Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
After visiting my wife’s childhood home at Rockaway Beach last week in Queens, and seeing how devastated that seaside community was, I was grateful we were spared Sandy’s full fury here on the Island. Of course, there was some damage and major erosion. But I see a silver lining here. All my summer buddies have been asking me if Lucy Vincent was really ruined, as portrayed in the media and conversation.
So I took a stroll there a week ago to view the damage myself and was pleasantly surprised. Lucy Vincent Beach is without a doubt changed and probably forever. But sometimes change can be good. The beach is much wider now, with sand washed back to Chilmark Pond. And the beach is now split into two distinct areas. The part of the beach nearest the parking lot is completely separated by the cliff which now protrudes much farther into the Atlantic. To reach the other part of the beach it is now necessary to walk over a pretty path through hill and dale. That beach is also reconfigured, with no protecting dunes separating it from Chilmark Pond.
Lucy Vincent now reminds me of one of my favorite beaches on Maui called Makena. That extraordinary beach is also divided, albeit by volcanic rock. There is the easily-reached beach, most often used by families and also Little Beach where all the hippies and nudists have to climb carefully over volcanic rock to enjoy the beach. That beach has a split personality, with both sides quite enjoyable, and that’s what Lucy feels like to me now after the storm.
I understand that Chilmark voters will be presented with a set of options at the annual town meeting in April for what to do at Lucy Vincent. Although the jury is out, I think we should do nothing for now and let nature take its course. Spending lots of taxpayer dollars to restore the beach makes no sense when it will just be washed out again at some point by the next climate-change-enhanced super storm.
So summer people fear not! Come June 2013, Lucy Vincent Beach should still be the go-to place. The only thing that bothered me on the day my wife and I visited was seeing people climbing all over the precipitous and jagged cliffs. Mother nature is one thing, but insensitive and potentially dangerous trespassing is quite another thing.
Peter Simon, Chilmark