ORLEANS – For the first time since it was sold by a Monomoyick leader to English colonists in 1711, Sipson Island in Pleasant Bay will officially open for public access on Saturday, July 25.
The Sipson Island Trust (SIT) purchased most of the island for conservation in June, culminating a major fundraising campaign led by the Friends of Pleasant Bay and the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts.
Mark Robinson, executive director of the Compact, noted that fundraising is still in progress to bring a remaining eight acres of the 24-acre island into SIT ownership by 2021.
The July 25th opening comes with a few limitations, some temporary. Visitors are urged to access the island from the beaches on the protected eastern shore rather than from the busy channel in The Narrows on the west side. (Boats approaching from the north should look for a white buoy about a quarter mile northeast of the island signaling hazardous rocks.) Because the island is surrounded by critical marine habitat, only shallow-draft boats (under 22 feet) that do not cause bottom scour may land. The dock on the east side is for private use only, and the beach area immediately south of it may be traversed but not occupied.
On shore, signage will guide visitors on how to explore the island safely and help protect it. For example, land around where a few houses now stand will be off limits to the public for safety reasons until SIT “undevelops” and restores these areas. Visitors will be directed to stay on mowed pathways and keep away from steep bluffs and unsound structures. Finally, conservation restrictions prohibit pets, fires, or public camping anywhere on the island.
More information about visiting the island will soon be available at the forthcoming Sipson Island Trust website. Meanwhile, questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to help complete the acquisition of the island, visit sipsonisland.org/AcquireSipsonIsland, or mail the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, 30 Red Top Rd., Brewster, 02631. The Sipson Island Trust also accepts donations to support its work at sipsonisland.org/SipsonIslandTrust.