Cedar grove nixed at Fort Hill [Jonathan Mayo]

Park Service destroys cedar grove at popular Eastham site.

by Jonathan Mayo

One need look no further than the Park Service's Fort Hill pamphlet to learn about early deforestation on Cape Cod. 

"Within three decades of settlement, the town was alarmed at the scarcity of wood. By 1850, the Eastham forests had become the Eastham plains. Only at Fort Hill was there any semblance of soil. Farming continued here until the 1940s. Now a forest creeps in. But the fields are still kept open, as a reminder of those yesterdays."

We are all accustomed to the vast fields  near Fort Hill in Eastham. But a recent,  bold move by the Park Service expanded this footprint,  removing a

red cedar grove adjacent to the "sharpening stone" The only apparent rationale is the one stated above, keeping with historical themes.  A similar rationale was used years ago to justify the cutting of a cedar forest on Wing Island in Brewster.

A return to the salt-hay cutting landscape of yore was envisioned, holding hopes that a vast meadow would replace that forest.  

Now,  years later, we see a hillside inundated with briar and brush, requiring regular work, virtually impassable most of the year.

Though placards near the site still identify it as a  "meadow", one might emerge bleeding if they were to endeavour a jaunt through this meadow. In my opinion, cedar groves are so much more stable, enjoyable and environmentally beneficial than open fields,  if our only purpose is historical. We might instead emulate another era,  when nature was left alone if it posed no threat.

I'd like to share some some other photos from yesterday's outer-Cape Jaunt.

This mariner was enjoying the waters off Fort Hill.

 

The Penniman House from a different angle.  I was never aware of the roof detail.

Edit_ Wow! My aunt just told me I am related to Captain Penniman! Never knew that!

Penniman begat Elvira Penniman, who begat Muriel Colby. She begat Walter L. Mayo, my great grandfather. Captain Penniman is my great, great, great, great grandfather. :)

From Wellfleet

A jogger skirts the open sea at Marconi Beach.

Classic Cape Cod landscape at Marconi.

From the Wellfleet white cedar swamp.

A gorgeous bird hides  among the lichen and new growth.

From Race Point,  Provincetown

a shot from the Amphitheater

what a day to fly!

Thanks for visiting  my blog!

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