Repair Plans For Nauset Light Beach Stairs Revealed



EASTHAM – The stairs at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham will be replaced for the fourth straight year.

Cape Cod National Seashore staff discussed the short-term and future plans for the beach with the public at an informational meeting Thursday afternoon at the Salt Pond Visitor Center.

The stairs were destroyed by winter erosion which saw 10 feet taken from the bluff which continues to retreat at a faster than normal pace as 18 feet were lost the winter before.

The stairs will not be ready for Memorial Day weekend and Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price hopes the stairs will be finished before the 4th of July.

“Once we actually get everything in place we believe it will move forward very quickly and, frankly, that was the similar timeline to the last two years,” he said. “Bottom line is we are moving forward with another set of temporary stairs for the coming season.”

Price said the National Seashore will also move forward with time and money to investigate a replacement stair program at Nauset Light Beach.

“It’s about a 60-foot bluff so it’s pretty intense and with the type of construction you need to have in order to have safe access you need to have a landing partway down,” Price said. “It makes it a little more complicated than people think it is sometimes.”

Along with the stairs the erosion is causing issues with the bath house. Price said this will be the last season for the structure which will need to be destroyed.

“The actual septic tank is only 10 feet from the bluff at this point,” Price said. “For probably two seasons we are going to have to go with some sort of temporary restroom facilities.”

The beach is tentatively scheduled for the National Park Service to construct a new facility in 2019. Price said the facility will probably be smaller than the current bath house and will be closer to the other end of the parking lot near Ocean View Drive.

Engineers will also look at the stability of the parking lot.

“What we are actually observing both at Nauset Light Beach and at Herring Cove Beach is really the effects of nature over time and we’re specifically witnessing sea level rise and the changes in the climate,” Price said. “We are going through an accelerated period of energy right now.”

Nasuet Light Beach usually sees about three feet of erosion to the bluff each year and that figure has drastically increased of the last few years. Coastal geologists have described the area as a “hot spot” of wave activity.

“There doesn’t seem to be sand bars setting up right off the beach and therefore a lot of the energy from the wave action is coming right to the base of the bluff which is causing all of this erosion,” Price said. “Ironically, just a little bit to the south is Coast Guard Beach and a little bit to the north is Marconi Beach and neither one of those beaches is getting the same intensity of energy.”


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