directional signage where posted to help reduce disturbance, allowing these birds to preserve precious energy needed for their marathon migration.


Mary Hake, Shorebird Program Lead

Jason Taylor, Chief of Natural Resources



red maple swamp boardwalk
Road and trail crews recently helped repair the Red Cedar Swamp boardwalk spur


News from the National Seashore


Province Lands Visitor Center will now remain open through October!

While the 2014 National Park Service budget remains uncertain, Cape Cod National Seashore managers have committed the funds necessary to staff the PLVC. In 2012 approximately 30,000 visited the center in October.

The second half of the project to rehabilitate the Nauset Bike Trail will commence after Columbus Day. The first segment, from the Doane Area to Coast Guard Beach, was rehabilitated last spring. The remaining portion of the trail, from Salt Pond to the Doane Area will be the focus of the upcoming work. Check at SPVC for updates.

The NEED Program at the Eastham Coast Guard Station will close on October 6, 2013 for interior rehabilitation and to determine how to best utilize the building in the future. The park has hosted two focus groups to discuss potential future uses, and will host a third meeting in October.


The Roads and Trails crew recently did some work on the Red Maple Swamp boardwalk spur (accessed from lower Fort Hill parking area) in order to get the spur open again, clearing some trees and stabilizing the support structure. The main boardwalk that is accessed from Hemenway Landing remains closed due to serious structural damage.