- West Dennis Beach Reopens: Daily Updates

Watch for plovers in the roadway and parking lot.

July 6, 2022 - West Dennis public lot is OPEN to chair 8. Entrance gates to the public lot will lock at 5PM. Exit gates to the public lot will lock at 7PM.

July 5, 2022 - West Dennis public lot is OPEN at 8:50 AM today. Gates to enter the beach will lock at 5PM today. Gates to exit the beach will lock at 7PM today. All vehicles must exit the lot by 7PM

July 2, 2022 - West Dennis public and resident lots are closed today. The lots cannot be open when there is no staff on duty due to the pipping plover risk minimization strategies. All other Dennis beach parking lot gates and bathrooms are open today.

July 1, 2022 - West Dennis public lot is OPEN to chair 8. Entrance gates to the public lot will lock at 5PM. Exit gates to the public lot will lock at 7PM.

June 30, 2022 - West Dennis public lot is OPEN to chair 8. Entrance gates to the public lot will lock at 5PM. Exit gates to the public lot will lock at 7PM.

June 29, 2022 - Gates will open to the public for parking at 8:30 AM today -Gates to enter the beach will lock at 5PM today -Gates to exit the beach will lock at 7PM today. All vehicles must exit the lot by 7PM

June 28, 2022 - Plover Monitoring Updates
Crowes Pasture currently has 2 nests which have hatched and 5 chicks on the beach. A third nest is set to hatch shortly. Two vehicle escorts were completed for the commercial shellfish grant holders. Escorts will not restart until July and will be limited. Escorting will only occur on the east side trail due to the location of the last plover nest. Recreational ORV access remains closed and will not reopen until plover chicks have fledged. At this time there is no estimated date for reopening.

South Village Landing had a nest hatch last week. Due to the high volume of people and the close proximity of the private road, silt fencing was installed to limit any movement of the birds to the roadway. People are cautioned to stay away from the birds and do not remove the fencing.

Chapin Beach has no active nests at this time.

West Dennis Beach remains very active with adult plovers and their chicks. Approximately 20 chicks and their parents are located at the far end of the beach.  

  • One group (2 adults/1 chick) remain along the main beach and are prone to going into the parking lot. Silt fencing was installed to prevent their entrance into the parking area.
  • Three access points are provided for beach goers. These access points have temporary “gates” which allow people to enter yet prevent the chick from going through. These barriers MUST remain in place. If the chick enters the lot, parking will be closed again. This is mandated by MA Fish & Wildlife. All barriers will remain in place until the chicks can fly, which will not be for several more weeks.
  • Under normal circumstances, the state and federal guidelines for piping plovers and least terns would require that the road close to vehicles in the areas where unfledged chicks are present.  However, the Town participates in the statewide Habitat Conservation Plan for Piping Plover, which allows the Town some flexibility for vehicle access along the road when chicks are present.  Because of this permit, beachgoers are able to access the most of the road, parking lots and roadside parking areas, but with reduced hours.  The Natural Resources staff monitors the location of the chicks and manages traffic if they approach or cross the road or parking areas.  When traveling through signed areas, be alert to the possible presence of chicks and adult plovers in the road and stop to let them pass.  If you do see chicks in or near the road, please notify the staff.  If a take occurs (e.g., a chick is killed), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife may suspend use of the road and vehicle access will be restrict where the chicks are located, so please be cautious when driving through these areas. 
  • Please be mindful of the temporary measures, silt fencing, haybales that are in place.  Kindly do not tear down or rip the silt fence.  There are access points available to be used.  When the fencing is vandalized it just means the town has to redo and may require further closures to the beach until staff is able to repair.  Lastly, and most importantly do not disrespect or yell at town staff they are simply doing their job as directed to comply with State and Federal permitting. Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation.

June 25 and 26, 2022 - Gates will open to the public for parking at 8:30 AM today -Gates to enter the beach will lock at 5PM today -Gates to exit the beach will lock at 7PM today. All vehicles must exit the lot by 7PM

June 24, 2022 - West Dennis Beach public parking lot is currently closed.

June 23, 2022 - West Dennis Beach public parking lot is currently closed.

June 22, 2022 - West Dennis Beach public lot remains closed at this time.

June 21, 2022 - West Dennis Beach public parking lot is currently closed.

June 20, 2022, @ 12:30 PM - West Dennis Beach public parking lot is temporarily closed to new vehicles trying to enter.

June 18, 2022 - Vehicle access will reopen at West Dennis Beach, limited to the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM. Please continue to monitor town website and social media as hours operation may change or be updated. All vehicles must be out of the lot prior to gates closing at 7 PM.  

At this time, West Dennis Beach has a record high number of plover nests that have hatched. On Friday, June 10, 2022, Town Staff were alerted to the taking of 2 plovers near the volleyball court at West Dennis Beach. The Town received a Certificate of Inclusion in the Massachusetts Habitat Conservation Plan for Piping Plovers from the MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MADFW) that allows vehicles to pass by unfledged plover chicks, subject to risk minimization procedures.   

These risk minimization procedures include monitoring the location of the chicks, managing vehicle traffic as needed, and restricting recreational vehicle access to daylight hours when Department of Natural Resources staff is able to monitor chicks. 

Be alert to the possible presence of chicks in the road, and stop to let them pass.  If you see chicks in or near the road, please notify staff.  If a take occurs (e.g., a chick is killed), MADFW may suspend use of the road and vehicle access will be limited, so please use caution when driving.