Feds Question Role of National Seashore Advisory Panel

Interior Department challenges role of Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission in park management.

SOUTH WELLFLEET — The Interior Department has announced in a public forum the specific beef it has with the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission, which has struggled to hold meetings since the Trump administration took office.

The department wants to eliminate a clause in the 1961 law that established the Seashore that requires the Interior secretary to consult with the commission on permission for commercial uses and establishment of recreational areas, according to testimony at a Senate subcommittee hearing Dec. 12.

“We recommend this provision be deleted as it is unusual for an advisory commission to have this kind of statutory role in park management decisions,” National Park Service deputy director P. Daniel Smith said at the hearing, speaking for the Interior Department.

In response, advisory commission member Mary-Jo Avellar, of Provincetown, said Monday that the board has never had the ability to tell a Seashore superintendent what to do.

“We may have a difference of opinion,” Avellar said. “But the superintendent does what the superintendent is going to do.”