Cape Cod Sea Camps Properties

first light

Project Goals

The project goal was to acquire the former Cape Cod Sea Camps to prevent them from commercial development and to provide for conservation, beach access, recreation and other community benefits and amenities.

Cape Cod Sea Camps Properties

The Brewster Select Board and Town Administration analyzed the possible acquisition of the former Cape Cod Sea Camps properties after the business ceased operations in Fall 2020. The properties offered opportunities for significant public benefits including conservation of land, coastal dunes, and wetlands; habitat and drinking water protection; beach access; a home for a community center; extensive recreational amenities; and community housing. Acquisition for public use was aligned with community priorities identified in the Brewster Vision Plan and resident feedback from other recent strategic planning initiatives.

Brewster residents gave overwhelming approval to the Town’s purchase of the two parcels at a Special Town Meeting on September 26, 2021, and a Special Election on October 5, 2021. The Town reached a negotiated settlement for the properties:

• $6M for the Pond Parcel: 66-acre parcel at 500 W. H. Besse Cartway that extends from Route 137 (Long Pond Road) west to Long Pond.

• $20M for the Bay Parcel: 55-acre parcel at 3057 Main Street (Route 6A) that stretches from Main Street north to Cape Cod Bay.

On an interim basis, the Town opened the Bay Parcel beach from July 2022 through Columbus Day to Brewster residents. The Town invited residents to submit beach name suggestions in April and over 500 submissions were received.  The Select Board voted unanimously on May 23, 2022 to select the name “First Light Beach.” The name recognizes the long history of the area as the home of the Wampanoag people. “Wampanoag” means “People of the First Light.”

First Light Beach

The Town has facilitated a public engagement process inviting input from all residents about potential future uses. To this end, the Select Board created two new advisory committees, consisting of 11 Brewster residents with diverse backgrounds. These committees are responsible for identifying existing conditions; developing short-term public access plans; assembling a public engagement strategy to ensure broad community input; identifying and evaluating potential partner organizations; and developing comprehensive long-term plans for Town Meeting consideration.  

The landscape architect firm Reed Hilderbrand was hired in November 2022 to provide expert support and design guidance to the committees as the Town plans future uses of the properties.  

The new Community Pool opened to residents for the summer of 2023. Click here to view the Lower Cape TV news report on the ribbon cutting ceremony. 

Video: Introducing the Pond Property 

In order to educate the Brewster community about the pond property while safe and appropriate access is being determined, the PPPC has created a video, “Introducing the Pond Property” providing a virtual tour of the beautiful 66-acre parcel from Route 137 to the shores of Long Pond.  The video can be viewed here.   

Comprehensive Plans

On Thursday February 15, 2024, the Town and its design team led by Reed Hildebrand held the fourth Cape Cod Sea Camps community planning forum. The final comprehensive plans for both properties were shared, preliminary phasing and financing information was provided, and questions from residents were answered. The fourth forum was the culmination of over a year of community engagement to develop the final plans to be presented to voters.

To review the presentation materials from the fourth forum, click here. To watch the video of the forum, click here. The final comprehensive plans can be accessed here. We anticipate holding some town-led information sessions prior to the vote on the comprehensive plans at the Annual Town Meeting on May 11, 2024.

 

For further information, please review our Related Resources page.