Two more Chappaquiddick Community Center potlucks are scheduled and we need hosts for both. Call Lynn at 508-627-8222 to volunteer. It’s really a pleasant way to participate in a quarter-century-old tradition on Chappy. All you have to do is throw together some appetizers and liquid refreshments. You get the honor of ringing the dinner bell at 6:30. Several folks always stay to help clean up at the end. The rest of us will show up by 6 p.m. with a dish to serve at least six. We’ll shower you with thank-yous and your name will be a household word for at least the remainder of the evening. Sounds too easy to be true, but it is. Next potlucks are on the calendar for Wednesday, May 17 and Wednesday June 7. Hosting the CCC potluck always looks good on your resume.

Don’t forget about the household hazard waste collection coming up on Saturday, May 20 at the Edgartown transfer station from 9 a.m. to noon. Google their website for further information. The next one is on Saturday, July 15 if you can’t get to this one.

The Chappy ferry starts running on the summer schedule on Thursday, May 25. That means that, weather permitting, the ferry operates continuously from 6:45 a.m. until midnight. No more shut-downs in the evenings. People still seem to show up in sync with the winter hours. So spread out a little so the extra time the ferry captain spends down there will be worthwhile. The amount of weekday evening traffic doesn’t increase until schools get out and the seasonal folks begin arriving.

This time of year the ferryboat On Time 2 goes into service when it gets busy. Usually that boat can carry only two vehicles at a time. Here’s a helpful tip that can help move things along: on the Chappy side, leave yourself room enough to see around big vehicles or trailers just in case there is room for you when the ferry can’t fit the next vehicle at the front of the waiting line. Watch to see if we wave you around. This is especially likely to happen if you have a short car or truck. This applies only on the Chappy side. There isn’t sufficient room on the Edgartown side to safely pass.

Chris Bruno has been an integral part of the Chappaquiddick branch of The Trustees of Reservations for several years. He has also been a valued participant in Chappy life. I first met Chris at a prescribed burn in the state forest. The state had been looking to replace the late superintendent John Varkonda and they were lucky enough to find Chris capable and willing to take over the responsibility of watching over 5,343 acres of forest. Officially known as the Manual F. Correllus state forest, the preserve was created more than a century ago in an effort to save the heath hen. The plan seemed successful at first, increasing the population from a low of 70 to a high of 2,000. Then other factors reduced the numbers to a dozen and in just one year all but the sole survivor, a male called Booming Ben, perished. He is long gone too.

The only evidence of the heath hen now is a bronze statue commemorating the last time the bird was seen in 1932. The first time that you come upon the statue it is quite startling. It’s any easy walk of five to 10 minutes along the bike path from either gate 18 or 19 on the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. Chris is now responsible for the whole place. He has already endeared himself to the horseback riders who enjoy the state forest trails by mowing and cutting back brush on the ever-narrowing paths. He’s the right guy for the job. Chappy’s loss is the Vineyard’s gain. Chris wants to encourage folks to visit the forest. There are miles and miles of bike paths, fire lanes and trails. The website is very informative. You can print out the trail map which shows the location of the heath hen statue.

Reports are that the beach route to town is in very good condition at the moment. The recent dry southerly breezes have been nourishing the beach and dunes with wind-blown sand. You can purchase over-sand-vehicle permits online from the TTOR website. Hard to believe that there are fewer than eight weeks until the Fourth of July.

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