Pristine Beauty On Monomoy Island
A Local Treasure
Off the coast of Chatham lies a little-known stretch of land that has no human residents, no electricity, and no paved roads. It is home to migratory birds, established by the U.S. government in 1944.
Pristine Beauty and Wildlife
The stretch of sand, extending from the Chatham mainland, is known as the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
Sand stretches for eight miles off the elbow of Cape Cod, forming the barrier islands of North and South Monomoy. In addition to the two islands, a 40-acre unit on Morris Island is also part of the refuge. This is where the headquarters and visitor center are located.
Resting, Nesting, and Feeding
The total size of the refuge is 7,604 acres with varied habitats of oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes, and freshwater ponds. The refuge provides important resting, nesting and feeding habitat for migratory birds, including the Federally protected piping plover and roseate tern. More than ten species of seabirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds nest on the islands.
Monomoy Island used to have its own community as early as 1710. A tavern for sailors was opened up in the location of today’s Hospital Pond, known then as Wreck Cove.
During the early 1800’s a deep natural harbor at Monomoy’s inner shore, known as the Powder Hole, attracted a sizeable fishing settlement. In its prime Whitewash Village housed about 200 residents, a tavern inn called Monomoit House, and Public School #13, which at one time boasted 16 students. The village was abandoned after its harbor was washed away by a hurricane around 1860.
Monomoy Island is open to the public, but everyone is asked to comply with local, state, and federal laws because it is a national wildlife refuge. Vehicles are restricted. Public trails are open sunrise and sunset. Hunting, campfires, and camping are not permitted.
Exploring Cape Cod
A trip to Cape Cod always offers something special to see and do – no matter what time of year you choose to visit. Get outside and explore everything the region has to offer, then treat yourself to a wonderful stay at an award winning Cape Cod hotel.
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