by Ellen Botello
Summer officially begins on June 21 but for people like me who love driving out on Sandy Neck for a day of sun, sand, cookouts, and bonfires, it’s all put on hold because of a bird’s nest… the nest of one Piping Plover.
This will be the first time in many years the entire ORV (off road vehicle) area of Sandy Neck Beach Park will be closed from June 8, 2013 until mid-July due to the safety of a few birds and their chicks.
In the past, the plovers have nested midway down the beach and there was still access for day trippers and campers, but this year a ‘one and only’ nest is located right at the beginning of the beach, making access for ORV’s impossible.
It’s changing people’s summer plans.
It’s not only Sandy Neck, beaches from New York to Maine, wherever Plover nest are located, are also subject to closings.
As disappointing as this is, it’s even more frustrating that we have already paid $80 for an ORV beach sticker and cannot use the sticker for a big part of the summer. Also, we are being denied a partial refund, all because of one measly Piping Plover nest.
I contacted the Sandy Neck Gatehouse and was told the town of Barnstable would be the ones to ask about a partial refund. When I contacted the Town’s Natural Resource office, I was initially told to contact the SN Gatehouse again… but after a brief time on hold, I was told no refunds would be given as it’s clearly spelled out in the Rules and Regulations.
Okay, I can accept that but maybe there should be a new regulation stating that partial refunds will be given for the time period we are unable to access the beach.
Piping Plovers don’t pay taxes to the Town of Barnstable, we as residents do. Which is why they should make this change instead of pocketing our full sticker fee for partial access.
Apparently Sandy Neck spends approximately $92,000 annually to manage the Plovers along with other bird species. I guess that’s where my partial refund is going…the Plover Ville budget. As I’ve also learned that the Sandy Neck park staff will remain on duty despite the closure… I was told it was to protect the birds. Are beach ORV stickers paying for this?
I have some additional questions:
I understand the Piping Plover is on an endangered “watch list” but how many more summers do we all have to put up with and pay for protecting this bird?
What does the Piping Plover actually do for our community? All I’ve ever seen them do is run around the beach and get in the way. I can’t even tell a Plover from a Sandpiper… they look the same to me.
Did you know that plovers are actually a delicacy in other countries? Hence the phrase, “Plovers taste like chicken…”
Anyone have any good Plover recipes? Feel free to post them below in the comment section…
Although I personally have no desire to try one, anyone with a good recipe needs to beware… If you’re actually caught with a Piping Plover, it’ll cost you $25,000!
Who wants to pay so much for a crummy little bird that just tastes like chicken?
It must be nice to be a Piping Plover on Sandy Neck for the summer of 2013 enjoying the whole beach to themselves…
On the other hand, I and many others… tax paying families and tourists who support the region will be waiting for the big day when we are all set free from Plover Ville and allowed back on our beach.
I’ll be back soon Sandy Neck… I hope!
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