Legislation Moving Forward to Reauthorize National Seashore Advisory Committee

WELLFLEET – Legislation that would reauthorize the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission for another decade is moving forward through Congress.

A House bill sponsored by Congressman William Keating has moved from the Committee on Natural Resources to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

A similar bill was also be filed by U.S. Senator Ed Markey.

Legislation that authorized the commission for the last 10 years expired on September 26.

Advisory Commission Chairman Richard Delaney said getting the legislation passed is the key step before the group can schedule another meeting.

“We are hoping that they will move quickly,” Delaney said.

“They were both filed early in the session. That is good news.”

The commission, which represents the towns, county and state, advises the superintendent and the federal government on how to best manage the park.

The commission was created at the time of the formation of the Cape Cod National Seashore by the National Park Service as there was resistance from Cape Cod towns. The commission is made up of one representative from each of the six towns, two representatives from the state and two representing Barnstable County.

“We are hopeful and encouraged, and we are thankful that both our Senator and our Congressman moved quickly,” Delaney said.

It has been a rough few years for the advisory commission, which normally meets six times every year.

The commission was suspended and placed under review in the spring of 2017 by the Trump Administration and has since only been able to meet twice.

The first meeting in June came after a 15-month hiatus. The second meeting was in late September just days before the legislation authorizing the commission expired.

All of the National Park Service advisory commissions were banned from meeting in the spring of 2017 for review. The National Seashore Advisory Committee remains one of just three out of more than 200 similar commissions which have not been fully reinstated by the Department of the Interior.

The Boston Harbor Islands National Park Advisory Committee has also not been fully reinstated.

“We need to get over that hurdle and have the Congress say we are authorized,” Delaney said. “Then we’ll go back to working with the Department of the Interior about specific scheduling times.”

The commission is the oldest, continuously operating advisory commission of any National Park or Department of the Interior project in the nation.

“It really was a mechanism that I think turned a fair amount of opposition to the creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore into genuine support,” Delaney said.

The commission has met 381 over 50-plus years.

Delaney said the commission has helped resolve issues with jet skis, dune shacks and off-road vehicles.

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