Cape Cod National Seashore

The Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS), created on August 7, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy,[3][4] encompasses 43,607 acres (68.1 sq mi; 176.5 km2)[1] on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. It includes ponds, woods and beachfront of the Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecoregion. The CCNS includes nearly 40 miles (64 km) of seashore along the Atlantic-facing eastern shore of Cape Cod, in the towns of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans and Chatham. It is administered by the National Park Service.

Cape Cod National Seashore
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
A circular logo depicting a sand dune topped with beach grass next to the ocean, with a white sea bird flying overhead.
Official logo
Cape Cod National Seashore
LocationBarnstable County, Massachusetts, USA
Nearest cityBarnstable, Massachusetts
Coordinates41°50′14″N 69°58′22″W / 41.83722°N 69.97278°WCoordinates: 41°50′14″N 69°58′22″W / 41.83722°N 69.97278°W
Area43,607.14 acres (176.4718 km2)[1]
EstablishedAugust 7, 1961
Visitors4,426,750 (in 2014)[2]
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteCape Cod National Seashore

Places of interest

Notable sites encompassed by the CCNS include Marconi Station (site of the first two-way transatlantic radio transmission), the Highlands Center for the Arts (formerly the North Truro Air Force Station), the Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District (a 1,950-acre historic district containing dune shacks and the dune environment), and the glacial erratic known as Doane Rock.

A former United States Coast Guard station on the ocean in Truro is now operated as a 42-bed youth hostel by Hostelling International USA.[5]

There are several paved bike trails:[6]

  • Nauset Bike Trail - Eastham
  • Head of the Meadow Trail - Truro
  • Province Lands Trails - Provincetown

There are several excellent beaches along the coastline with public facilities available seasonally. These include Race Point Beach in Provincetown and Coast Guard Beach in Eastham.[7] Both of these have made "top beaches in the US" lists over the years.[8][9]

Restoration and conservation efforts

As part of the NPS Centennial Initiative, the Herring River estuary will be restored to its natural state through removal of dikes and drains that date back to 1909.[10]

In 2010, the North of Highland Campground was protected with a conservation easement. The Trust for Public Land, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Truro Conservation Trust, and other groups led a grassroots campaign to support the funding for the purchase price of the conservation easement from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), secured by U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Representative Bill Delahunt, and former Senator Ted Kennedy.[11][12]

The Biddle Property, home of the late Francis Biddle, who was the U.S. attorney general during WW II and served as the primary American judge during the post-war Nuremberg trials, was added to the Cape Cod National Seashore in 2011. Using funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Trust for Public Land purchased the property and conveyed it to the National Park Service.[13][14]



An entrance to the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham, Massachusetts


Cape Cod National Seashore


Nauset Light


View from Highland Light


Marconi Beach

Race point sunset

Late July Sunset at Race Point Beach

Salt Pond Visitor Center, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham MA

Salt Pond Visitor Center

See also


  1. ^ a b "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2014". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  2. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  3. ^ "Bill signing - S. 857 Public Law 87-126, Cape Cod National Seashore Act, 11:47AM". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  4. ^ "Cape Cod National Seashore Act - P.L. 87-126" (PDF). 75 Stat. 284 ~ Senate Bill 857. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Shortsleeve, Cassie (May 22, 2018). "The Best Beaches on Cape Cod". Conde Nast Traveller. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Herring River Tidal Restoration Project". National Park Service. July 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  11. ^ "Cape Cod Campground Permanently Protected".
  12. ^ "Truro campground owner wins $2.4M conservation easement". Wicked Local.
  13. ^ "Biddle Property".
  14. ^ "Biddle property acquisition is plum for Park". Wicked Local.

External links

Ahearn House and Summer House

The Ahearn House and Summer House are a pair of houses at 450 Pamet Point Road in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The smaller "summer house" is an early 19th-century cottage, while the main house is a subsequent construction; both are important examples of period architecture in the community. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Atwood–Higgins Historic District

The Atwood–Higgins Historic District encompasses a historic property with deep colonial roots in Cape Cod National Seashore. Located on Bound Brook Island on the west side of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, the centerpiece of the district is the Thomas Atwood House, built c. 1730. The property is emblematic of Cape Cod's colonial origins and its later transformation into a summer resort area. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976; the district was listed in 2010. The property is open for guided tours by the National Park Service on a seasonal basis.

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust is a non-profit historic preservation organization working to preserve and interpret Modern period houses built on Cape Cod in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The organization describes its mission to ''promote the documentation and preservation of significant examples of Modernist architecture on the Outer Cape."[1]

Founded by Peter McMahon in 2007, the trust has worked with the National Park Service on cataloging and documenting, stabilizing, or restoring modernist Cape Cod homes by the architects Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff, Jack Hall, Olav Hammarston, Oliver Morton, and Charles Zehnder.The trust is currently working on a three-year project restoring the Kugel-Gips House, designed in 1970 by Charles Zehnder and located within the National Park Service's Cape Cod National Seashore. The Kugel-Gips House and other modernist houses lying within the Cape Cod National Seashore are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

East Harbor

East Harbor is the name of a tidal estuary in Truro, Massachusetts that was originally a harbor until it was cut off from Cape Cod Bay to form a salt marsh lagoon, later renamed Pilgrim Lake. It is now within the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Edward Penniman House and Barn

The Edward Penniman House and Barn is a historic site in Eastham, Massachusetts, located on Fort Hill, which is currently protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore and home to Indian Rock.

The house was built in 1868 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Fort Hill Rural Historic District

The Fort Hill Rural Historic District is a historic district encompassing two farmsteads with more than 200 years of history in Eastham, Massachusetts. The district is a 100-acre (40 ha) area of forest, fields, and salt marshes that was owned by the Knowles and Penninman families from 1742 to 1941. It has been part of the Cape Cod National Seashore since 1961. The area is dominated by the rise called "Fort Hill", which provides extensive views of the area and has its own rich history. The district includes the Edward Penniman House and Barn, previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Nauset Archeological District, a National Historic Landmark.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

French Cable Hut

The French Cable Hut is a historic building in Cape Cod National Seashore, near the Nauset Beach Light in Eastham, Massachusetts. Built in 1891, the hut formed a linkage point in the transatlantic telegraph cable of the French Cable Company connecting the cable, where it came ashore near the present site to its main station in Orleans. After the cable was abandoned in 1932, the hut was adapted for residential use. It has since been restored to its turn-of-the-century appearance by the National Park Service. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Great Pond (Massachusetts)

Great Pond is 17-acre natural kettle pond with an average depth of 14 feet and a maximum depth of 35 feet. Transparency is very good, extending to 14 feet, and aquatic vegetation is scarce. The bottom is composed primarily of sand. The shoreline is lightly developed with residential homes.Great Pond is located just east of Route 6 within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Access is through an unmarked dirt road off of Route 6, 0.7 miles north of the Truro/Wellfleet line just beyond Savage Rd. Anglers must park along the shoulder of Route 6 and walk in. A steep dirt path leads to a shallow cove at the eastern end of the pond. Access is suitable only for wading anglers, canoes and lightweight cartop boats.Great Pond is generally quite acidic. It has been limed in the past. The state used to stock the pond with smallmouth bass and trout, but was not stocking it in 2018.

Highland House (Truro, Massachusetts)

The Highland House is a historic hotel building, now serving as a museum, located at 27 Highland Light Road within the Cape Cod National Seashore

in Truro, Massachusetts. It is located in the Cape Cod National Seashore near the Highland Light in the Truro Highlands Historic District. The present two story wood frame building was constructed in 1907 by Isaac Small, whose family had been serving tourists in the area (among them Henry David Thoreau) since 1835.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is now known as Highland House Museum and is operated by the Truro Historical Society as a museum of local history.

Jedediah Higgins House

The Jedediah Higgins House is a historic house on Higgins Hollow Road in North Truro, Massachusetts. It is one of the least-altered 19th century Cape style houses in the Cape Cod National Seashore, and an excellent early example of that style. It is a 1.5 story post-and-beam house, whose front facade typifies the Cape style: a central doorway flanked by windows on either side. Its interior floor plan is also typical, with two rooms on the south side and one large one to the north, with a central chimney. Interior finishes have also been preserved, including wood flooring, paneling, and wainscoting.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

John Newcomb House

The John Newcomb House is a historic house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. It is best known as the house described by Henry David Thoreau in the chapter on the "House of the Wellfleet Oysterman" in his 1865 book, Cape Cod. The house is located in Cape Cod National Seashore, on a sandy lane off Gull Pond Road to the east of Williams Pond in northern Wellfleet. The Cape style house is presumed to have been built by John Y. Newcomb (born 1762).The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Cape Cod National Seashore

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Cape Cod National Seashore.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in a Google map.There are 25 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the park, one of which is a National Historic Landmark.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted February 15, 2019.

Nauset Archeological District

The Nauset Archaeological District (or "Coast Guard Beach Site,19BN374" or "North Salt Pond Site,19BN390") is a National Historic Landmark District in Eastham, Massachusetts. Located within the southern portion of the Cape Cod National Seashore, this area was the location of substantial ancient settlements since at least 4,000 BC.The first written account of this area was by Samuel de Champlain in 1605, in which he described sailing into a bay surrounded by the wigwams of the Nauset tribe (see map, right). The account detailed the settlement's crops (e.g. corn, beans, squash, tobacco), housing (round wigwams covered with thatched reeds), and clothing (woven from grasses, hemp, and animal skins). De Champlain's map also depicts one of their fishing methods, using a conical weir constructed of saplings and grass rope, designed to capture fish swimming from the marsh into a pond. To farm the land, they used stone hoes and fire-hardened wood tools. About 150 people were living at the site around Nauset Harbor, and about 500-600 were living around Stage Harbor to the south in the area of present-day Chatham. Archaeological studies have since shown that these settlements were occupied year-round.After 1620, English colonists from the settlement at Plymouth visited Nauset many times to buy food and trade. In addition to goods for trade, however, the Europeans also unwittingly introduced diseases, for which the Nauset people had no immunity. Many of them died as a result, and their population declined drastically. In 1639 about half of the English from Plymouth relocated to the Nauset area, settling the town that is now Eastham.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The area can be visited via the Fort Hill area of the Cape Cod National Seashore, off U. S. Route 6, where the Fort Hill and Red Maple Swamp trails wind from the top of the hill to the marsh and beyond.

Pine Grove Cemetery (Truro, Massachusetts)

The Pine Grove Cemetery is the second oldest cemetery in Truro, Massachusetts. The cemetery was established in 1799; it is located on Cemetery Road in a remote area of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Originally established by Truro's Methodists, the cemetery was located near a church which has not survived. The cemetery is surrounded by a fence made of granite posts connected by iron rails. Access to its interior is via a gravel roadway that roughly bisects the property from east to west; there is also a grassy path to a pedestrian gate on the south side. Burials in the cemetery date from 1799 to the recent past.The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

Race Point Light

Race Point Light is a historic lighthouse on Cape Cod, in Provincetown, Massachusetts; it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The original tower, first illuminated in 1816, was replaced in 1876 with the current 45-foot tall iron-plated tower and a new keeper's dwelling. The American Lighthouse Foundation operates the property and rents out two buildings for overnight stays. The actual light is maintained by the Coast Guard. The site is reached by walking about 45 minutes over sand; with a National Park Service Oversand Permit, a four-wheel-drive vehicle can be used.

Samuel Smith Tavern Site

The Samuel Smith Tavern Site is a historic archeological site in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. It encompasses the remains of a late 17th-century tavern operated by Samuel Smith, owner of Great Island, which shelters Wellfleet Harbor. The tavern site is located within the Cape Cod National Seashore, and is accessible via the Great Island Trail. The site was excavate in 1969-70, recovering thousands of artifacts, including clay pipes, drinking artifacts, a harpoon, and a chopping block fashioned from whale vertebrae.The tavern site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Three Sisters of Nauset

The Three Sisters of Nauset are a trio of historic lighthouses off Cable Road in Eastham, Massachusetts. The original three brick towers fell into the sea due to erosion in 1890 and were replaced with wooden towers on brick foundations in 1892. The Sisters were decommissioned in 1911 but one of them, the Beacon, was moved back from the shoreline and attached to the keeper's house. It continued to operate but was replaced by a new steel tower, the Nauset Light, in 1923.

Truro, Massachusetts

Truro is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States, comprising two villages: Truro and North Truro. Located slightly more than 100 miles (160 km) by road from Boston, it is a summer vacation community just south of the northern tip of Cape Cod, in an area known as the "Outer Cape". English colonists named it after Truro in Cornwall, United Kingdom.

The historic Wampanoag Native American people called the area Pamet or Payomet. Their language was part of the large Algonquian family. This name was adopted for the Pamet River and the harbor area around the town center known as the Pamet Roads. The population of Truro was 2,003 at the 2010 census.

Over half of the land area of the town is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, and administered by the U.S. National Park Service.

Truro Highlands Historic District

The Truro Highlands Historic District encompasses an area of North Truro, Massachusetts, within the Cape Cod National Seashore, that has served as a recreational destination for more than 175 years. The major features of the district, which is centered on Highland Road east of US Route 6, are the Highland Light Station, the Highland House (now a museum), and the Highland Golf Links, one of the oldest golf courses on Cape Cod.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

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