Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Nature Abhors a Vacuum"

It’s an old phrase I learned in science class, but it really applies to Hawksnest. There’s a “vacuum” of responsibility--or stewardship--at the Pond. And that’s bad for nature.

Harwich police say they don’t have jurisdiction at the park because it’s state land. It's true--Nickerson State Park has nominal responsibility for Hawksnest, but they are understaffed and “don’t have two nickels to rub together.” So don’t expect to see them anytime soon. State enforcement rangers (enforce fishing licenses, etc.) do have jurisdiction, but there are only two for the whole of Cape Cod. A lot a neighbors care about Hawksnest, but most are too busy to take the lead.

I care about Hawksnest because my parents helped found the park. We summered for many years in a house by the Round Cove Rd. parking lot. And it makes me sad to see the uncontrolled abuse, with erosion channeling muddy water and dog feces into the pond. Because I’ve seen it over many years, I know the pond we love is headed for trouble, unless someone takes responsibility.

What kind of trouble? Imagine a hundred people on the beach at Hawksnest...

Beach at Nickerson State Park

Imagine a big paved parking lot, filled with cars. Imagine the wooded banks everywhere trampled, vegetation gone, sandy banks caving onto the beach.

Trampled hillside, National Seashore at Provincetown

Imagine ugly weeds tangling your body as you swim through smelly water that looks like pea-soup.

Here we are, like Scrooge with the Ghost of Hawksnest Future. We can drift towards the big beach with the big parking lot, or we can create a better future for Hawksnest. It could become an example of pristine water quality for the whole country—in a time when most people have forgotten what clean water is.

In America, there are few things as powerful as a vocal, aroused neighbors. The State and the local police will listen, if we have a cause and a common voice. So let’s get started. Grab those cameras and cell phones. Let’s fill the vacuum with something better. Yes, we can!

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