A Cape Cod island which has been closed to the public since 1711 has finally opened up its doors. The Cape Cod area of Massachusetts is a history and nature lover’s paradise. There are sandy beaches all over the region, a link to America’s earliest colonial times at Plymouth Rock near Boston, and spots like Martha’s Vineyard, where celebrities and tourists alike delight in gorgeous scenery all year long.
Winters are harsh, it’s true, but anyone lucky enough to rent a cabin in the area for a week or two in the summer can feast on seafood caught fresh each day, be amazed by glorious sunsets and spend endless days walking along the shorelines, collecting shells from the many creatures that thrive in the Atlantic Ocean all year. There is no question that Cape Cod is one of America’s greatest tourist draws, not just for visitors from other countries, but also visitors from other states who go to enjoy their nation’s eastern seaboard.
Now, thankfully, one more area of Cape Cod is open to the public, a spot that has not been available for folks to visit since 1711, Sipson Island. All those years ago, a chief of the Monomoyick tribe sold this small island to English colonists, and ever since it has been in the hands of private owners — until June of this year, that is.
Now, all but eight acres of the island is owned by the Sipson Island Trust (SIT), a charitable organization that purchased it from the owners to create a conservation area and allow the public to have access. It is accessible to visitors by boat only, and there are strict rules under which hikes, swimming and guided tours are allowed — no trash left behind, no shells or logs removed, and other restrictions that ensure its natural beauty remains unblemished by outsiders.
The 2018 purchase of Sipson was facilitated by locals in the Friends of Pleasant Bay, and the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts. Together they shared a vision for the island that meant it would be given back, in a sense, to its original owners — the Indigenous people of the region. In a press release issued when tours were launched at the end of July, SIT spokeswoman Tasia Blough said the group’s sole goal is: “We want to give back to the island and honour the Native people who were here before us…. to us, (the goal is) giving back to the island and restoring it to a balance and natural state and teaching others to do the same.”
View this post on Instagram
The SIT hopes to buy the remaining eight acres of island’s total 24 by the end of next year, so the entire island can become a public conservation destination. Although the SIT was looking forward to welcoming visitors for the first time, the area is under strict health guidelines at the moment, like much of America.
Many Massachusetts residents, depending on whether they meet health requirements, have to isolate for 14 days upon returning to the state if they have been travelling. Other criteria must be met as well, for visitors and residents alike, all of which may put a dent in the number of visitors heading to Sipson Island during the summer of 2020.
Related Article: Story behind the Tiny House On A Remote Icelandic Island
But the island isn’t going anywhere, and next year it will be open and available to as many visitors as the rules allow, depending on the global health situation. Getting the island ready for visitors was, Blough enthused, “like unlocking a secret garden.” And that paradise, that Eden right off the coast of Cape Cod, will be there and ready to greet visitors just as soon as it is safe for them to come.