Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore is a National Seashore in the state of Massachusetts in the United States of America.

. . . Cape Cod National Seashore . . .

Marconi wireless site, South Wellfleet

Cape Cod National Seashore stretches over 43,500 acres (176 km²) of dunes, ponds, woods and almost 40 miles (64 km) of Atlantic shoreline. It is located on Cape Cod, principally in the towns of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham, but also covers some shoreline in Orleans and Chatham.

Cape Cod is relatively young geologically at 18,000 years or so. American Indians began using the land at least 9,000 years ago.

In 1620, a group known as “The Pilgrims”, a group of English Separatists seeking to establish a settlement in Virginia were forced to land here. They sent out three separate “discovery” expeditions to see what the area had to offer. During these “discoveries” they found their first fresh water, took some Indian corn, and almost had a battle (called the First Encounter) with some Native Americans. Cape Cod had many good features, but after a month of searching, it was decided to finally settle in Plymouth.

In 1902 Guglielmo Marconi built one of two North American wireless stations at South Wellfleet. On January 18, 1903 the first public two-way communication (in Morse Code) between Europe and America occurred through this station. The station was closed in 1917 and scrapped in 1920, with the communication station being relocated to Chatham. Cable stations were later established in North Eastham and Orleans.

Seashore history also includes shipwrecks and lifesaving. Two lighthouses (Highland or “Cape Cod” and Nauset) have been moved to keep them from toppling down eroding cliffs.

The Cape Cod National Seashore was created on August 7, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.

The park includes beaches, high cliff dunes, sand spits, tidal flats, salt marshes, and soft-bottom benthos. Inland there are kettle ponds, vernal pools, sphagnum bogs, and swamps. Vegetation includes pitch pine and scrub oak forests, heathlands, dunes, and sandplain grasslands.

Hog Cranberry & Thorn Lichen spotted in Wellfleet

As a result of almost total deforestation by European settlers between 1650 and 1900, globally rare heathland habitats have resulted here. Bayberry and beach plum are common.

Twenty-five federally-protected species occur in the park. The Seashore is a significant site for the piping plover, with roughly 5% of the entire Atlantic coast population nesting here. Cape Cod National Seashore also supports 32 species that are rare or endangered in the state of Massachusetts. Some of these, such as the common tern, are conspicuous. Much less visible is the spadefoot toad which spends most its life buried in the sand, emerging only on warm nights with torrential rainfall.

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. . . Cape Cod National Seashore . . .

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