Sunday, October 26, 2008

Massachusetts delays closing veach campsites

The state’s plan to remove 32 waterfront campsites at the Horseneck Beach Campground has been delayed for at least a year, giving campers at least another season to enjoy their views of Buzzards Bay.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will instead focus on finishing the new phase of construction at Horseneck Beach, for a new beach services building, said commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. A construction contract was recently awarded to a New Bedford company for that project.

Hundreds of Horseneck campers signed a petition this summer urging the state to change its mind on the plan to remove the waterfront sites. Many said they wouldn’t return to the campground if their waterfront locations were removed. Before the project moves forward, the state will allow the public to voice their opinions on the plan.

State Rep. Michael Rodrigues, the Westport Democrat who has opposed the DCR plan, said Friday that Sullivan inherited the campground plan from the prior administration and that the department could benefit from extra planning time.

“There’s been a lot of opposition, including from me,” Rodrigues said. “From a pure environmental point of view, there are some good reasons to remove the campsites, however, there has to be a balance.” He said he hopes the state and campers can reach a compromise. “It’s going to be a win-win when it’s all done.”
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