From the Vineyard Gazette edition of June 1971:
Nineteen per cent of the approximately 42 miles of sand beach on the Vineyard are open without exception to the general public. By any ordinary standard it would seem that 19 per cent — almost a fifth — was an extremely generous proportion.
Suppose 19 per cent of the Atlantic coast of the United States should be opened without exception to the use of the general public. Would that not solve overnight the pressure for access to ocean, bays and sounds? With population and demand increasing so rapidly and in such volume and pressure, would it not be a wise policy to recapture in the public interest great stretches of now defaced misused mainland shoreline?
The real value of Vineyard beaches is their relative privacy. How much privacy will be left on a summer day in, say, 1990 if the controlling factor must be the requirements of 75,000 people?
The unfilled want of many visitors last summer was not for access to “public” beach but for access to “private” beach in natural, undisturbed surroundings. But it takes no great number of human beings to transform “private” into “public,” and what so many people want inevitably vanishes through their mere possessing of it.
For the present, the Vineyard being what it is, beaches accessible to the public still have what in urban mainland terms must be considered a lot of privacy. It’s the future that alarms.
Chilmark will soon have a new town beach at a cost to the town of only $1. It took only three minutes on the part of town voters to authorize the selectman to pursue the matter of signing a lease giving the town jurisdiction over about one-third of the 60-acre estate of the late Mrs. Myron B. Vincent. The beach, which will be called the Lucinda Vincent Memorial Beach, is part of a 22-acre parcel of land, with a 2,500-foot ocean frontage, which will be purchased by the Chilmark Town Association — formerly the Chilmark Community Fund Inc. — for $450, 000.
Thirty-three years of effort by the townspeople of Oak Bluffs came to fruition on Tuesday, with the acceptance of the third phase of the harbor bulkhead project by the board of selectmen. The $600,000 project began in 1948 when the town voted to construct a bulkhead within the harbor. The town now possesses a harbor with accommodations for over 100 craft, in comparison to about 25 boats that could use the moorings and piers before this project was started.
It looked like the Lavender Hill Mob on Circuit avenue last Friday afternoon. Merchants and customers rushed out of upper Circuit avenue stores as the burglar alarm at the Oak Bluffs bank went off. Greeting the eyes of alarmed citizenry was the sight of Harold S. Johnson and James Noble, bank employees, leaving the bank with sacks of money, followed by Chief Peter M. Williamson.
Chief Williamson was not pursuing the men, just guarding the loot as the money was being moved to the Tisbury bank. The vault at the Oak Bluffs bank was being moved, and electrician James H. Gibson, getting the all clear signal that the electricity had been disconnected, triggered the alarm system, forgetting that the safety feature of the system, namely batteries, would still sound an alarm.
Navy anti-submarine aircraft from the deck of the USS Wasp, while on a routine training operation on Tuesday, dropped four depth charges into Vineyard Sound, seven miles southwest of Noman’s Land. They did not explode. Although the explosives, according to the Navy, turned out to be nonexplosive, precautionary measures have been taken. So the explosives, which lie in 120 feet of water, will become just another spot, joining others which date as far back as World War II, on a mariners’ chart designating it as a place to approach with caution.
In this time of pressures that threaten to be crashing, of traffic beyond the capacity of boats or streets or roads, of crowded inns, houses, harbors and beaches, a trailer park invites an exaggeration of every phase of congestion, of every problem of which all-year Vineyarders and visitors alike are complaining. The effect upon traffic is the most appalling example. A trailer park is inevitably a large scale operation; to make a profit, it must be kept full. Has anyone estimated the probable turnover of trailer-visitors during a summer season? When the bad news is brought home to all of us, the hour will be too late.
Old economic law still prevails; the cheap drives out the good. Elements which are now the foundation of the economic well-being of the Vineyard will be driven out by the large scale enterprise which the proposed new trailer park represents.
Martha’s Vineyard has no obligation to provide a trailer park. It will gain nothing but will suffer gravely and without end if trailer parks are established here.
--Compiled by Alison L. Mead