Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge is closed to oversand vehicles to protect nesting piping plover chicks, The Trustees of Reservations announced Monday.
The closure runs from the Dike Bridge to the Cape Pogue Gut on both the ocean and pond sides. Two plover chicks have been wandering between the outside beach to the inside trails to feed just north of the bridge, Chris Kennedy, Vineyard superintendent for the Trustees, said in an email. The chicks are expected to fledge in the next two weeks, after which the Jeep trails will be opened again, Mr. Kennedy said.
Oversand vehicles still have access to all of Leland Beach, Wasque Point and Norton Point Beach. Permits are required to drive on the beach.
The Trustees operate a 24-hour recorded beach hotline at 508-627-8390 with up-to-date information about beach closures.
Plovers are a protected species under state and federal law. The tiny migratory shorebirds make their nests in scrapes in the sand on exposed barrier beaches around the Island. The chicks are born precocious and feed themselves immediately but do not fly for a few weeks and are vulnerable to oversand vehicles.
The closure only applies to vehicles; East Beach remains open to beachgoers on foot.