By Sue Rourke, Duxbury Beach Reservation Trustee (7 years)
When I head to the beach, I don’t usually think about the behind the scenes. Who paved a parking lot so my low-clearance sedan can make it? Who provided porta-potties so I can stay all day? Who cleaned all the debris off the beach that I saw this winter? There’s so much going on, but did you know it’s all accomplished through the cooperation of two different entities; Duxbury Beach Reservation and the Town of Duxbury?
Duxbury Beach Reservation is a private, nonprofit corporation which owns Duxbury Beach. The Reservation is run by an executive director, Cris Luttazi, her staff and 31 volunteer trustees. The trustees are hardworking and dedicated. We rely on their considerable knowledge of coastal geology, civil engineering and conservation to maintain the physical structure of the beach and its natural resource programs.
The most visible functions of the Reservation include:
- Maintaining the road to the Gurnet Saquish Community and the crossovers
- Maintaining the dunes (from clearing debris, erecting snow fences and planting grass and shrubs to dune nourishment after storms and wash overs)
- Developing management programs for endangered species that are compatible with continued enjoyment of the beach by humans and Federal and state law.
A lot of work goes on behind the scene, too, including grant writing, research and long-term planning. The Reservation has worked with Woods Hole Group (WHG) to identify areas of structural vulnerability of the barrier beach we all love so much. The report WHG generated helps the Reservation prioritize projects to help sustain the beach as our climate and environment evolve. A recent grant from the Commonwealth will help the Reservation to implement one of the recommended projects.
Lastly, the Reservation also owns Duxbury Beach Park. The Park is the northernmost section of the beach and is open to daily visitors for a parking fee. The Park, which features a bathhouse, and Blakeman’s, a snack bar and full-service restaurant, is managed currently by the Battista Family.
Town of Duxbury leases the southern portion of the beach from the Reservation to provide recreational access to both the resident parking lot and the Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) sections of the beach by annual permit. The town ensures the clean and safe use of the beach, enforces the endangered species laws and is responsible for the day to day operation of the beach. This includes things like setting opening and closing times, maintaining port-a-potties, trash disposal and communicating with the public about the status of the beach.
- Public Safety is provided by the Duxbury Police Department. The Department employs seasonal assistants – those folks you see checking stickers and keep track of the number of cars on the OSV section.
- The assistants also support the Endangered Species Officer who, in cooperation with Mass Audubon and the Duxbury Beach Reservation, runs the Endangered Species Program developed by the Reservation and approved by the Commonwealth.
- The town also employs Coastal Natural Resource Monitors, the folks you see glued to their binoculars all over the beach and back road. The monitors are trained jointly by the Town, Mass Audubon, and the Reservation to identify and locate protected species, share beach rules with the public, and collect a host of data required by state and federal agencies and used by the Reservation for future management plans.
- The town also hires lifeguards for the pedestrian section of the beach.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving pieces that hold the beach together and keep things running smoothly. We get a lot of questions about the beach and so does the town! Sometimes it is confusing who does what, who works for who, and basically just who’s who on the beach. Please feel free to reach out to Duxbury Beach Reservation if you have questions!