It was a celebratory occasion that had been a long time coming for the Citizen’s Committee to Save the Lake Tashmoo View, as the group is unofficially named. The self-led organization gathered at the Tashmoo Overlook on a breezy, sunny Wednesday morning to celebrate the start of the first phase of the community preservation project. The clearing of vegetation and trees began at around 9:30 a.m., all on town land that makes up a view corridor to the lake.

Citizen volunteers committed to the cause. — Megan Cerullo

“All this began as over the years I watched it go from a totally open view with nothing there to a view that was obstructed,” said Bob Woodruff, a committee member.

The overlook was established as a scenic view point in 1958, but over the years willow and maple trees have grown up, obscuring much of the vista across the saltwater lake. In 2007 an effort began to restore the view, but it became complicated because while the majority of the land running down to the lake is owned by the town, part of a wetland near the headland is privately owned. Eventually the town and private property owners reached an agreement.

In 2012 the town Community Preservation Committee, which uses money from the Community Preservation Act for historic building and open space preservation, awarded the group funds to open the view. Some of the funds were put toward a land surveyor mapping the area and designating a view corridor. Other organizations contributed too; the Vineyard Open Land Foundation produced a comprehensive report on the history of the view that included a proposal for tackling the project, all of which led to the authorized clearing of the public land.

“One of our biggest setbacks has been the misconception that we want to take someone’s private property,” said committee member Patricia Carlet. “But that was never on our agenda.” Instead, for future phases of the project, the committee will seek to obtain an easement from the town that would allow them to impose height restrictions on existing willow trees on private property on Lake Tashmoo that obstruct the view. “We hope to be able to negotiate with the private property owner about topping off the trees to open up the view entirely,” said Ms. Carlet.

Overlook was designated a scenic view point in 1958. — Megan Cerullo

Gene Bergeron, the West Tisbury landscaper who will do the bulk of the clearing work, has about a week’s worth of tree cutting and clearing on his hands. Ms. Carlet will be on site daily to supervise the project.

“This is the only view of the water you’ll get between Vineyard Haven and Menemsha that has public access,” said committee member Henry Stephenson. “We’re glad the town has agreed to do what they can to remove the vegetation that’s in the view right now.”

Ms. Carlet jumped at the opportunity to make the first cut and took a chainsaw to the branch of a tree. “This feels so good! Using a chainsaw really makes you feel powerful,” she said.

She thanked her fellow committee members for their effort and perseverance and proposed a toast to the view over mimosas.

“Thank you all for staying the course. It took seven years but here we are listing to the sound of the chainsaw. It’s music to my ears.”