Trails along the James Pond waterfront and a new section of Lambert’s Cove Beach may be open to Island residents before the end of the year, after the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank got approval this week from the West Tisbury conservation commission for the new preserve. 

The approval, said land bank executive director James Lengyel, is the last local permit required for the property, which would make Lambert’s Cove more accessible to Islanders outside of West Tisbury in the summer. The land bank is awaiting the thumbs up from the state’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program to begin work on the property. 

The land bank expects the property to open before spring, said Mr. Lengyel, in an interview with the Gazette.

The land bank purchased the land, which is about 13 acres, 650 feet of beach and 700 feet of pond frontage, in 2020 and 2021. 

Opening of the property was delayed by a stalled state review process, with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs approving the plan this April following an inquiry from the Gazette. 

At its meeting on Oct. 10, the conservation commission approved the majority of the land banks’ management plan, including the relocation of an existing trail, the removal of black locust trees, the use of goat grazing to remove invasive species and the installation of foldable stairs on the dunes leading to the beach. 

A plan to install a kayak landing structure on James Pond will have to wait, however, with the commission voting to postpone the plan for two years to see if there is demand for such a structure. “It sounds reasonable,” said land bank ecologist Julie Russell. “I think people don’t realize how heavy their kayaks are until they start trying to carry them.”

Mr. Lengyel said he anticipates the land bank will soon receive its permit from the natural heritage program, after which it will have to wait on an off-Island contractor to install stairs at the dune. 

The wait will be well worth it, Mr. Lengyel said, recalling his first experience walking on the property. 

“I thought, ‘This really is more exquisite than I expected it to be,’” he said.