DUXBURY, Mass. - Duxbury town officials were forced to close parts of their beach for the rest of July as endangered piping plovers nest.
That means vehicles with parking permits will no longer be allowed to drive over the cross-overs on Duxbury Beach for the rest of July, or until the piping plovers hatch and fly.
Now, some permit holders who paid big bucks to drive on the beach are demanding refunds.
"Mad, I mean $350 is a lot of money to drive onto the beach," said Kristine Connors, who says she wants her money back now that parts of Duxbury Beach are closed to off-road vehicle permit holders.
"I used it twice this year, and the earliest it will open is Aug. 2 so I’ll be able to use it a few more times if they open on time and I paid $350 for this sticker," she said.
Town officials say parts of the beach near the driving cross-overs must be closed to protect the endangered piping plovers.
"The unfortunate part is we had to close them over the Fourth of July weekend which is pretty much the worst time you could ask for to close a beach," said Duxbury Town Manager Rene Read.
The birds have now nested and will stay there until the chicks are ready to fly, which means permit holders must wait at least 30 days until the birds have moved out.
The $350 non-resident off-road vehicle parking pass would give you exclusive access to the road. You can drive all the way down to a special part of the beach where you can park your car, but now there’s only one other option.
"They’re telling us we can go to the overflow parking lot for the public part for free but for $350 we didn’t pay for that. We paid to drive on," Connors said.
Read, the town manager, feels the pain of beachgoers.
"Non-residents and residents have to play the same waiting game alike. We have to wait until the birds fledge," Read said.
Read says a similar situation happened six years ago. Since then, they have tried to be transparent with those who purchase permits.
"Since then, in the last years we have made sure people understand before they buy a sticker that they’re non-refundable and more importantly, we give advance notice on the status of the beach, meaning we know when the birds are arriving, and we let people know they are here," Read said.
The stickers are good until March of next year, but residents say this is the time of year they want to use the beach the most.
Town officials say it depends on the birds, but they're expecting the drive-on crossovers to reopen on Aug. 2.
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