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Preserving the Cape Cod Character

The Cape Cod National Seashore Celebrates 50 Years

Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod beaches are family friendly and draw people of all ages during the summer months. Photo by Luke Simpson

Gazing across the Fort Hill overlook in Eastham, the magnificence of Cape Cod’s natural beauty and rich cultural history comes into full view. The Nauset salt marsh and ocean that sustained native peoples and early European settlers spreads out below. Heathland and fields, still populated by migratory birds, butterflies, and rabbits, reflect the agricultural past of the site, the former Knowles farm. The 19th-century home of Captain Edward Penniman, framed in view by a whale’s jawbone for a garden gate, recalls the region’s maritime heritage. It is a scene of fleeting serenity that has been eons in the making.

“When I have the opportunity to introduce anyone to the National Seashore, this is the first stop,” Cape Cod National Seashore superintendent George Price, Jr. says of Fort Hill. “It’s not only my favorite spot—it’s absolutely significant to the Seashore.”

With an estimated four million visitors a year, the Cape Cod National Seashore draws visitors who want to experience nearly 45,000 acres of unspoiled beach and serenity along the Outer Cape towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Chatham, Orleans and Provincetown. Ever since Henry David Thoreau first chronicled his walks along its shores in the 1800s, the Cape Cod National Seashore has sparked the imagination of guests who marvel at its beauty and solitude. And today, 50 years to the month after the seashore was created, its undisturbed splendor is an inseparable part of our region.

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