Cape Cod Notebook
3:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Province Lands Dunes Not the Natural Beauties You May Think

Credit lydia mann / flickr

The dunes of the Province Lands exemplify Cape Cod's natural beauty... or do they? Turns out, the dunes are there because of human tampering.

On the surface, the Province Lands dunes would appear to be a totally wild landscape, constantly changing and moving, unfixed by human control. Yet their very existence is the result of human intervention. Early records tell us that the Province Lands was once heavily wooded. The Beech Forest Trail off Race Point Road winds through a remnant of that original forest. The early settlers cut down those forests for lumber and pastured their cows on the dune vegetation. Within a few generations the remaining soil was blown away by the wind and the result is the dunes you see today, a fascinating product of human and natural interaction.

Robert Finch details this and other local quirks in the audio essay, "What Attracts Me to Cape Cod," posted above.