Visitor Information

The Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s properties–shown on its Properties Map or posted with the Foundation’s identifying signs–are protected for scientific, educational, and conservation purposes. They are open to the public only for such recreational or other activities that are compatible with the properties’ sensitive natural systems. The Foundation is partial to pedestrians (their intrusions being least damaging) and encourages fishing, surfcasting, shellfishing (by properly licensed individuals), picnicking, scientific research, nature study, bird watching, hiking, and scenic viewing.

General Regulations

To protect each property and to assure the safety and enjoyment of visitors, all persons using Foundation properties shall comply with the regulations that follow:

  1. Disturbing birds or other wildlife is prohibited. The Foundation, through proper management, is attempting to protect the rare and remote habitats required by many species of Island wildlife.
  2. Cutting or removing plants or disturbing soils is prohibited. Plant material–whether living or dead–helps to stabilize the Island’s shallow topsoil, thereby preventing erosion. To prevent damage to vegetation and reduce erosion, all non-pedestrian/non-motorized use (horseback riding, bicycling, mountain biking, etc.) of Foundation properties is restricted to well-established roadways only. Group riding is discouraged because it poses a threat to the safety and enjoyment of other visitors. Using roadways or trails closed by signs and/or the placement of an obstruction (i.e. gate, post, boulder, etc.) is prohibited. The Foundation reserves the right to prohibit the use of horses, bicycles of any kind, mopeds, and motorcycles on its properties.
  3. Entering fenced or posted areas intended to protect visitors or sensitive features is prohibited.
  4. Overnight camping is prohibited.
  5. Cooking fires are allowed – but only on open beaches. Fires are strictly limited to gas camp stoves or self-contained charcoal grills. Please be thoughtful, as well as very careful, when disposing of charcoal. All other fires are prohibited.
  6. Littering is prohibited. Please take your trash with you or use receptacles which have been provided at selected property access points.
  7. Hunting with shotguns and bows is allowed on many Foundation proper¬ties by properly licensed hunters during the migratory waterfowl and up¬land game seasons. For the safety of visitors, all other weapons are prohibited, as is hunting, on posted properties that include areas which are used intensively by pedestrians throughout the year. Gun testing and target shooting are prohibited on all properties.
  8. To protect birds and other wildlife, dogs and other pets must be under the control of their owner at all times and leashed when in the vicinity of nesting shorebirds and their chicks.
  9. Commercial activities–providing any service, product, or activity for which a fee is charged–are prohibited on all Foundation properties.
  10. Removing, altering, defacing, or otherwise causing damage to any natural or historic feature, sign, fence, post, building, or other Foundation property is prohibited.
  11. Conduct violating any federal, state, or local law or disturbing the tranquility of Foundation properties or their enjoyment by others is prohibited. The Foundation reserves the right to prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages on its properties.
  12. Foundation properties close at sunset. Unless otherwise specifically indicated, entering or remaining on Foundation properties between sunset and sunrise is prohibited.
  13. Foundation properties that contain beaches are not patrolled by lifeguards, nor are changing and restroom facilities provided. Therefore, while such beach properties are open to the public for other purposes as set forth above, use of Foundation-owned beaches for swimming purposes is prohibited. Those choosing to enter the water do so at their own risk. WARNING: All would-be swimmers are warned that extremely dangerous current and riptide conditions can be present all around the Island, making swimming inadvisable for those unaccustomed to open surf conditions. As harmless as Nantucket’s waters might appear to be, visitors are urged not to venture beyond waist depth unless they are at a lifeguarded public beach.
  14. For the protection of the properties and the safety of visitors to them, a limited number of areas are closed to vehicular traffic. For those who are unable to walk, access can be arranged through the Foundation’s office.
  15. Any use of the Foundation’s properties by groups of 15 or more people is subject to a required review by the Foundation’s Land Management Committee. To be considered, the Foundation must receive a written request from the group’s authorized representative not less than 60 days prior to the proposed use. A decision to approve, approve with conditions, or turn down the request will be made within 30 days. All other group use is prohibited.
  16. Pedestrian or bicycle access to any portion of the Windswept or Milestone cranberry bogs is strictly subject to all closures or limitations, temporary or otherwise, that are posted by the bog manager or the Foundation. Unauthorized vehicles of any type are prohibited at all times.

Vehicle Regulations

For the protection of the natural values of all Foundation properties and the safety and enjoyment of visitors, persons operating vehicles (including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds and the like–regardless of their status under the law) or riding in or upon vehicles on Foundation property shall be in compliance with the following regulations at all times:

  1. All vehicles shall use only well-established roadways, thereby preventing damage to vegetation and reducing erosion. The vehicular use of roadways that have been closed by signs and/or the placement of an obstruction (i.e. gate, post, boulder, etc.) is prohibited.
  2. All vehicle operators shall be duly licensed. Vehicles shall be properly registered and insured for use on private property.
  3. Vehicular speed shall be reasonable and prudent at all times, but shall not exceed 15 MPH. Slow down when approaching pedestrians. Obey all traffic control signs.
  4. For the safety of visitors, riding on fenders, tailgates, roofs, or any other position outside the vehicle is prohibited.
  5. Vehicles using Foundation properties are prohibited from towing water skiers, dune skiers, hang gliders, paragliders, or the like.

Four Wheel Drive Regulations*

In addition to the above, the following regulations apply to all vehicles operated within Foundation beach and dune areas:

  1. Without exception, all vehicles operating on Foundation beach and dune areas shall be four-wheel drive and shall use existing roadways and well-established crossovers in order to prevent damage to fragile beach plants. Tire pressure must be adjusted to not more than 15 p.s.i. before driving on the beach.
  2. Vehicles exceeding 6,000 pounds gross–as well as dune buggies, motorcycles, mopeds, mountain bikes, bicycles, trailers, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and cycles, ground-effect or air cushion vehicles, jet skis, and the like¬–are prohibited. Such vehicles can jeopardize the extremely fragile shoreline environment and can be a threat to the safety of property visitors. Furthermore, prohibited from use within these areas are any oversized or undersized vehicles whose width, track, or clearance, in the opinion of the Foundation’s management staff, would cause repeated damage by breaking down the edges and/or center humps of established roadways.
  3. For the safety and protection of visitors, each vehicle shall contain a shovel, a vehicle jack, a 12″ x 12″ (minimum) piece of plywood to act as a jack support, a full-sized spare tire, a low pressure tire gauge, and a suitable towrope or chain of reasonable length (3/4″ by 20′ polypropylene rope is suggested as a minimum).
  4. In order to comply with federal and state guidelines regarding the protection of rare and endangered shorebirds, portions of the Foundation’s beachfront properties may be closed to pedestrians, dogs, and/or vehicles for extended periods of time between mid-March and late-August when nesting shorebirds and flightless chicks are present. These sites will be clearly posted and frequently patrolled. Entry into these areas is strictly prohibited.
  5. When traveling on beaches, drivers should make every effort to stay well away from the vegetated edge of all sand dunes and drive within established tracks. Access from interior roadways to beaches is permitted only at locations marked by an orange triangular sign. Drivers are requested to avoid interior roadways after dark.
  6. Driving or parking on vegetation, sand dunes, or in bird nesting areas is prohibited.
  7. Vehicles shall not drive or park so as to interfere with the flow of traffic.
  8. Ruts or holes caused by digging out stuck vehicles must be filled in and all debris removed.

Efforts are made to establish and regularly review reasonable policies for uses that are appropriate to and compatible with a particular conservation area’s resources. While the Foundation endeavors to manage its properties under these general guidelines, there is no substitute for common courtesy when dealing with fellow visitors. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation reserves the right to impose limitations upon the number of vehicles permitted on its properties at any given time. The continued use of roadways and beaches within Foundation properties depends entirely upon the cooperation of all drivers. Yours is earnestly solicited.

* An Oversand Vehicle Permit is required within Foundation-owned beach areas north of Wauwinet Village.

Aircraft Regulations

All aircraft, which in the case of this regulation also includes the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, are prohibited from landing on, taking off from or flying above any Foundation property. By law, manned aircraft are required to maintain an altitude of 400 feet MSL or higher while operating above Foundation properties. In addition to violating Federal Regulations which prohibit the harassment of wildlife by aircraft, landings, takeoffs, and low level overflights jeopardize the fragile systems of the properties, are a risk to public safety and privacy, can endanger airport operations, and diminish the public’s enjoyment of Foundation properties.

Additional Conditions

Visitors are welcome on all Foundation properties with the understanding that they use the areas at their own risk, respect the rights of private property owners within and abutting these areas, and comply with all published and posted regulations. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation cannot assume responsibility for injuries or for the loss, theft, or damage of personal property. Whoever disregards or violates any of these regulations is forbidden to remain on these premises and is subject to arrest, fine, and imprisonment as provided by law.

Notice: Limitation of Liability

Entry upon or use of any property of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Inc. (“the Foundation”) by any person shall constitute a release by such person of the Foundation, its agents, and servants from any and all claims for personal injuries, property loss, theft, or damage sustained upon Foundation property, and such release shall be binding upon such person, his personal representatives, and all persons claiming through or under him.

Revised: March 2, 2015