A legal effort by two Chappaquiddick landowners to block oversand vehicle (OSV) access to the tip of Cape Pogue for the 2022 season has been denied by a Massachusetts Land Court justice.

In a nine-page order issued Friday, the Hon. Howard P. Speicher said there was no evidence to show that the Trustees of Reservations had exceeded its long-held right of access to an unpaved track in the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge that cuts across two parcels owned by Victor and Dawn Roberto Bruno Colantonio.

Moreover, the judge said, the Colantonios had not made a sufficient case that continuing to allow OSV traffic across their land would cause them or their property immediate and irreparable harm.

The decision came in a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the Colantonios, who own two four-acre parcels at the far northern tip of Chappaquiddick in the sparsely inhabited, 400-acre Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge, most of which is owned by the Trustees.

Despite the early setback, Denise Chicoine, a partner at Englander and Chicoine in Boston who is representing the Colantonios, said the plaintiffs will continue to press ahead with the case in land court.

“Absolutely, yes. This was just the first step in the larger effort to address the mismanagement of Cape Pogue by the Trustees,” Ms. Chicoine told the Gazette by phone Monday.

“It has nothing to do at all with cutting off [OSV use] . . . it’s about the overarching issue of seeking balance in reasonable use,” she continued, describing what said was a “sincere effort to work with all the stakeholders for the best outcome. But one of the pieces of information we don’t have is the number of vehicles [that travel on the oversand trails at Cape Pogue]. We think the number is in the high thousands.”

In an email to the Gazette Tuesday, Trustees attorney Dylan Sanders, with Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak and Cohen, acknowledged the status of the case.

“As the court the held, the private landowners did not demonstrate that the Trustees have exceeded their rights by allowing the public to use the common right of way to access the Cape Pogue Wildlife Reserve, as the public has been doing since at least 1959,” Mr. Sanders wrote. “The Trustees look forward to working with all stakeholders, including neighbors, the town of Edgartown, and interested members of the public alike, in addressing issues of common concern regarding the management of this unique resource. Plaintiffs’ lawsuit may move forward, but these are issues that would benefit more from broad public discussion rather than litigation.”

The Colantonios originally sought to stop the Trustees from selling all OSV permits on Cape Pogue, claiming the traffic constituted a nuisance and overburdened the right of way that they share with the Trustees. They later clarified their motion, asking that OSV traffic be barred for a five-mile stretch crossing their property near the Cape Pogue Lighthouse.

Rachel Self and William Gazaille, who identified themselves as the only full-time residents of Cape Pogue, provided affidavits in support of the Colantonios’ motion, contending that the Trustees have done a poor job of monitoring OSV traffic and have not been responsive to residents’ concerns over the course of years.

Judge Speicher noted that the “real thrust” of the landowners’ complaint “appears to be their concern that the Trustees are mismanaging the wildlife refuge in general and have ‘destroyed the natural beauty, tranquility, wildlife habitat, vegetation, and dunes of Cape Pogue.’

“This is a legitimate concern if true,” Judge Speicher continued, “but is not one that is addressed to the alleged overburdening of the right of way.”

In his ruling, Judge Speicher noted that the right of way at issue was originally established in 1891 and passed to the Trustees in 1959 when the organization acquired 132 acres and created the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge. A separate easement created in 1987 on one of the lots now owned by the Colantonios also allowed the Trustees access over that property.

Under state law, easements that don’t limit how they can be used are interpreted broadly — even if, for example, modes of transportation have changed, the judge wrote.

“Accordingly, use of the right of way by motor vehicles is completely consistent with the general right of way granted in 1891,” the judge wrote.

He concluded: “The plaintiffs’ concerns about the management [of Cape Pogue] and the right of way used for access to it should be addressed by discussions between the parties, but neither the public’s interest nor that of the parties would be adequately and legitimately served by the prohibition of public access to much of the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge while such talks proceed.”