In an effort to secure at least some oversand vehicle access ahead of the summer season, The Trustees of Reservations announced Friday it has withdrawn trails and beaches on Cape Pogue from its application with the Edgartown conservation commission.

The Trustees are the largest land trust in the state and have sold oversand vehicle permits to its Chappaquiddick properties since 1990. As the organization seeks to renew oversand access this year, it has weathered a series of contentious public hearings about its management practices.

Over the past several months, Chappaquiddick residents have questioned the Trustees’ management of oversand vehicle access on Cape Pogue, spurred in part by a lawsuit claiming that the practice has caused significant harm to the area’s delicate ecosystem.

Throughout the hearings dating back to November 2022, residents and conservation commissioners alike urged the Trustees to separate its notices of intent by property so that some portion of oversand vehicle access might go through.

Until this announcement, Islands portfolio director Darci Schofield had maintained that its properties were similar enough to fall under one application. As the summer deadline approaches with no clear resolution in sight, however, Ms. Schofield said they have decided to adopt this new approach and pulled trails from the Jetties to the Gut.

“While we regret not being able to issue OSV permits for the Cape Pogue beaches, taking this approach will ensure that we can at least issue OSV permits for Leland to the Town Jetties for this season,” Ms. Schofield said in a written statement.

The announcement comes a little more than a week before the next scheduled public hearing with the conservation commission on March 22.

The sale of oversand vehicle permits typically begins in January with trails opening up to oversand vehicle access in late May.

Read the Trustees’ full statement online here.