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News from the Provincetown (MA) Banner

Kitesurfers urge Wellfleet not to ban sport

 

By Marilyn Miller

 

Sat Feb 21, 2009, 10:00 AM EST

 

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WELLFLEET - Jody Craven, Wellfleet native and former chief lifeguard, who has been kitesurfing for nine years, asked the selectmen last week to "educate themselves" with the facts about kitesurfing before they agree to a request from the Cape Cod National Seashore to join with them in banning kitesurfing on its beaches.

 

Mary Hake, a Seashore shorebird expert, also at the meeting, prepared to explain her letter if the selectmen wanted more information. But they decided to hold off making any decision after hearing not only from Craven, who assured them the small band of Wellfleetians who kitesurf are environmentally responsible and respect the needs of the plovers, but also from Christa von der Luft, who came prepared to challenge the Seashore's claims that plovers view kites, whether small ones flown by hand, or the larger ones that the surfers use as "avian predators."

 

Von der Luft said the five-month ban on kitesurfing instituted on Seashore-controlled property has banned them from bayside beaches from Jeremy Point to Ryder Beach. "Allowing us the use of the limited area of town-owned beaches on this approximately six-mile stretch of beach (in the Gut area) seems to be more than a fair compromise in favor of the plovers," she said. The kitesurfers, if allowed to use this stretch where, to date, no plover nests have been identified, would "respect the fencing that is erected."

 

Von der Luft prepared a detailed packet for the selectmen to back up her claims that: the Seashore's ban on kitesurfing was based on a very small sample size of beach observations and the Seashore failed to adhere to federal regulations by posting the ban in the Federal Register.

 

The selectmen were not prepared to discuss the pros and cons of the kitesurfing ban at the meeting, but assured Craven and von der Luft that they would return to this issue when they vote on this year's beach regulations.

mmiller@cnc.com

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