The Cape Cod National Seashore at 60: A Dream Come True

Speaker: Bill Burke
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 – 5:00 PM

“A great public project that seemed almost hopelessly visionary when first proposed five years ago became a reality in Washington yesterday when Congress gave final approval to the bill establishing a 26,666-acre national park on the outer shore of Cape Cod. The bill can probably be labeled as the finest victory ever recorded for the cause of conservation in New England.” – The Berkshire Eagle, August 3, 1961

Bill will take us on a brief journey through the creation of the national seashore, including the obstacles, opposition, compromises, establishment, growing pains and today’s management challenges.   The communities and seashore supporters from the 1930’s to the visionaries who crafted the park legislation signed in 1961 would feel satisfaction knowing their fears of honky-tonk development and loss of public access has not happened.  The contrast to overdeveloped and privatized seashore sections through New Jersey to Florida demonstrate what this area could be today. Every year, millions visit the National Seashore, and all of our citizens can experience the dunes, walk the trails, fish, visit the wetlands and ponds, explore the cultural history, see a lighthouse, take a swim or just walk on the 40 miles of the Great Beach, and know it will still be there for their children and grandchildren to do the same thing.

Bill Burke is the Cultural Resources Program Manager for the Cape Cod National Seashore.

A wash-ashore from Western Massachusetts, Bill Burke is a National Park Service employee who serves as the Historian for the National Seashore.  He has worked there in a number of roles over the past 25 years. He assists researchers and educators by providing access to the park’s collection of archives, historic photographs and objects. The National Seashore contains a treasure trove of historic things, including homes, archeological sites and landscapes. Bill enjoys pondering the meaning of it all, and teaching as well as learning from others about our small universe of the Outer Cape.

Bill holds a BA in History summa cum laude from Providence College and a MA in Colonial American History and Historical Archeology from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  He has worked at several National Parks from MA to VA.  He also coaches the Monomoy High School Girls Tennis Team which reached the quarterfinals in last spring’s Southeastern MA state tournament.  He occasionally lectures for the Open University of Wellfleet and lives in Harwich with his wife Stasia and 3 daughters.

Reservations are available by clicking HERE.  Zoom link will be sent 1 hour prior to the start of the talk, you can join 15 minutes before the start.

Admission: $10, Members are Free