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Blizzard Of '15 Takes Out Nauset Light Beach Staircase At Cape Cod National Seashore

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The "Blizzard of '15" that ran up the New England coast earlier this week generated an overwash at the Ballston Beach on Cape Cod National Seashore/Patrick Burns via NPS

Well, time again to order a new set of beach access stairs for Nauset Light Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore. The staircase, which was replaced in 2013 after a winter storm, was taken out by the "Blizzard of '15," according to Seashore Superintendent George Price.

"So far we do know we lost the stairs at Nauset Light Beach and suffered damage to the Herring Cove Beach North parking lot," the superintendent said Wednesday via email.

Surviving the storm, though, were the beach access stairs at Marconi Beach that were constructed after an older staircase was destroyed by the Blizzard of '13 that had taken out the Nauset Light Beach staircase.

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The Marconi Beach staircase after this week's snowstorm/NPS
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This staircase, built at Nauset Light Beach after the old one was destroyed by the Blizzard of '13, was taken out by this week's blizzard/NPS

This week's blizzard really changed the setting at the national seashore, and had some rangers taking to cross-country skis to get around.

"National seashore staff continue the process of digging out and assessing for damage--no small task, considering the numerous operational facilities spread across four towns," a post on the Seashore's Facebook page said. "We're checking and clearing snow from ranger stations and visitor centers, employee housing and maintenance yards, public restrooms and bathhouses, laboratories, parking lots, roads, and historic buildings. Salt Pond Visitor Center and park headquarters in Wellfleet will remain closed on Thursday while staff plow parking lots and clear walkways and building entrances. A ranger will ski into Marconi Beach to assess damage to the stairs and bathhouse."




Very refreshing to see an article related to a weather event and no mention of global warming. 

Not yet, at least.  Just wait, though.

Agreed, wild places.  This story is about weather, not climate.

It's climate change, I mean global warming, I mean climate disruption... Shouldn't the NPS leave it natural and not repair the staircase? Is that staircase compatible with flora and fauna? 

Repair the staircase and allow someone to trademark it, after which it becomes their responsibility.

The answer to these problems is to stop repairing developments including this staircase and parking lots, and stop replenishing beaches. It is a lost cause in the face of land subsidence. Notice I did not mention climate change or global warming.

In other words, Roger, Mother Nature has always warned us about building right next to the ocean. But then, we invented State Farm, Geico, Allstate, Prudential, etc., etc., to keep us coming back. For a modest premium, "they" took the risk, i.e., the entire pool of insured picked up the tab. Now that the pool is running dry, we need to kick the risk upstairs. And so we say climate change, i.e, the federal government. Uncle Sam will save us! His pool of risk takers is big enough to float the world!

Yes, this is one hell of an experiment we're running. When I was a kid, the storms blew just as hard, only fewer people took the risk. All they could afford was the basics. Think who is inventing the terms, then follow the money behind who is inventing them. If we hadn't developed the coastline to death, we wouldn't need to worry about "rising" seas. And so we fight over the leftovers, when all of it--in the interest of natural flood control--should never have been touched in the first place.

But yes, repair the staircase. Just expect it to blow away again.

Agreed, Roger and Alfred.

Whenever I set off into the backcountry of a park, I shake my head a little, but tell myself that frontcountry development is what pays down the backcountry.  Which speaks, I think, to a larger concern of yours, Alfred.  How do we get more Americans to value wilderness?  Muir and Roosevelt were pretty good celebrity spokesmen--and for me, the Burns documentary made all the difference--but where is there a compelling voice for wilderness in today's popular discourse? 

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