After 300 years, an island on Cape Cod, off the coast of Massachusets, will finally be open to the public. Sipson was an island lost to the public when it became private property in 1711, when it was sold by the Native American Monomoyick Indians to whites. Now, a fund has managed to repurchase the island with the help of a local NGO and should reopen it to visitation, spreading indigenous culture.
“It is important for us to be able to communicate the importance of indigenous history linked to the island, and to teach the values of the ancestral peoples who lived here before 1711,” Tasia Blough, president of the Sipson Island Fund, told CNN. The opportunity to recover the island lost to indigenous culture was one of the main objectives of the groups that organized to buy it.
Sipson is 24 acres – less than a square kilometer – and is in an area called Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod. The area is well developed by mass tourism, with trails, fine sand beaches, snorkeling and panoramic views, but it generates environmental concerns. Several organizations have looked for ways to buy the island in order to transform it into a preserved environment. Having closed access for more than 200 years, it has a practically untouched nature.
The problem was the cost. The owners were asking for $ 12 million, which is a bit salty for an NGO. The Friends of Pleasant Bay organization has spent the past 4 years raising money and trying to extend the final sale date to make it happen. In June, a private island management fund was created that managed to close the deal at $ 5.5 million.
It can now be visited by tourists. Only light vessels, such as boats up to 22 feet, can reach the island without damaging the delicate marine ecosystem on its coast. Now the NGO plans to create an environmental education and outdoor research center on the island, and buy a final 8-acre stretch that was left out of the negotiation.
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