WELLFLEET – Repair work is underway on the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail in South Wellfleet.
The project will replace about 300 feet of wooden boardwalk and two seating platforms.
It is the last remaining wooden section of the 2,500-foot-long boardwalk, which was first constructed in the 1960s. Most of the boardwalk was resurfaced with plastic lumber in the early 2000s.
“Carpenters are out there starting to get to work on it right now,” said Brian Carlstrom, the superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The section being replaced is at the end of useful life.
“We are replacing this according to a referred schedule and staying ahead of it so that it doesn’t get to the point where we have to close it like we did with the Red Maple Swamp Trail a few years ago,” Carlstrom said.
The park is using the same material as used in the reconstruction of the Red Maple Swamp Trail in Eastham in 2018. Polyforce recycled material was selected for its structural integrity and its environmental compatibility and lack of PVCs.
Conservation is a focus of the project as cedar tree trunks recovered through the park’s fire management program will be used to replace rotted boardwalk support pilings.
Sawdust will be captured and removed from the site to prevent it from entering the wetlands.
There will also not be any new holes dug for the project as all existing posts will be replaced in old post holes.
A majority of the 1.2-mile trail is still open to visitors.
“There is basically a connector trail that we are focused on right now, and the other sections of it remain open during the replacement,” Carlstrom said.
The Atlantic White Cedar Trail travels through a unique area on Cape Cod. The swamp is an isolated remnant of an ecosystem created after the last ice age, which is generally found in Mid-Canada or further north.
Carlstrom said the National Seashore strives to keep all of its facilities open and in good condition.
“Our maintenance crews are hard at work at that,” he said.
Work is currently underway to replace the access ramps at the Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown. Siding and roofing projects have also been recently completed at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham.
An exterior renovation at the Coast Guard building in Eastham is nearing completion and the bathhouse complex next to the building will begin similar work in about a month.
Carlstrom said Atlantic White Cedar Trail project was made possible with support from the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
“They matched park service dollars one-to-one to make this repair possible,” he said.
The group provided $75,000 in support for the project.
“Come on out and enjoy the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail while it is under construction,” Carlstrom said. “Check it out. It’s really pretty year-round.”
Carlstrom said visitors to the trail in the summer should bring mosquito repellent.
The mild winter season has led to more visitors to the Cape Cod National Seashore.
“There is definitely an association with the warmer temperatures and a few more people getting out and enjoying it,” Carlstrom said. “We’re not through the winter yet, but so far it’s been very mild and folks have been out there and enjoying it.”