November - December 2014

A message from our president




It's over! Summer is a distant memory. After a really nice fall season, we are easing in to the quiet time.There will be some spectacular days, and wonderful photo ops as the sun sets further to the south each day.


There will be easterly storms, with tumultuous seas breaking along the coast of Cape Cod National Seashore from time to time. Seashore buildings and structures that are close to the ocean are particularly prone to require frequent maintenance.


Friends will continue to be of assistance to the Seashore, as evidenced by the recent decision by the Board to assist with repainting of the Penniman House. We have committed a major amount of money to see this project to completion, hopefully in 2015. More details will be furnished via letter to all Friends members.


Also in 2015, we will again publish the Friends Magazine with particular attention to the buildings in the Seashore that have Coast Guard history.


Did you know there are two "Chatham" type buildings, one "Duluth" type, one "Roosevelt" type and one "Quonochontaug" type? The Coast Guard will celebrate 100 years as of January 28th . Prior to 1915, the facilities were U.S. Life-Saving Stations.


Thank you for your continuing support of Cape Cod National Seashore via the Friends!


Richard Ryder


Nesting diamondback terrapin. Photo by John Riehl
Science in the Seashore

More than 80 people filled the Salt Pond Visitor Center auditorium on a sunny beach day on August 28 to hear scientists discuss work done in the Cape Cod National Seashore this year. Seashore staff presented a Research Symposium that included nine presentations.


Superintendent George Price expressed his support for this important work, and Natural Resources Chief Jason Taylor introduced a film on the Atlantic Coastal and Research Center, whose work is to conduct science that will inform and help direct Park decisions and to provide educational outreach.


Presenters included Nickerson Fellowship award winner Alexis Fischer who studied factors involving germination of cysts in red tide blooms in Salt Pond. Also presenting were Dr. Barbara Brennessel on observations of diamondback terrapins in the Herring River estuary; Dr. Alyssa Novak on building resilient eelgrass populations; Dr. Alden Griffith on the invasive potential of cheat grass; Hollie Emory, also a Nickerson Fellow, on the effect of precipitation on salt marshes; and Alexis Doshas on the role of fire and soil disturbance on broom crowberry heathlands.


Dr. Jim Harmon reported on large Indian shell middens found on an archeological dig at the Baker-Biddle property. Of importance, given the partial restoration of East Harbor (Pilgrim Lake), was a study by Dr. Rachel Thiel reviewing factors in the initial improvement, then worsening, of oxygen levels in the harbor. Dr. Sophia Fox reviewed baseline water quality and bioassays in the Herring River prior to the highly anticipated Herring River Restoration Project.


Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore has sponsored the Research Symposium since its inception four years ago. Friends also participates in the selection and financial management of the Nickerson Fellowships.


In future issues of Friends eNews, we are planning a column -- "Science in the Park" -- to feature the great variety of research conducted in the Park.



Repairing the roof of the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station


State of the Seashore


Superintendent George Price concluded the "Beyond the Beach" lecture series with his annual address on the "State of the Seashore."

After a thorough review of the wide-ranging departments within CCNS, he talked about the accomplishments and events of the past year, noting that "there is no question the park is better off in the fall of 2014 than in fall 2013," when the federal government shutdown closed all park facilities. The park is back to near normal park operations in 2014, after the severe budget reductions of 2013.

The year included many severe weather events, damaging beach stairs and causing major beach erosion; the outdoor Marconi exhibit had to be demolished as it was perilously close to the beach cliff; the Herring Cove parking lot sustained damages.

Marconi stairs One of the significant historic structures in the park, the Highland Light, needs major attention due to cracking and spalling.


Lots of repairs and improvements were made in 2014 - among them, a new roof on Old Harbor Life-Saving Station; upgrading and repair of many trails throughout the park; construction of two new footbridges on the Nauset Marsh Trail and work on the Nauset bike trail; and the beginning of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan (bike accidents are the number one cause of injuries in the park.)


Price also spoke of the importance of science in the park, with more scientists at work here than any other East coast national park, except the Everglades. (See article about the annual Science Symposium.) He spoke of the challenges of balancing visitor access and shorebird/wildlife protection, the threat of climate change to the landscape and structures of the park, and the Herring River Restoration Project, which at 1100 acres is the largest salt marsh restoration in the Northeast.

The Seashore is looking to the National Park Service Centennial in 2016 with great anticipation, with many plans to spruce up the park's historic buildings, bike paths and trails. Price praised the Friends, both for its contribution to keep the Province Lands Visitor Center open in summer 2013, as well as the recently announced major contribution toward the much-needed painting of the Penniman House by 2016.


 Membership News

Friends at the Wellfleet Oyster Festival


As of last count, Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore has more than 530 active members. As the Centennial of the National Park Service approaches in 2016, we look forward to adding even more supporters to lend a hand to the Seashore.

Dues renewal letters will be sent out via email beginning in November, based on your anniversary date. You are now able to update your information online, and to pay your dues online via credit card. Please remember all the good work that Friends does for Cape Cod National Seashore each year and consider increasing the level of your membership.


Friends' members enjoyed shorebirding event at Coast Guard Beach.
Photo by Nancy Rabke

News from the National Seashore


Province Lands Road Reconstruction


Province Lands Road, between Race Point Road and the entrance to Herring Cove Beach, will be closed for reconstruction between November 1, 2014 and mid-March, 2015. Federal Highway funding is being used to repair this stretch of roadway, which is in the worst condition of all park roads.


Interpretation, Education, and Volunteerism by the Numbers


(Compiled by CCNS staff, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2014)

  • People served by the two visitor centers: 661,922
  • Curriculum-based education programs: 377 programs with 8,048 contacts
  • Ranger-guided walks, talks, campfires, and canoe trips: 783 programs with 13,492 contacts
  • People who climbed Highland Light and Nauset Light: 33,589
  • Payomet Performing Arts Center: 66 performances to 12,772 attendees
  • Volunteers: 764 volunteers donated 44,734 hours (includes 38 FCCNS volunteers contributing 1,948 hours)

Cape Cod Rangers Move into New Program Areas

This year park interpreters charted new territory related to social and digital media. Seasonal Interpreter Liam Carey-Rand developed three short videos that were posted to the CCNS's Facebook page.Two were atmospheric pieces and the third was a short video featuring horseshoe crab molts.


North District Interpreter Jody Anastasio experimented with a crowd-sourced ranger hike this fall in which a Facebook poll determined the hike's location and topics.

Recently, Jody premiered a new program, "A Musical Journey," that focused on the confluence of music and nature.



As the National Park Service (NPS) heads into its second century in 2016, this kind of new thinking, as well as our tried-and-true traditional programs, is needed to be relevant to all our audiences.


Centennial Campaign

Later this fall the NPS will be rolling out its 2016 Centennial campaign. One of CCNS's priorities is to spruce up key park facilities. We have funding to rehabilitate both visitor center amphitheaters in 2015, and we are undertaking development of a master sign plan in 2015 to update some park signage in 2016.


Entrance Fee Increase Proposed

 Superintendent George Price is proposing an increase to the park's beach entrance fee. The daily vehicle fee would increase from $15 to $20 per vehicle. The per person daily fee would increase from $3 to $10. The last increase was in 2007.

 A 45-day public input period on the increase extends from October 27 to December 6, 2014. Most of the park remains free to all visitors.