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Opponents take Brewster boardwalk fight to Town Meeting

The view across the marsh to Wing Island from the Town access route.
Town of Brewster
The view across the marsh to Wing Island from the Town access route.

Debate over a proposed boardwalk to Wing Island in Brewster has spurred a special Town Meeting that could decide the fate of the project.

The town owns the island — an area of wooded upland surrounded by marsh — and has proposed building a boardwalk across the marsh.

Current access is by walking on planks laid directly on the marsh. The town says a raised walkway would make the path safer and more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, protect the marsh from getting trampled, and connect Wing Island to adjacent open space.

The town also plans to put a conservation restriction on the island.

But opponents say a boardwalk would bring too much recreational foot traffic. They’ve filed three petition articles for Town Meeting aimed at blocking the boardwalk.

Brewster resident Sue Finnegan, who runs a bird banding station on the island for the U.S. Geological Survey, said Wing Island should be spared the increased public use that a boardwalk would bring.

“We have an endangered bird that nests right in the salt marsh called the salt marsh sparrow,” she said. “And I just don't understand why we aren't trying to protect our salt marsh, not exploit these areas for human use.”

With more people, she said, would come dogs and trash.

“This needs to stay a conservation area,” she said.

The special Town Meeting is scheduled for March 6 at 6 p.m.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.