Observing nature and geology are lifelong interests and passions of mine, and some of the reasons I fell in love with this beautiful Island, like so many other people who choose to live in Chilmark. My family and I have looked out over Squibnocket Beach for 30 years. I have journaled nature, the unfolding seasons and the surroundings for many of those years, and have an intimate relationship with the changing landscape. It is my hope that on April 28, Chilmark voters turn down the current proposal for the Squibnocket Beach parking lot and bridge and vote to reconsider more long-lasting alternatives.
At the final public hearing for this proposal, the attorney for the Squibnocket Homeowners Association stated that they had been meeting with the selectmen for 22 months — almost two years. The first open public hearing which was not held behind closed doors, and where public input was possible, was this past December — only four months ago. Members of the community raised many issues based on their concerns, ranging from current science about climate change, to sea level rise, and conservation. Those concerns and many others were dismissed.
As I stated at several of the public hearings, constructing a 50-car parking lot and a two-lane bridge on a fragile barrier beach will further damage this delicate area and greatly accelerate the natural erosion process, leading to further collapse of the dunes, a permanent breach into the pond, and the premature disappearance of the beach.
There are alternatives that will better serve the long-term interests of the town and protect the environment and the beach we love so much.