Now that the sands have settled, Edgartown officials say the town’s first season managing Norton Point Beach was a success. 

In a report to the select board Monday, the town’s parks department said it sold 2,079 oversand vehicle stickers for a total of $266,210 in revenue, about the same as the former stewards of the property. 

Norton Point, a dynamic strip of sand that connects South Beach and Chappaquiddick, is a popular recreation destination and piping plover nesting area. It is owned by Dukes County and since April, has been leased to the town to manage oversand vehicle access and conservation efforts on the roughly two-mile strip of barrier beach. The town took over management from The Trustees of Reservations, a land conservation nonprofit that oversaw the property going back to 2006.

In the 2021 fiscal year, the Trustees sold about 2,100 oversand permits for a total of about $286,000.

With the town now managing the property, all revenue from oversand vehicle permits goes back into a revolving fund to handle beach management costs. 

“I think we’re in a really good position to keep moving forward,” parks commissioner Richard Kelly told the select board Monday. 

The parks department will be looking at applicants for a new full-time beach director position next month. Previously, parks commissioner Jessica McGroarty had handled operations on a part-time basis. The new position will help alleviate the challenge of finding staff, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Kelly commended both the former Trustees staff, all of which he said helped with the transition, and the town’s highway and shellfish departments for their contributions in the first year.

“I thought the town all came together out there,” Mr. Kelly said. “We had a lot to learn about out there this year. I think we did a good job.”

The season did not come without its stops and starts.

The state had delayed on granting certain conservation permits and as a result, the beach did not fully open to oversand vehicle access until mid-July, Mr. Kelly said. Beach closures due to nesting shorebird populations as well as vehicle capacity limits were also a perennial source of frustration for visitors, he added, although necessary for effective beach management. 

Despite some roadblocks, town administrator James Hagerty commended the parks department for what he considered a successful season, noting that the town had not seen the same public complaints as in previous years.

“It’s kind of a zero-sum game out on Norton Point,” he said. “It was either going to be a huge failure or wildly successful. I think the parks department proved it was the latter.”