Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore

Friends of the
Cape Cod National Seashore

Friends of Cape Cod National Seashore and Friends of Eastham Public Library will co-host John Whelan's entertaining presentation "Show Stoppers of Broadway", Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 1 pm. Note the location — Eastham Public Library, Samoset Road Eastham. "Show Stoppers" highlights iconic songs and performances from all-time favorite musicals.

John Whelan hosts "American Pie" on Saturday mornings on WOMR-FM in Provincetown and WFMR-FM in Orleans. John and his partner, Steve Bornemeier, have presented courses at both Chatham and Orleans Lifetime Learning Series for the past five years. Come preview their engaging style and wit!

Red Maple Swamp Trail Work Has Begun

Cape Cod National Seashore personnel and volunteers from the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore have begun the process of peeling away the dense overgrowth that has accumulated in the "closed" section of the Red Maple Swamp trail. This is a massive project that will require many combined work sessions. The good news is that the work has begun.

Red Maple Swamp Trail In The News

Seashore takes alternate route to boardwalk repairs

By Mary Ann Bragg
Feb 2, 2017

Pilot project tests less expensive way to reopen section of popular trail.

Using an in-house crew and materials such as high-density polyethylene plastic, the National Seashore hopes to repair a 1,300-foot section of boardwalk on the Red Swamp Maple Trail for $571,000 instead of an estimated $1.6 million. The section of trail has been closed for five years.
Workers repair a section of boardwalk along the Cape Cod National Seashore's Red Maple Swamp Trail under a pilot project. The Seashore hopes to continue the repairs with money from a recreational fee fund.

Repairs made to a popular boardwalk trail deep in a swamp in the Cape Cod National Seashore have raised the possibility that a long-closed section could reopen soon.

"Our fervent wish is to be able to allow people to walk it this summer," Seashore maintenance head Karst Hoogeboom said of the closed section of the park's Red Maple Swamp Trail, one of the Seashore's 11 official trails.

A little under half of the trail has been closed for five years because of deterioration of boards and posts and because of the expense of repairs, estimated now at $1.6 million under a standard government construction contract similar to what is used for road rehabilitation, according to Hoogeboom. The swamp trail repair also required a financial incentive because it was not a typical construction project, he said.

But the popularity of the half-mile trail, located in dense woods between Fort Hill Road and Hemenway Road, has led the Seashore staff to look for new and less expensive ways to repair the closed section and keep the trail open for the future.

"It's one of the most beautiful trails in that entire park," Eastham resident Noreen Thompsen said Tuesday. Last year Thompsen advocated to have the closed section of the trail repaired as part of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. "Congress is not funding the national parks adequately," she said.

In consultation with officials from Fire Island National Seashore in New York who also maintain boardwalks, an in-house Cape Cod National Seashore crew is repairing a 150-foot section of the swamp trail boardwalk as a pilot project. The materials for the pilot project, such as high-density polyethylene plastic, were obtained through a competitive bidding process and paid for through a Seashore fund of recreational fees, Hoogeboom said.

With this method, the Seashore hopes to repair the 1,300 feet of closed trail for a total cost of $571,000, he said. The Seashore hopes the materials for the rest of the repairs will come from a National Park Service fund of recreational fees, he said.

As of Tuesday, 60 to 80 feet of the 150-foot pilot section had been repaired and the rest could be finished in two to three weeks, Hoogeboom said.

The Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore had raised about $25,000 by year's end toward the project as well.

"People continue to send us money for the swamp trail," Friends president Patricia Canavan said. "It's really amazing to me. People feel this specialness about this place."

The donations also give the National Park Service a sense of who is behind the project, Canavan said. "Showing that local support is important."

The mild winter so far has helped move the pilot project along, Canavan and Hoogeboom said.

"There's visible progress," Hoogeboom said. "We kind of discover something. We scratch our heads and make adjustments."

Volunteers hot on the trail at Red Maple Swamp

By Mary Ann Bragg
Sep 24, 2016

Hard-hatted workers with chain saws and weed wackers made the first cuts Saturday in the closed section of the Red Maple Swamp walking trail, part of the National Park Service's plan to reopen and maintain the path without spending a bundle.

At 9:30 a.m. the crew of two Cape Cod National Seashore maintenance staff and a handful of volunteers from the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore stepped around the orange cone barrier on the boardwalk and headed into the dense woods.

"We have a long way to go, but it will start today with clearing brush," said Pat Canavan, president of the Friends group, near the entrance to the trail.

The volunteers received special training by the National Park Service to operate the chain saws, Canavan and Seashore maintenance head Karst Hoogeboom said. Another, larger group of Friends volunteers were clipping weeds around stone walls near the trail entrance, part of the Seashore's National Public Lands Day event.

National Public Lands Day is a coast-to-coast celebration of public land where volunteers help remove litter and invasive plant species, blaze new trails and maintain existing ones and plant seeds.

President Barack Obama, in a proclamation issued Friday, called on Americans to "rededicate ourselves to this critical work and continue looking after these natural treasures and protecting our historic and cultural heritage for generations to come."

A little under half of the 0.8-mile swamp trail has been closed for five years because of safety concerns and structural deterioration, according to Seashore materials. The price tag of $1.5 million for repairs is daunting, both Canavan and Hoogeboom have said in recent months.

But based on the advice of Fire Island National Seashore staff, who have worked on many boardwalk maintenance projects, the Seashore will repair a 150-foot section of the trail this fall using an in-house crew and with the help of Friends volunteers, Hoogeboom said. The plan is to develop a process for all future repairs.

"We're just waiting for the material delivery for the pilot project," he said. "Our goal is to get it open as soon as possible."

On Saturday, Friends volunteer Jim McDowell said he'd been approached by a visitor asking what was going on. "She was so excited to hear that something was going to start on the trail."

Wayside Exhibits for Province Lands Bike Trail
Ready to Install

The Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore is excited to see the newly completed wayside exhibits which we funded for the Province Lands bike trail.

Click on images below to view more readable (and zoomable) pdf version of Wayside exhibits.

Salt Pond (photo by Ross Johnston)

Salt Pond (photo by Ross Johnston)

FRIENDS of the Cape Cod National Seashore is a non-profit organization of dedicated individuals who have a very special love and respect for this spectacular National Park.

FRIENDS responsibilities and activities include:

  • Promoting the educational, environmental, historical and other purposes of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
  • Assisting in the provision of interpretive programs for visitors to the park.
  • Providing volunteers for important projects such as natural resources programs and trail maintenance.
  • Encouraging private donations to support seashore programs.
  • Managing several special funds that contribute to important educational, archival and research projects in the seashore.

Click above to view Public Service Announcement video promoting the "Friends of CCNS"

Help the Friends Support the Seashore
> join > volunteer > donate

> About Us
> Activities
> Newsletters

> Galleries
> Contact Us
> Links