The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) are stewards of an incredible refuge that was generously donated, with the balance being purchased using public donations in the mid-century. The express purpose was to permanently protect this unique resource for public use. The only reasonable way to allow the public to use it is by allowing respectful, supervised oversand vehicle (OSV) access.

This extraordinary space is simply far too vast with sand too deep to access by foot except for the most superficial visit. Public parking exists for only 20 vehicles for a beach with seven miles of shore! And for those lucky enough to actually find a parking spot, it involves a half mile hike through deep sand just to arrive at the shore.

Clearly this arrangement is not practical for even the most dedicated beachgoers, never mind those with young children, the elderly or the disabled. This is the simple reason why OSV access is the only way to allow the public to use this public beach.

TTOR currently has a functional system to allow respectful permit holders to access the beach. Is this current system perfect? Ample suggestions for improvement seem to suggest it is not. But we must not allow illusionary perfection to be the enemy of functional, legal use.

In addition, banning public OSV access would result in a private sanctuary for 20 homeowners. Is this our societal goal? Converting public land into private use? Is this what Vineyarders desire? I think not.

Removing public OSV access would be diametrically opposed to the stated goal of this property’s existence. I urge the public to make their voice heard at the Edgartown Conservation Commission meeting on Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.

Rich Thompson