Public Access

Climate & Access

  • Climate change may impact public access, resulting in loss of access. 
  • There are opportunities to create public access sites that also help address flooding, habitat loss, and other climate impacts. These are especially effective if connected to create a system that works together. 
  • Several access sites and areas in Madaket will be impacted by climate change. Areas identified include: Smith’s Point, I Street, Jackson Point, Ames Ave., South Cambridge Street, the culvert near Madaket Marine, First Bridge, Second Bridge, and Red Barn Road. Madaket Conservation Association and Roads and Rights of Way Committee will work to develop a list of sites. 

Barriers to Existing Access

  •  California Ave has been blocked off with “private” signs. Is the “private” sign to protect the dune grass on the town-owned land? 
  • The volume of rental cars creates stress on beaches. 
  • Access between the White Elephant and USCG station is lacking. Signage is missing and construction is blocking access. 
  • Where dunes develop at the end of public ways, access is lost. 
  • Francis Street Beach – paddle craft are taking up a large portion of the public beach. 
  • Many access sites are not ADA accessible. 
  • Encroachment at existing sites is an issue and removal of barriers is needed.

Chapter 91 Licensing

  • People need to be educated on what it is and what is required of them as coastal landowners – especially when people buy property/become new coastal landowners. Could real estate agents/industry play a role? 
  • Can Chapter 91 enforcement be delegated to the town? 
  • What has been licensed/what should be licensed, and where people are not compliant with their licenses? 

New Access Opportunities

  • Access along the entire coastline would be ideal. 
  • Explore the idea of additional parking at Jackson Point and at Shimmo Pond. 
  • Consider the designation of “quiet” beaches that encourage use by those not wishing to hear loud music. 
  • Francis Street Beach would be ideal for senior citizens and those with disabilities but needs improvements to allow for access for those with canes/walkers/wheelchairs. 
  • Future access should be ADA accessible. 
  • Could new access be coupled with new boat ramps (especially for emergency use). 

Harbor Walk

  • A harbor walk could connect Brant Point to the Creeks – it may need to be on pilings. 
  • Consider whether it would be productive to put a harbor walk in an area that will be impacted by rising seas. 
  • What are the impacts of a harbor walk to natural resources - Conservation Commission opposed to development in resource areas. 
  • Could the harbor walk promote resiliency – e.g., new park behind dreamland helps to stop flooding. 
  • Is the harbor walk a priority? It would require a lot to permit and construct. Are there better ways to get public access (e.g., ADA-related improvements) that would last longer and not require so much by way of resources? Are the harbor walk and other access efforts mutually exclusive or could the plan address both?

Planning for Future Access

  • At Ames Ave, the town-owned land adjacent to the bridge may be required to address erosion, but access in the area should be maintained, and mowing is required to access boats in Hither Creek. 
  • Planning for public access should take a strategic, comprehensive approach rather than a purely opportunistic and piecemeal approach. 
  • Funding will be required for obtaining and maintaining access. 
  • Examples of access programs: Access for All (California), One Island One Beach, One Big Beach (Nantucket). 
  • More information about access, including signage, is needed. The Coast to Coast Trail markings and existing granite block signage are good. 
  • Identify private locations that are being used for public access and identify next steps for those sites. 
  • What is the role of future takings? The Town has already taken private ways to make them public. 
  • With the sale of “Yard sale” properties (public land sold to abutters) the deals are reviewed by the Real Estate Assessment Committee. If there’s a walking trail, it is maintained. This should be continued. 
  • Access via boat ramps should be coupled with travel lifts where possible. 
  • Access for boats on trailers must take into consideration the amount of space needed for trailers to safely operate.