Chatham and Orleans Officials to Discuss Nauset Beach Oversand Management

CHATHAM – Officials from Chatham and Orleans are expected to meet later this month to review the summer season at Nauset Beach and discuss its future management.

Chatham’s Director of Natural Resources Robert Duncanson, while providing a beach review for Selectmen recently, said topics that will be discussed between the communities include the management of piping plovers while keeping access to the beach open, along with what defines a self-contained vehicle, and whether or not chase vehicles should be allowed to stay on the beach overnight.

“Right now a non-self-contained vehicle is supposed to be off the beach between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are actively fishing,” Duncanson said. “And there has always been discussion about what actively fishing means.”

Chatham’s definition of actively fishing is that poles have to be out on the beach with a line in the water and an individual actively tending to them.

Duncanson said there different on the issue of chase vehicles spending the night.

One issue with making people drive cars off the beach at night is that it increases the chances of putting drivers on the road who are under the influence of alcohol.

Duncanson also said the towns will have to decide on what constitutes a self-contained vehicle.

“Right now a self-contained vehicle has always been considered a camper-type vehicle,” Duncanson said. “The definition is kind of amorphous. It just says that it has to have a permanently installed toilette facility and a permanently installed bed.”

Duncanson said issues have come up in both towns as technology has allowed large pickup trucks to install toilettes, beds and camper tops.

The meeting is scheduled for October 22.

Duncanson also gave an update to Selectmen on the number of oversand permits sold in 2018 through the end of August. Sales were lower than in 2017 but a $20 increase in cost for the permits for Chatham residents led to higher revenues. Premit sales were in the upper 400s this year compared to more than 500 last year.

There were also about two dozen patrols of the beach since August 17. The patrols are normally conducted on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Duncanson said warnings had been issued for chase vehicles, open fires, loose dogs and speeding.

“Orleans has had similar issues with speeding as well,” he said.

The town has not issued any formal violations yet.

Duncanson said offenses are usually issues warnings before $50 and $100 fines are issued.

“Most people we have given warnings to have gotten the message and have been compliant if we see them back there again,” Duncanson said.

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