Beach Crossover Clarification
During the selectboard discussion about the Duxbury Beach crossover openings on Monday night (July 24), Town Manager, Rene Read made several statements that resulted in confusion about recent events and the actions of DBR, the Town and MA Wildlife.
DBR wishes to clarify the information so that residents can be correctly informed about the current situation and path forward.
On July 5, the Mass Wildlife Division requested a meeting with the town of Duxbury and Duxbury Beach Reservation (DBR), saying they were “highly concerned about the number of incidents occurring on Duxbury Beach” and wanted to ensure that “DBR is compliant with its permit to keep the beach open to recreational vehicles this year”.
Mass Wildlife said it had received 17 recent Duxbury Beach incident reports from the town, ranging from vandalism and monitor harassment to speeding concerns and four protected species birds run over by vehicles. Those reports followed three months of enforcement reports from the town that reflected a high number of parking tickets being issued, but very few additional enforcement warnings or citations.
At the July 10 meeting, the town told Mass Wildlife that the Beach Operations Department was not authorized to enforce several Duxbury Beach regulations (which the state requires to be upheld), and the Police Department did not have the manpower to cover the beach. Upon hearing this, the state “froze” recreational vehicles south of Powder Point Bridge until the town could create an enforcement plan that addressed the lack of enforcement required by the state permit (which allows Duxbury Beach Reservation property to be open to recreational vehicles).
Mass Wildlife asked DBR (as the permit holder) to review the town’s plan prior to submission, as DBR is familiar with state requirements, and to make any required revisions. The town inquired as to whether DBR review was required and if the town could communicate directly with the state. Mass Wildlife confirmed that DBR’s edits were required, and if the town submitted without addressing the issues, it would delay the state review and approval process and the plan would need to be resubmitted. Mass Wildlife reaffirmed its position that because DBR is the permit holder, all permit information must go through DBR.
Nonetheless, on July 20, contrary to the state’s instruction, the town submitted its plan directly to the state, before DBR could edit as instructed by the state, cc’ing DBR on the submission.
On July 24, DBR sent the plan back to the Town with suggested edits based on historical permit requirements. The Town then inquired with the state to confirm DBR comments and edits were necessary at which time the state informed the Town that the Town plan draft was “inadequate”, instructing the town to address the details in DBR’s comments and edits.
As of July 26th, DBR submitted the Town’s revised enforcement plan to MassWildlife. DBR now awaits for their review and response.
In the meantime, we are waiting for listed species buffers to not overlap with crossovers in order to reopen the beach to vehicular traffic. Currently, no crossovers can be opened. Please note, the birds do not need to be fledged (capable of flight) for the crossovers to be opened. The listed species don’t need to fly away for the public to have crossover access; rather, the birds need to be outside the required setbacks.
Meanwhile, each bird family (brood) is being tracked and mapped, and setback distances are measured hourly every day. If a bird is preventing a crossover from opening — if it flies or moves out of the setbacks — DBR will know and communicate it to the town immediately.
If you have questions, please contact DBR at email@example.com, on our Facebook or Instagram pages.