Recent Storms Took A Toll on Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches

Recent storms have exacted a costly toll at Cape Cod National Seashore, where pounding surf and high tides have swept away some stairs that lead down to beaches. This photo was taken at Marconi Beach. NPS photo.

While recent storms pounded Mid-Atlantic states and New England with heavy snows, they also pummeled the beaches of Cape Cod National Seashore.

Seashore Superintendent George Price says damage estimates could swell to $500,000. For instance, he says at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham and Marconi Beach in Wellfleet the stairs to the beaches are gone. Bluffs at these beaches are very steep and visitors are being restricted from these areas.

Sand slumping off in large sections also is a serious safety issue for visitors standing at the edge or attempting to climb down the front of the dune, the seashore notes. At Coast Guard Beach in Eastham there is a significant drop from the edge of the walkway to the beach. The bike bridge that crosses Nauset Marsh near Coast Guard beach in Eastham also was inundated. It has been closed because it is structurally unsafe. Damages to these facilities are estimated at $150,000 to $500,000.

“Wind-generated high waves, compounded by astronomical high tides over several days have caused repetitive and cumulative damage to these important visitor access facilities,” Superintendent Price said. “We’re asking visitors to stay back from the edges of bluffs because they are very unstable and could collapse at any time without warning.”

Park staff are evaluating the damage so cost estimates can be developed and storm repair funds can be requested. The time-frame for replacing the beach access stairs is anticipated to be 2-1/2 months.