Oversand vehicle trails on Chappaquiddick have been partly reopened after a weekend of closures to protect nesting piping plovers, the Trustees of Reservations announced.

“As promised we are reopening as soon as possible while still following state guidelines,” a Facebook post said Monday.

As of 2 p.m. on July 5, the southbound trail from the Dike Bridge to the Chappy side of Wasque had reopened.

“Our ecology staff reports that the broods that necessitated the restrictions have moved and show no sign of returning to our inside vehicle trails,” the Facebook post said.

All trails to Cape Pogue remain closed.
The complete closures to protect nesting piping plovers were announced by the Trustees last week.

East Beach and Leland Beach remain open to pedestrians, with parking available at the Dike Bridge and at Wasque Reservation. About 1.5 miles of beach remains open at Norton Point. The Trustees have canceled their lighthouse tours for the time being.

Speaking to the Gazette by phone last week, Trustees Islands manager Sam Hart said there were 26 pairs of plovers nesting this year on Chappaquiddick.

“We’re having a record-breaking year,” Mr. Hart said, noting the presence of nesting plovers at Wasque, Leland Beach and Cape Pogue. Two pairs are nesting right near the Dike Bridge, he said, forcing the need for a complete closure of trails due to the location of the nests. The birds are expected to hatch in the next day or two, Mr. Hart also said, meaning trails could be partly reopened soon depending on where the birds decide to feed. “We’re going to wait and see where they move,” he said.

The closures have caused a stir among some fishermen and beach users who formed a Facebook group to air comments.

Over the weekend the Trustees posted a statement on Facebook that appeared to respond to the concerns.

“We love that this community is passionate about accessing the Island’s incredible beaches and we also understand the disappointment that occurs when those beaches must be temporarily closed,” the statement said. “To that end, we thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts on the recent beach closures. The decision to close some areas of Cape Pogue was not arrived at lightly or without careful consideration, as finding the most appropriate balance between conservation and public access is at the heart of our mission and a responsibility we take extremely seriously.”

Over the holiday weekend, the Trustees also allowed Cape Pogue oversand permit holders use Norton Point on the Edgartown side, which normally requires a separate sticker.