Altered routes for over-sand vehicles and restrictive new dog policies are among changes in the offing for Chappaquiddick beaches owned and managed by the Trustees of Reservations, under a new draft management plan released last week.

The Trustees are seeking public comment on the plan, and are planning a series of public engagement sessions next month, according to a press release.

“The . . . draft works to align the diverse interests, access and recreational needs of our visitors, members and Island community with local, state, and federal beach management guidelines and regulations, and best practices for achieving resiliency,” the preamble to the plan says. The plan is available for viewing online (

The management plan is for the roughly 12-mile stretch of diverse beach system that begins at Norton Point on the Edgartown end of Katama Bay and connects with Chappaquiddick at Wasque Reservation, across Leland Beach and on to Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge.

Changes proposed for the over-sand vehicle trails include prohibiting vehicles on interior pond-side trails, providing designated pull-off spots for vehicles on exterior trails, and expanding beach parking lots to encourage more pedestrian access.

Wasque and Cape Pogue are owned by the Trustees, a Massachusetts land conservancy founded in the late 1800s. Norton Point is owned by Dukes County and managed by the Trustees. Leland Beach is owned by the state and managed by the Trustees.

The beaches can be reached on foot, by boat or in oversand vehicles on trails running through dunes and across barriers beaches. Trails are bordered by Katama Bay, Poucha Pond and Cape Pogue Pond on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Used by fishermen, bird watchers, swimmers, picnickers and four-wheeler enthusiasts, the beaches have grown increasingly popular in recent years, raising concerns about their environmental management.

Two private property owners at Cape Pogue recently took legal action against the Trustees over issues of over-sand vehicle access and management, in a case that remains pending before the Massachusetts Land Court.

The 43-page draft management plan touches on a wide array of topics from nesting birds to erosion to over-sand vehicle use.

“Over-sand vehicle (OSV) use is a longstanding privilege on the 12-miles of beach and one highly valued by a broad section of the local and visitor communities,” the preamble says in part.

Pending adoption by state and local regulatory agencies, the plan is slated to take effect this fall.