Beach fires will be returning to the Cape Cod National Seashore this summer, according to park Supt. Brian Carlstrom.
“We anticipate standing up our fire permits program again this year for small groups, consistent with the CDC’s and state’s gathering limitations,” said Carlstrom. “Permits for driving oversand will be available starting April 10, with parts of the driving corridor open on April 15.”
Oversand permits were available last season, but beach fire permits were suspended for all of 2020 due to Covid. They were also suspended for much of 2019 due to the EEE virus, a mosquito-borne illness that is relatively rare but highly lethal.
“We’re going to be streamlining the entire fire permitting system this year,” said Carlstrom. “It will all be on the website.”
A new bathhouse complex at Nauset Beach is also under construction, said Carlstrom, and a large restoration project at Highland Light is underway.
Staffing at the Seashore is still below 2019 levels, because shared housing facilities for park staff can’t be occupied at normal density levels. Still, “We’re going to have closer to a normal staffing situation this year than we did last summer,” said Carlstrom.
Lifeguards will also return to Herring Cove Beach and Head of the Meadow Beach this year, and parking fee collection will resume at all six beaches.
“We’re also asking people to set up 12 feet away from the next group on the beach,” Carlstrom said. That distance allows someone to pass between two seated groups on the beach, while still being six feet away from each group. —Paul Benson