The Town of Duxbury was forced to cancel its Fourth of July beach party because of some endangered birds nesting nearby.
Officials said there were at least two dozen piping plover nests on Duxbury Beach. They were concerned visitors would trample those nests if the bonfire went on as planned.
“Because of the locations of those birds they’d be too close where we would like to have the bonfire and the associated party so we’ve essentially had to cancel it this year,” Duxbury Town Manager Rene Read said.
The party was canceled in 2013 as well. Last year there were 17 nesting pairs on Duxbury Beach. This year there are 24.
“I think they are very disappointed. I know we are here in town. We changed the location last year but unfortunately the attendance was so low it just wasn’t worth it to set an alternate location this year as well,” Read said.
Non-residents pay as much as $300 to drive their vehicles across the half-mile bridge and park on the beach.
"I’m all for saving wildlife but I think when it impacts all of this it’s a little over the top,” said Elliot Campbell, a beach-goer.
Conservation officials said the town made the right call.
“The birds were here long before the people and the automobiles. They’re only here for a short period of time and while it’s frustrating and it’s hard on everyone, we’ve had pretty favorable response to the measures that we’ve taken in cooperation with the town,” Maggie Kearney, president of Duxbury Beach Preservation Inc., said.
The town still has a parade and road race on the schedule for the holiday. Officials said they might schedule the beach bonfire for Labor Day weekend next year.