Wellfleet Discussing Potential Land Exchange With National Seashore

WELLFLEET- The Wellfleet Select board met with Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom recently to discuss upcoming steps in a land exchange aimed at helping restore the Herring River Wetland.

Officials believe the wetland area provides many benefits to not only the Seashore, but the town, state, Cape Cod Bay, shellfish habitat, and recreation.

“We’re really exploring an equitable exchange to continue the Herring River Restoration Project and correcting over a century of ecological damage to that wetland, to the town, to the Seashore,” said Carlstrom.

“This is the latest step in a decades-long effort to try and rectify the longstanding issue that is causing so much ecological harm— both to the shellfishery, the herring fishery, and the ecological function and services provided by the wetland.”

The National Seashore is looking to acquire approximately 9.4 acres of land in Wellfleet.

“This is something that the park wants to see move forward in conjunction with the town so that we can end up with the end result of restored Herring River Wetland,” said Carlstrom. 

The select board in August of 2020 on issue to discuss land exchange need and issues.

“This is the point at which both the town and the park give each other our wish lists… the reason we’re doing it is because we’re very much wanting the project to happen equally together. Both the town and the park,” said select board member Helen Miranda Wilson.

The National Seashore does not have the authority to grant an easement or permit for the project, so it must engage in a land exchange to support restoration efforts.

The town and National Seashore must first review and confirm the extent of encroachment and discuss engaging in an equal value exchange, as well as agreeing on tracts to be exchanged prior to entering a land exchange agreement.

Once a land exchange agreement is reached, it must be passed by the select board and go through a town meeting, among other steps at the town level.

The select board did not pass or deny any motions during their discussion of the land exchange.

By Sean Ellertson, CapeCod.com NewsCenter


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