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Reauthorized Cape Cod National Seashore Federal Advisory Commission holds first meeting

The Cape Cod National Seashore Federal Advisory Commission met for the first time in more than five years on April 8, 2024 at the Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. While the official charge of the Advisory Commission is to consult with the Secretary of the Interior on matters relating to the development of the Cape Cod National Seashore, including matters of acquisition by condemnation and zoning regulations, it also serves as a liaison between the Seashore administration, the towns within its borders, and the community at large.

The Cape Cod National Seashore, created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, encompasses more than 40,000 acres of seashore, woods, and ponds within the towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. Unlike many other national parks that are established in more remote areas, the Cape Cod National Seashore has a unique relationship with the towns and people that live, work, and play within its borders.

The Advisory Commission is comprised of sixteen members, nominated by the community and appointed by the United States Secretary of the Interior. It includes representatives from each of the six Cape Cod towns that encompass the Seashore, representatives from Barnstable County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and alternate members. Cape Cod Commission Natural Resources Manager Heather McElroy has been appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and serves as an alternate to the Chair, a role filled by Center for Coastal Studies President and CEO Rich Delaney.

During the Advisory Commission’s first meeting, members and attendees expressed that they were pleased with the Federal Government’s decision to re-authorize the committee and see it as an opportunity to improve communication between the towns and the seashore. The group discussed key priorities, including water supply protection and development, water quality, climate change, housing, land use, and zoning.

The Advisory Commission plans to hold monthly meetings beginning in July 2024.

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