Race Point Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore

While well-meaning, the Cape Cod National Seashore is misguided with respect to its selective ban on kitesurfing.

In its recent press release, reprinted in part in this paper on March 26, the Seashore claims that "piping plovers view ... the overhead kites as predators, which can scare the birds from their nests." While the Seashore's statement presents this as an accepted statement of fact, it is unsupported.

A single study conducted 20 years ago, which was not peer reviewed, observed that a land-based kite may temporarily disturb the habits of plovers, but clearly stated that there was no correlation between the presence of kites and the birds' productivity.

The very authors of that 1988 study have subsequently published numerous scientific results relating human activities to piping plover behavior and productivity; none of these publications even mentions kites. The areas of greatest concern to plover populations, according to the scientific literature, are pets and off-road vehicles.

Kitesurfing is an environmentally friendly, healthful activity for residents and visitors. The policy to restrict it based on perceived impact to plover population is scientifically unsupported — the Seashore should not imply otherwise.

In 2005, Pepsi defied the surfing community by releasing a commercial in which famous soccer stars break the surfers-only beach rule implemented by a group of local wave riders.

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