Long Beach Parcel Donated
0.30 acres in Centerville
In December 2008, June Jones, a former Cape resident, donated a special piece of land to Barnstable Land Trust. Her gift, a .30-acre parcel, is located on Long Beach, Centerville’s well-known barrier beach. Although the lot may be small, it plays a big role in ongoing efforts to protect important coastal environments.
“It is nice to be able to do this. We love to see land preserved and understand the importance of doing so,” said June Jones (left, with husband George). “Our chocolate lab, Jake, loved to swim in the river, run on the beach and into the marshes. You could say we donated the land in his honor.”
Not only is the land located on the environmentally crucial barrier beach, it also enhances the 3.5 acres of Town-owned conservation land. “We realized it would be a good match to donate the land to Barnstable Land Trust,” June explained, “Although today the lot isn’t really considered buildable, you never know what can happen.”
Current regulations render coastal beach and dune development difficult; however, entrusting land to an organization such as BLT is the only way such critical parcels can truly be protected.
Long Beach has shown dramatic changes over the last few decades, said Rob Gatewood, Director of the Town’s Conservation Commission. He noted that the Halloween Nor’easter in 1990 and Hurricane Bob a year later caused major impacts.
Much of the beach has moved north toward the land and is slowly encroaching on the Centerville River and the barrier beach is becoming narrower. “The beach has lost significant dune relief,” Rob explained. “Time will tell what the next hurricane will bring.”
Of the two dozen undeveloped parcels on Long Beach, two are now dedicated to conservation purposes. “It’s a good start,” said Rob, identifying several benefits. “Keeping the land in its natural state can help improve the stability of the beach and provide more likelihood that endangered shorebirds will be better protected, as well as allowing for public access.”
The Jones parcel is located at the confluence of the Bumps River and the Centerville River. As you cross over the bridge from Main Street Osterville to South Main Street in Centerville, the land lies immediately to the right. “People are probably most familiar with Long Beach for the panoramic view of Nantucket Sound it affords as they drive over the bridge,” said BLT Executive Director Jaci Barton. “ Long Beach is that undeveloped spit of land in the foreground. The Jones parcel, which is now entrusted to BLT, helps to frame that scenic landscape.”
And for the folks who walk along the shore from the Town Conservation area westward toward East Bay, this land will help to protect a cherished ritual that provides solace from daily chaos.
George and June Jones regularly walked along the beach when they lived here. “We feel strongly about preservation,” George Jones said. “Donating the land was the proper thing to do.”
Long Beach Doubly Protected
Long Beach is so called because it is a long barrier beach stretching from Craigville to East Bay, Osterville. In 1976, the Quinn Family donated a 3.5-acre lot on Long Beach to the Town of Barnstable for conservation. If you drive down Long Beach Road today, it ends at the Town parcel (right). Beyond that lie gorgeous white sands and dunes.
When the Quinns conveyed their 3.5-acre lot to the Town of Barnstable as conservation land they insisted on a “reverter clause” to ensure the land would remain in conservation. The Association to Protect Cape Cod (APCC) agreed to hold the reverter.
Nearly three decades later APCC made the decision to get out of the business of owning conservation land. In 2006, APCC assigned the responsibility of the Quinn reverter clause to BLT. Now, if the Town ever attempts to use the land for anything other than conservation purposes, ownership of the land will revert to BLT whose responsibility is to ensure its permanent conservation.
What Is a Barrier Beach ?
Barrier beaches are narrow, low-lying strips of beach and dunes formed by shore currents that deposit sand across the mouth of an inlet or harbor. Classified as frontal beach, inland beach or dune, they usually feature a marsh or estuary system ( Centerville River , in the case of Long Beach ) in a sheltered zone behind the barrier, separating it from the mainland. Barrier beaches are fragile but crucial buffers that protect against coastal storm damage and flooding.
The strength of the barrier beach lies in its dynamic character – its ability to respond to storms by changing to a more stable form. Although well-vegetated areas on the barrier are somewhat stable, sandy areas migrate substantially. Powerful storms can blast holes through the barriers, something the Cape has often experienced. Manmade changes to barrier beaches, such as jetties and houses, decrease their ability to provide protection from storms by impeding their natural movement and reducing the ability to dissipate wave energy. There is no such thing as a permanent structure on a barrier beach and storm damage to barrier beach development is considered inevitable.
Did you know that…
Centerville was originally called Chequaquet and the Centerville River was the Chequaquet River ? Chequaquet (or alternatively, Cheekwaquet or Weequaket) is the Wampanoag name, which means “pleasant harbor” or “village by the sea.”